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Retention Interviews and Career Planning

Related Information | Integration | Professional Development | Sustainment | Career Development

Career Development Counseling. Applies to Soldiers serving on their second or subsequent term of service in the Army. Counseling is focused on Soldiers considering the Army as a career. This function will educate Soldiers on the centralized promotion system, education (military and civilian), special programs, assignments, retention control points, retirement, indefinite reenlistment, mentoring, and establishing short- and long-term goals. Short- and long-term goals established in the professional development phase will be evaluated and tailored to meet the Soldier’s career needs, wants, and desires.

Career Counseling Session - Career Development

Title: Professional and/or career development (DA Form 4591)
When Counseled: 90 to 120 days after assignment to the unit (all Soldiers)
Type of Counseling: Professional and/or career development
Who Counsels: Career Counselor
Guidance: The career counselor will screen the Soldier’s records, verify service dates, and extract pertinent information as required to tailor the counseling session.

a. Soldiers serving on their initial enlistment (professional development): Career Counselors will counsel these Soldiers on understanding the Army. The counseling will focus on educating Soldiers on the decentralized and semi-centralized promotion systems, the Army Continuing Education System, the transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, various military schools, reclassification, special programs, importance of diverse assignments, finding a mentor, and establishing short- and long-term goals. The career counselor will also assist the Soldier in setting specific career development goals. This session is an informal process to assure the Soldier begins his or her new assignment with data essential to make solid career or life decisions. Special attention will be paid to the Soldier’s expectations from an Army experience. Guidance will be provided to foster the Soldier’s desires and eliminate false impressions while instilling a realistic, achievable life plan within the Army’s framework.

b. Soldiers serving on their second or subsequent enlistment (career development): Career Counselors will counsel these Soldiers on the Army as a career. The counseling will focus on the status of the Soldier’s current short- and long-term goals, an overview of the centralized promotion system, education (military and civilian), special programs and assignments, retention control points, retirement, indefinite reenlistment, mentoring, and so forth. Short- and long-term goals will be evaluated and tailored to meet the Soldier’s career needs, wants, and desires. Since there is a strong likelihood that these Soldiers will be married or have dependents, the counselor must be cognizant of factors that affect the Soldier’s plans and enable the Soldier to build a career plan around a Family and the resulting impact a career imposes. Expectations for post Army retirement should also be discussed and potential long-term personal growth programs explored.
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Title: Commander’s professional and/or career development (DA Form 4591 / Commander’s Professional/Career Development Counseling Form Form)
When Counseled: Annually on basic active service date (BASD) anniversary (all Soldiers).
Type of Counseling: Professional and/or career development
Who Counsels: Company Commander

Guidance: The focus of this counseling is to check on the status of professional and career goals and to assist the Soldier in overcoming obstacles to the accomplishment of those goals. The commander will evaluate information provided by the career counselor, as well as performance reports from the Soldier’s leaders.

This counseling should also serve as a means for the commander to further assess the Soldier’s goals, expectations, and understanding of the command’s mission. The Soldier will be informed of both positive and negative aspects of current performance and methods to overcome shortcomings or to further improve performance. The commander will follow-up on original findings provided by unit leaders. Commanders will pay special attention to changes in personal status (marriage, dependents, monetary problems, and health). Referral to outside agencies may be required to obtain expert guidance in some instances. If the Soldier shows limited potential or substandard conduct, the commander will advise the Soldier that they may not be a candidate for reenlistment. If a bar to reenlistment is appropriate, it should be discussed at this time (see AR 601-280, chap 8). If the Soldier is in an over-strength specialty or is noncompetitive for promotion, retraining options should also be discussed. Ineligible Soldiers will be informed of their status and specifically advised what action is necessary to become eligible. Soldiers recommended for reenlistment, regardless of eligibility status, will continue to receive all counseling. Soldiers not recommended for further service will be informed that they are being considered for a bar to reenlistment.
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Title: Reenlistment Follow-Up (DA Form 4591)
When Counseled: 60 to 90 days after reenlistment (all Soldiers)
Type of Counseling: Career development
Who Counsels: Career Counselor
Guidance: This is a follow-up counseling session to ensure that all options, incentives, and other promises made in conjunction with the Soldier’s reenlistment have been fulfilled. This session provides the "service after the sale" to the Soldier and is used to alleviate problems, actual or perceived, associated with the reenlistment and resulting consequences of PCS moves, relocation of dependents, or similar problems. Referral to outside agencies may be necessary.
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Title: Change of station and/or transition (DA Form 4591)
When Counseled: 60 to 90 days prior to PCS, leave, and/or training start date, or transition leave and/or ETS (all Soldiers)
Type of Counseling: Career development
Who Counsels: Career Counselor
Guidance: This counseling session enables the career counselor to assist the Soldier in the PCS or ETS process and answer any questions or help to solve any remaining problems to ensure that the Soldier’s move commences with minimum difficulty. The career counselor must also verify that all SRRs have been met and/or any required security clearances obtained. Conduct RC follow-up for transitioning Soldiers to allow them to consummate ARNG contracts.



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