Strategies, resources, and coping mechanisms that individuals use to cope with life/ vocational development tasks and thereby build and manage their lives/careers. Adaptability is understood as the individual’s ability to accept change and adapt to new career circumstances, internal or external to the present organization, even when these are not favourable (Kossek et al., 1998, p.942).

Character strengths

The values in action that best characterize the person, guide his/her behaviour, and lead him/her to explore his/her full potential. Peterson & Seligman (2004) have developed a classification of central human strengths, which arise from universal human virtues across culture, geography and religion. The six universal virtues are: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, moderation and transcendence (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).


The anticipations that individuals have developed with regard to the likelihood of a certain event (Miller & Liciardi, 2003; Tinsley et al., 1988, cit. Em Shivy & Koehly, 2002, p. 41; Whitaker, Philips, & Tokar, 2004).


Interests are the person’s preferences for different classes of activities. Whether in our work or in leisure, some activities seem to interest and attract us more naturally than others. Interests indicate the direction in which the person guides his/her efforts, but it is his/her cognitive abilities that determine the level of effectiveness. The interests do not allow a satisfactory prediction of academic or professional success. Often when we have a strong interest, such as fulfilling job’s demands, we can dedicate an important part of our time to accomplish this objective. This accomplishment increases our satisfaction level of having successfully carried out the task, as well as our general wellbeing, and therefore increases even more our interest level in performing well on the job.

Life project

A process of problem-solving and decision making that requires exploration skills, focused on self-knowledge and knowledge of the environment, the definition of objectives, and the definition and implementation of a plan of action, always with a proactive attitude and autonomy. This perspective is close to the most current conceptions of career development, integrating, on the one hand, all the sequence of events that the person experiences during the entire lifetime, and, on the other hand, all the contexts / stages in which these events unfold, along a process of construction and management for which each person must take full responsibility (Pinto 2010; Savickas, 2005).

Life roles

Roles played by individuals over the course of their lives. These life roles include family / marriage role (associated with being a child, father / mother, spouse), academic / professional role (relative to being a student and / or worker), social role (related to being a friend, colleague), domestic role (associated with performing household management tasks), leisure role (relating to involvement in health, sports and wellness activities) and the citizenship role (related to volunteering and community services). The conjugation of different roles that are assumed in different life contexts allows the definition of a lifestyle. In addition, it is important to take into consideration that these life roles also interact with each other, and any decision regarding any of these life roles has a capacity to pass on to all the rest, and it is this potential impact that must be considered during any career decision (Brown, 1996).


Migration refers to an exit movement out of the city and/or country of origin, and consequent entry into a new host city and/or country.


Stimulates that enable individuals to take a set of actions driven by the belief that these will allow him/her to achieve goals and the desired results. Motivation stimulates the individual to develop attitudes and behaviours in order to attain his/her objectives—for example, the need for economic security, recognition, or status (Crites, 1969; King, 2004). When there is no obstacle or barrier that prevents the individual to achieve his/her objectives, then the individual immediately puts into practice all the necessary behaviours and easily reaches his/her objectives.


The knowledge of individuals facing a determined event arising from their personal observations or direct experience (Tinsley et al., 1988; cit. in Shivy & Koehly, 2002, p. 41).

Personal agency

In the context of an increasingly unstable, unpredictable and dynamic organizational world, the person must assume the responsibility to manage his/her own career (Arnold, 1997; Greenhaus & Callanan, 1994).


Complex set of unique psychological qualities that influence the characteristic patterns of a person’s behaviour in different situations over time. Qualities or personal enduring attributes that predispose and influence the behaviour of people in different situations.


The desires and pretensions of individuals towards the occurrence of certain events (Tinsley et al., 1988; cit. in Shivy & Koehly, 2002, p. 41).


People in situations of forced migration, including refugees, are all those who are forced to leave their city / country of origin because of persecution, conflict, war, or violence.


”One’s belief in one’s abilities to perform or succeed at a certain level of performance or desired outcome that influences situations affecting one’s lives.” (Bandura, 1994) It corresponds to the individual’s beliefs in how he/she has the necessary competences (e.g., exploration, experimentation, decision-making competences) to successfully solve the tasks, challenges, and obstacles that arise through his/her life’s/career’s decision (Bandura, 1986, 1994). A deficit in this dimension is frequently associated with sentiments of denial, and fear, and can evolve to situations to which the individual considers to have no competence, because he/she has never experienced a similar situation, or that in previous moments that situation was not effectively resolved. Self-efficacy is important to explore and develop the participants’ beliefs in their own ability to succeed.  The person is seen as an agent in his/her own life. People’s experienced self-efficacy affects, according to Bandura (1994), the way in which we think, feel, act, and motivate ourselves.


Defined as the “level of clarity and certainty of individuals to the set of attitudes, values, interests, needs, and competences, which are personally and vocationally relevant” (Barret & Tinsley, 1977, p. 302, cit Weng & McElroy, 2009, p. 2). A clear sense about oneself, or about one’s needs, interests, and values, and being able to make decisions about the life/career that do not betray one’s identity (Schein, 1996).

The formation of the self-concept is dependent of life experiences to which the individual is submitted and only consolidated after five to ten years of professional experience (Schein, 1996). From the time it is consolidated, the self-concept acts as an anchor in which it remains stable along the life of the individual, allowing him/her to be faithful to his/her identity.


A positive or negative assessment of one’s self (Burns, 1991; Smith & Mackie, 2000; Vaz Serra, 1986; Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, 2012). It refers to the value the person attaches to his/herself, to his/her self-confidence, self-respect and pride. Self-esteem has an adaptive function, helping the person to be confident about him/herself and to recognize the merit of his/her successes (high self-esteem), or on the contrary, to be insecure, confused and hesitant (low self-esteem). In general, self-esteem develops according to the response to life experiences (Weiten, Dunn & Hammer, 2012), and then it usually remains the same from childhood to old age (Kassin, Fein, & MarKus, 2011).

Skills (Competences)

“Skill is the ability to perform tasks or cope with various situations effectively, in a particular context, and it is therefore necessary to mobilize attitudes, skills and knowledge, at the same time and interrelated” (Zabala & Arnau, 2007). The beliefs of individuals concerning their ability to perform particular activities. It contributes to determining the choices of activities and the environment, the investment of the individuals in the pursuit of the objectives that he/she has set for himself/herself, the persistence of his/her effort and the emotional reactions that reach him/her when meets obstacles.

Social justice

Adoption of a diversity of actions aimed at the empowerment of societies/nations, favouring access and use by their members of opportunities, resources, and values, without any kind of advantage or disadvantage concerning sexual, racial, ethnic, economic, religious, or other factors.


What drives the individual and hinders him/her in exploring his/her potential. Peterson & Seligman (2004) have developed a classification of central human strengths, which arise from universal human virtues across culture, geography, and religion. According to Seligman (2004), strengths are the road to realising virtues. People actively working with their strengths thrive better, are more confident, have higher self-esteem, have more energy and zest, experience less stress/are more resistant, perform better, are more committed, are better able to achieve their goals, develop faster and achieve lasting improvements.


The beliefs that define what is most important for people; the motivators of people, providing life purpose and meaning; personal life values influence behaviour, choices, emotions, habits, lifestyle and social experiences. Focusing on one’s core values, enables the participants to set personal goals based on what is important for themselves.

Professional vulnerability

A gap between academic qualifications and / or technical skills and labour market requirements (lack of professional experience, precarious and unskilled jobs).