Have you heard of a career coach? Any idea what career coach services are out there? Or why’d you need one perhaps? Yes, the job market is pretty good so you might think you’d never need a career coach. Let me tell you, even though the job market is very good there are lots of people who could use career coach services. Most people tend to think a career coach is something that an outplacement service will do and to some extent they are right. But a career coach can help anyone who wants to not only find a new job but also to help you advance your career. Let’s look at some career coach services.
What Is a Career Coach
In short a career coach is someone who can help guide and support you to get a new job or help you advance your career.
Career coaches use a solution-oriented approach to assist and inform any person who is in need of career advice. In other words, they help people define, redefine, and achieve their professional objectives and other work-related goals.
Career coaches can help people figure out what kind of job they’re looking for or help them plan a new career path if desired. They can also give people advice on their current work situation (whether they are freelancers, employees, or executives), helping them develop or improve their stress management skills and their leadership and interpersonal skills, including conflict-management skills and self-confidence.
As a recruiter for 15 years I can relate to the benefits of utilizing a career coach from time to time.
Quick Story For Relevance
I primarily recruit sales people. That’s the area I wound up specializing in as my recruiting career has evolved. Recently I recruited for a pretty high level marketing role in the corporate office. Here’s how things unfolded.
The first candidate that came into the corporate office to interview flew in from the west coast, about 6 travel hours. He had a dinner interview and then a series of 7 other interviews over the course of 8 hours the following day. Then he flew home. When gathering feedback from the interviewee’s the response was unanimous, everybody thought he was great and would fit in well and bring a lot to the table. That’s awesome right? Normally it is. The issue was he was the first person in for live interviews. 2 weeks later 3 other candidates had come in for interviews and a different candidate was selected and offered the job. And accepted.
This is not abnormal. Unfortunately the first candidate had placed all of his job hopes on this role and was very upset when not offered the position. Primarily because he had taken a severance package from his previous company that was downsizing. And the severance package was just about out. Which of course put this person in near panic mode.
Why This Candidate Needed a Career Coach
How this unfolded with the marketing candidate was not uncommon. What happened was this person took a severance package worth 6 months of pay. Which is great. Since this person had worked so hard for 25 years he figured he could take a few months off and relax a bit. Which is completely understandable, the job market is great right? The problem is after 2-3 months he updated his resume and started applying for jobs. After another month or so he’d had little response or interest. And panic began to set in. So what happened?
What happened was that even though the job market is quite good it still can take a long time to find the right position. The more experienced or specialized you are the harder it can become. Throw in the fact that with more experience typically you get compensated more and those positions become much more scarce. Then when you interview for a higher level job lots of things need to line up on both sides for it to work out. This is someone who definitely could have used career coach services. If I had known him when he would have taken the severance package I would have advised him very differently than the course of action he took.
Outplacement Service Companies
There are organizations that are referred to as outplacement companies. They typically work with other companies to help when layoffs occur. Sprint was a large employer in my city. In the 15 years that I have lived here they have had probably 4 major layoffs that I can remember. Upwards of 500 – 1500 people have been laid off at a time. When this happens Sprint has used an outplacement company to assist with things such as resume writing, interview skills, networking, etc. All things that can help someone get a new job. They are providing some career coach services on a larger scale. Some examples include Right Management and Lee Hecht Harrison.
Career Coach Services
So what career coach services are there available?
Resume Writing – this is one of the primary services many career coaches offer. It’s never a bad idea to have a current and effective resume.
Interview Preparation – Not easy to know how the interview will go but very well worth being prepared.
Job Search Assistance – Helps you get smarter and more efficient in your search.
Mock Interviews – Helps you prepare for the real deal!
Career Coaching – help you talk through and strategize on how you want your career to progress. Or even alter.
Executive Coaching – similar to career coaching but for executives.
There are other services as well. These are the staples you’ll find for most of them.
Should You Use a Career Coach
I don’t think everyone wants or needs a career coach. Here are some reasons when it makes sense to utilize a career coach.
You Took A Severance Package
Much like the person I referenced above it’s a great idea to use a career coach when you decide to take a severance package. Especially true if the company is paying for the services! They can help you get your resume together and help you strategize your search. In my opinion this is the #1 value a career coach can help you with. They’ll also help with interview tips.
Time to Grow
Sometimes people feel stuck in their role at a company. They feel there’s no upward growth or opportunities. And that may be true. Some of the best career coach services will help them figure out some good options to move up and advance their career, either inside or outside the current company.
You Suck at Networking
Networking is probably the best way to land a choice new gig. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t like to do it or quite frankly, suck at it. And that’s okay. Utilize a career coach to help guide you. Some of them will actively help you work towards a new role.
The Application Black Hole
Being in recruiting for 15 years has taught me many things. One of the biggest is people that look for new jobs by only applying online are going to get frustrated. It’s simply not very effective. It can and does work but the amount of effort it takes is crazy. If you’ve done this with little to no results think about paying for a career coach.
Interviewing is Scary
And it sure can be. If interviewing scares you and makes you super nervous a career coach is money well spent. This is one of the really good career coach services.
To Be Prepared
I’ve seen too many people get downsized and look like a deer in the headlights. This is because they had no clue it was coming and even worse, were completely unprepared. I am a HUGE proponent of developing an external network in the event this happens. I also think your resume should always be current just in case. If you aren’t prepared if your company potentially goes bankrupt next week, pay a few hundred dollars to get prepared.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because pricing is all over the board. It can anywhere from $50 for an updated resume to $2,500 for an “Executive Package” complete with career counseling. My favorite career coach services are set up a la carte. Something like paying $50 for the updated resume and $100 each for 2-3 coaching sessions for what you need help on. Check it out.
There you go, some of the more common career coach services. Being in recruiting for 15 years I am a big believer in them. Heck, I do it on a daily basis in the daily course of my recruiting activities. I don’t think it’s something everyone needs but I do think they serve a valuable purpose. If you’ve had some experience with a career coach I’d love to hear your input.
In good career health,