Special Challenges in Career Management: Counselor Perspectives

Special Challenges in Career Management: Counselor Perspectives

Special Challenges in Career Management: Counselor Perspectives

Special Challenges in Career Management: Counselor Perspectives


As the practice of outplacement counseling continues to evolve, outplacement professionals are increasingly called upon to respond effectively to a rapidly changing set of counseling and business developments. One of the major trends is that the skills and expertise of outplacement practitioners are of value to individuals still employed within corporate organizations as well as to those who have already lost their jobs. Practitioners are designing programs and delivering services in the areas of executive coaching, organization development, internal career management, and more. Another trend is that career management professionals are challenged to provide effective services to an increasingly diverse group of candidates to ensure that they are maintaining the highest professional standards in their service delivery. And more attention is being given to innovative applications of technology to career management services. As a result of these evolving trends, the need has never been greater for career management professionals to think clearly about the services they deliver, to enhance their own professional development on an ongoing basis, and to respond effectively to changes in the labor market. One of the best ways to accomplish this growth is to fully tap the knowledge and experience of authorities in the field. The contributors to this volume are established industry leaders with demonstrated expertise in their areas of special interest. This volume is a valuable resource to all those interested in the fields of outplacement and career management-- especially current and "would-be" practitioners. Its contents will benefit candidates receiving career management services and human resources professionals whose organizations provide such services. It is also of interest to those from a variety of academic backgrounds including counseling psychology, organization development, and industrial/organizational psychology. For all of these audiences, this volume assembles practical, state-of-the-art information about important career development topics from a broad range of distinguished practitioners.


The practice of outplacement counseling continues to grow in complexity. Outplacement counselors are increasingly called on to respond effectively to a rapidly changing set of business conditions. In its formative years, the thrust of outplacement consisted of providing full service, individualized career planning, and job-search assistance to a limited number of senior executives. In later years, outplacement services were offered to a much larger and more diverse group of individuals. Programs changed, as well, to include group formats and, in some cases, time-limited services.

Most recently, outplacement professionals have come to recognize that their skills and expertise are of value not only to those corporate employees whose jobs have already been eliminated, but to those individuals who remain within their organizations. Such individuals, the "survivors" as they have come to be known, also need assistance in order to manage their careers more effectively. In recognition of this trend, the major professional association of outplacement professionals, formerly known as the International Association of Outplacement Professionals (IAOP) changed its name in 1994 to the International Association of Career Management Professionals (IACMP). Many of its practitioners began designing programs and delivering services in the areas of executive coaching, organizational development, and internal career management, to name just a few.

The growth and evolution of the field has presented many counseling challenges to its practitioners. Delivering high quality services to clients more diverse in their age, gender, race, income, occupational level, and areas of specialization necessitates a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the counseling process, a broader repertoire of counselor interventions, and more knowledge about job search and marketplace conditions. More attention is also being paid to issues surrounding the competencies and training required to deliver high quality career management services.

Furthermore, the increasingly competitive nature of a more mature industry has impacted the design and delivery of career management services. Innovative approaches and formats have been introduced in an effort to meet client needs and, thereby, remain viable as business entities. One of the major areas where innovation is taking place is in the application of technology to career management services. Although it is a field that has not historically relied heavily on technological innovations, there is a growing awareness that career management firms and their practitioners must become more sophisticated in this area in order to meet the rapidly changing needs of sponsoring organizations and individual candidates.

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