The Australian Career Book Award - The New Platform for Career Writers


Professional CDAA member Lawrence Arnold is a careers and employability counsellor and coach in Melbourne. He is the author of several books on career and employability, and is a regular presenter at CDAA events. In this article, as Award Convenor of The Australian Career Book Award, Lawrence discusses the  newly-established platform to celebrate the work of Australian career writers.

CDAA members Dr Catherine Hughes, Warren Frehse, Lawrence Arnold, Sue Ellson, and Kaye Nolan at the 2018 award presentation

There seems to be a book award for every type of writing. Established in 2018, The Australian Career Book Award is the first dedicated award for career writers, promoting high-quality writing in a time of exponential change in work and employment.

The award is supported by the Royal Society of Arts in Australia and New Zealand, a growing community working creatively to bring together people, ideas and initiatives to address the challenges of our time. 

In 2018, the award received a wide range of submissions, including Joanna Maxwell's awarded book Rethink your career: in you 40s, 50s and 60s. It is hoped the award will continue to attract this calibre of books for its second year in 2019.

What we are looking for

The award will go to an Australian career book published after January 1, 2018. The book will be printed (non an e-book) and readily available to a wide audience, not an e-book. It should be a popular book, reaching the largest possible market with regard to the defined audience.

Books can cover any aspects of career development, employability, employability skills, and the skills needed to gain and improve work. They should combine innovation with rigour, to produce change in the reader’s career understanding and strategies to improve individual or group outcomes.

So, if your book helps people ‘manage career and work life’ – you should nominate!

Award Criteria

The Award Committee reviews the nominated books based on five award criteria – readable, reachable, reliable, relevant, and researched.

  • Readable: A book submitted for the award should be suitable for audience and purpose, and be at an appropriate readability rating level.

    We'd hope every career book would be readable. So what we mean here is did the writer understand the audience and purpose of the book and does it helps people ‘manage career and work life'. 

  • Reachable: The book should have the widest popular reach with consideration for the target audience.

    The writer may not get onto the Breakfast Show, but having a dedicated website for the book, having the book available online, engaging in online discussion, submitting relevant articles for publication are some strategies we'd like to see to make the book more reachable. 

  • Reliable: Book content should be accurate and internally consistent.

    Career coaches have a responsibility to deliver accurate and timely advice to their clients, and so do career writers. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but given to readers they should be accurate. 

  • Relevant: Book content should be aligned with the career and employability needs of the contemporary Australian audience.

    The book should present state-of-the-art information that is current, and also looks forward to an evolving work scape with the informed futurism expected by the readers. 

  • Researched: Current research on career issues should be used to support opinions, propositions, and practices deployed by the author.

    The Award Committee focuses on how the writer understands, analyses, and uses appropriate research to present topics and information. We like to see the implications of referenced career research deployed throughout the book through targeted exercises promoting reader reflection and planning. 

The Award Committee

The Award Committee brings together Royal Society of Arts Fellows with Career Development Association of Australia members and HR professionals in a collegial exercise to review recent Australian career books and determine the awarded book for 2019. 

The 2019 Award Committee members are:

  • Warren Frehse: CDAA professional member and CICA registered professional career development practitioner. Having an extensive corporate HR and outplacement consulting background, Warren is currently a Senior Advisor in careers and employability at The University of Melbourne.
  • Sandy Hutchison: AHRI professional member, former HRD Asia-Pacific for MMC, Founder and CEO of Career Money Life, a digital, self-service career and benefits platform. She also holds board positions supporting gender related issues at Women and Leadership Australia and Australian Gender Equality Council.
  • Kaye Nolan FRSA: CDAA professional member, career development practitioner, and registered psychologist with experience of professional writing through teaching and managing the course in professional writing and editing at Chisholm Institute;
  • June Smith: CDAA professional member, HR professional with expertise in both recruiting, and outplacement;
  • Philipa Duthie FRSA: Director RSA ANZ; and
  • Lawrence Arnold FRSA, Award Convenor: CDAA professional member, career counsellor, executive coach, and writer of career and employability books

2018 Finalists

One of the many things I liked about the finalist books as they were coming in was their wide target audience range, covering the whole life-span.

In 2018, the finalists were:

The 2018 Award Committee wrote book reviews for each of them, to be found at

The career writers who have the creativity to initiate an idea, the courage to communicate it, and the desire to make a difference in people’s lives deserve acknowledgement, and The Australian Career Book Award aims to do that.

Contact Lawrence Arnold

Email: [email protected]

Check out CDAA's Blog Career Panorama