Career Convergence – A Career-Building Opportunity
By Marilyn Maze
February 2011 marks the 8th anniversary of Career Convergence, NCDA’s free Web Magazine. Each month, Career Convergence publishes short, practical articles on topics of interest to career development practitioners working in a variety of settings. We were thrilled when it became so popular, obtaining thousands of hits each month and being distributed electronically to over 15,000 subscribers on the first of each month. Career Convergence now has almost 550 published articles in its archives!
Mission and Goals
At the end of 2010, the National Career Development Association released a new mission statement:
NCDA inspires and empowers the achievement of career and life goals by providing professional development, resources, standards, scientific research, and advocacy.
Career Convergence furthers that mission by providing timely, practical information and ideas for practitioners It can be used for professional development, as a resource for career topics, an example of needed research areas, and an explanation of advocacy activities. In addition to this broad mission, the NCDA Board is currently striving to spread the message that "every counselor is a career counselor." As Career Convergence editor Melanie Reinersman pointed out, “if we all collaborate, our pool of thought will have a ripple effect on those we aim to serve.” Many counselors with other specialties subscribe to Career Convergence, and our short, practical articles reach out to support many different clients. Readers can find inspiration in the articles, which can lead to empowering clients to achieve their career dreams. We encourage our colleagues in other counseling specialties and related professions to subscribe and contribute to this free web magazine.
Career Convergence is eager to publish articles on 21st Century hot topics in the field of career development. For example, green careers and sustainability is one topic that is currently very important. Career Convergence published six articles on that topic recently and will give the Career Convergence Recognition Award to one of those authors at the NCDA Conference in July. A quick review of recent issues will reveal the wide variety of inspiring topics that Career Convergence addresses, such as techniques for reaching at-risk youth, motivational interviewing, re-entry plans for ex-offenders, working with difficult clients, inspiring employees to “own” their careers, and time management tips for counselors. Finding these and other pertinent topics (including book reviews) is as easy as clicking on the online Search Feature and entering keywords.
Whatever your setting or focus, consider contributing to Career Convergence. Some of the topics currently of greatest interest to our readers include:
- Collaboration with other counselors: As explained above, helping all counselors understand the impact of career issues on the development of the client is a current focus for NCDA. If you collaborate with teachers, counselors, psychologists, or social workers, please write about your experiences. How do you reach out to other helping professionals? What kinds of interdisciplinary teams can be formed? How are the career needs of clients addressed holistically? Does your team extend into other settings or to other agencies? How can we provide career insights to counselors with other specialties? Career counselors have responded to the special needs of victims of disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Gulf oil spill, and their stories can be very inspiring. Sharing these collaborations via articles in Career Convergence encourages the achievement of life goals.
- Underserved populations: Do you find yourself working regularly with clients that have special concerns, issues, or sensitivities? Are there unique techniques that are especially effective with this type of client? Do you work with clients from the inner city, clients who are the first in their family to go to college, immigrants or children of immigrants, GLBT clients, or any other special population? Please write about your experiences and what works for you.
- Disabilities: While many people with disabilities function in society without special accommodations, there are times when providing an extra bit of understanding or assistance can make all the difference. For people without the same disability, the special needs of the client may not be obvious. You could provide a great service to other counselors by increasing awareness and sensitivity while explaining the needs of people with a specific type of disability and suggesting helpful interventions.
- Coping with recession: How has the economy affected your clients? What techniques have worked, even in small ways, to restore a client's self-esteem, lifestyle, or professional activities? Can you share resources for finding jobs that might be useful to other career development professionals? The difficult job situation has impacted younger workers, older workers, workers with marginal skills, and laid off workers, among others. Can you provide any ideas for working with these or other types of clients?
- “Encore” careers: this movement aims to match older workers (think Boomers who do not want to retire) with work that aids society. What altruistic jobs are the easiest (or hardest) to enter? What examples of “giving back” have your clients successfully pursued as a second career? Have you created or coordinated programs to market the skills of older workers?
If you have an idea for an article on a topic that is not on this list, please submit it any one of the ten volunteer Associate or Field Editors. Complete Submission Guidelines are posted online. Career Convergence strives to publish articles that are timely and of interest to our readers on all topics.
A Career-Building Opportunity
When you write for Career Convergence, in addition to helping readers facing similar challenges, you may connect with other career counselors serving the same types of clients. All articles include your email address, and space for readers to submit comments. Your article demonstrates your professional commitment, contributes to your reputation in the field, and can be added to your resume. It remains available to the public indefinitely (so you can refer potential employers and clients to it). You can earn CEUs for an article and your article may be picked up for republication in a variety of other venues.
As we move toward the 100th anniversary of NCDA, which will be celebrated in Boston in 2013, everyone who aims to "inspire and empower the achievement of career and life goals" can have a part in our collected history "by providing professional development, resources, standards, scientific research, and advocacy."
Marilyn Maze, Ph.D, is a Principal Research Associate for ACT, Inc. and one of the developers of DISCOVER, a computerized career guidance program that includes extensive information about occupations, majors, schools, and other aspects of career planning. She also conducts research using ACT's extensive data related to career choices of youth and adults. She is the Associate Editor of the Features department for Career Convergence. Contact her at: 410-584-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.