Challenges and Opportunities in Online Career Development Counseling

The Internet supplies a new medium for social communication and information exchange that holds the capacity for delivering kinds of career counselling services that are suitable to the medium. The challenge dealing with counselors depend on finding what type of counseling services are proper to this new medium and in delineating the possible benefits and restrictions inherent to this new communication format.

Career development and counseling has emerged as an international phenomenon supplying people with opportunities to develop their skills, make career choices that improve their life quality and also contribute to the improvement of the society. For some individuals, the focus of career development is practically totally on fitting into work and tasks, while others specify career more generally to also include other life functions.

Technological advances in career intervention, focusing on computer-assisted assistance and the ubiquitous participation of the Internet in career information dissemination, have required enhanced sophistication in instruction and monitored practice. As outcome, a new term, “online career counseling”, has emerged to signify asynchronous and concurrent distance interaction amongst career counselors and counselees using several of the following communication functions of the Internet; e-mail, chat, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and social web. Online counselor might include Human Resources (HR) consulting firms, Human Resources supervisors of the company that has actually used or is going to utilize the counselee, in addition to other managers operating as external or internal coaches/ mentors of the workers. Online counselees include current employees, typically pursuing career development either inside or beyond their existing organizational limits, and candidate employees, pursuing a career that matches as much as possible their interests and proficiency.



Normal services in the category of online career counseling include; e-mentoring, e-coaching and e-assessment. Both coaching and mentoring are kinds of another paradigm for finding out that has its ancient roots in dialogue and interaction.


E-mentoring is a recent development in the field of mentoring and one which is currently showing substantial advantages over more conventional forms. An e-mentor is not recognized as a tutor or instructor however someone who provides assistance or counsel. Generally, mentoring was defined as a dyadic relationship where a mentor, a senior individual in age or experience, supplied assistance and support to the less knowledgeable person, the protégé.

In general, coaches perform 3 major functions for their protégés. Initially, they offer vocational or instrumental support that straight boosts the career of the protégé and may consist of sponsorship, presence, protection, and tough assignments. Second, they might offer psychosocial support through counseling, friendship, and encouragement. Third, coaches might also work as function designs to their protégés by demonstrating appropriate behavior either implicitly or clearly.


Business coaches may carry out a lot of the exact same functions as a coach, yet frequently the relationship is more temporal or goal-based. The exchanges in between online business coaches and their customers are frequently explicit, monetary, and transactional in nature. In contrast, the exchange between a coach who provides a protégé with coaching is frequently more implicit, individual, and reciprocal. Fee-based training provides clients real-world guidance, frequently from individuals who have remained in the very same circumstance and can speak from personal experience. Clients practice and develop skills in résumé writing, business strategy development, and contract settlement by sending their efforts to a coach who provides feedback. Today, a lot of coaches use standard means (i.e. email, phone) but also advanced electronic methods (i.e. instant messaging, teleconferencing, videoconferencing) to communicate with their clients, using the Internet strategically.


Specialists have continued to innovate over the previous few years by providing remote self-help performance evaluations to the workers and remote interpretation of assessments as one component of range career counseling. The Internet-based assessment applications might be used either separated or to supplement a company’s existing performance management systems. The e-assessment services analyzed within this paper consist of, apart from online performance appraisal forms offered by a typical e-performance management system, analysis of full-circle (360o) feedback and counselling on the type of learning programs that best match the counselees’ career development needs. An online assessment system may also enable users to track their own development over a series of assessments, and hence get even more targeted counselling services. This option works as an appealing ways for workers to bridge the gap in between feedback and development planning.



The following ethical concerns can be categorized into those that are related to the design and those related to the use of online career counselling services. In regards to design, functions such as reliability and validity, and counselee-oriented user interface design of the services are analyzed. In terms of use, computer system literacy of counselee, intimacy of online communication, competence of online counselor, and equity of access are gone over. Lastly, in terms of both design and use, concerns regarding the confidentiality and privacy of information exchanged are examined.

Reliability and Validity of Service

Some researchers consider it “dishonest for career counseling specialists to use online instruments without examining the psychometric characteristics of the procedures or the basis of analysis”. Such a notice applies not just for e-assessment tools, however also for e-mentoring and e-coaching services, where the requirement for psychometric data is high. Considering that e-mentoring and e-coaching services are supplied on an individualized basis, the collection of psychometric data on the counselee has frequently a lead over the career counseling process.

Counselee-Oriented Interface Design

Psychologists should keep an active role in the design of online career counseling services, given that they have better understanding of the features that might influence positively the counselee’s mindset towards the use of such services. For example, professionals of psychometric tests have set a variety of user interface characteristics that every e-assessment system must have. The most important consist of consistency, recoverability and control over the system’s data flow, along with extended user assistance and assistance.

Computer Literacy of Counselee

For people who have low computer literacy, using an online career counseling tool on the Internet may produce some difficulties, as it is typically delivered as a self-help intervention. There may be no avenue for the individual to ask concerns, clarify directions, acquire support, and otherwise get individual guidance. It would not be uncommon for individuals with low computer literacy, while using an online career counselling tool, to experience some problems in answering questions and to feel disappointed and confused.

Intimacy of Online Communication

The primary disadvantage of using the Internet for counseling consists of the loss of the non-verbal communication level. Most of communication between a counselor and a counselee is occurring automatically by body language and paralinguistics, such as intonation. Using computer system communication runs the risk that the ‘space between the 2 parties’ ends up being filled with hardware.

Skills of Online Counselor

Specialists need to develop competencies in (a) determining the special Internet functions that might guide the design of qualitative and effective career counseling services, (b) recognizing potential ethical issues related to making use of these systems and taking suitable action; and (c) getting or providing remote supervision and support in making use of online career services. Also, practitioners interested in developing online career counseling services have to be geared up with training design competencies as well as website design abilities.

Equity of Access

There is an issue that access to Internet-based services is not equitable. Clients with minimal funds may have difficulty getting to the Internet. More affluent people often have Internet access at their location of home and/or their location of work, for that reason leading to higher access to career resources and services that are readily available on the Internet. Limited Internet access might enhance the income variation in between well-educated, affluent groups and less-educated, less-affluent groups in society.


Counselors working with customers through Internet must know the prospective dangers to confidentiality and privacy of counselee’s personal or career-related data and use proper security methods for their online transmission and storage mechanisms. It is important that suitable security techniques are used to obstruct any harmful action. Moreover, it is very important that customers of these services, existing or candidate workers, are notified of the privacy policies followed by the counselor, so that they are able to figure out the threats included in the delivery of online counselling services.

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