What's a Career Coach? Do I need one?
You may have noticed one of the latest trends in career
management is to have your own career coach. It's not really a
new concept. Executives have known for years the value of
investing in the expertise of a career professional. You may
still wonder, "What's a career coach?" and more importantly, "Do
I need one?"
The best way to illustrate the value of a career coach is to
compare them to personal trainers. Anyone can go to a gym and
work out. Having a personal trainer is not a prerequisite to
fitness. The value of a personal trainer is that he/she helps
their client achieve their fitness goal quicker and with better
results. Similarly, a career coach accelerates the job search
process resulting in significantly higher starting salary.
A job-search campaign demands specific skills such as resume and
cover letter writing, networking, interviewing and negotiations.
The best jobs don't necessarily go to the most qualified, but
rather, to those with the sharpest job-search skills. An
effective career coach provides expert advise, insight and
training on these essential skills giving their clients a
tremendous competitive advantage.
The most effective job-search campaign has a strategic marketing
plan and focus. No corporation would launch a new product
without a marketing plan. Every phase is carefully orchestrated
to maximize sales results. A career coaches can help you develop
an action plan designed to 1) uncover more job leads, 2) secure
more interviews, 3) maximize interview results, 4) increase the
number of job offers, and 5) significantly increase your salary.
Not all job seekers need a career coach. If you already have
headhunters calling you with job leads, you're probably OK on
your own. Here are some situations were job seekers could
benefit from the expertise of a career coach: 1) changing
industries, 2) moving into management, 3) changing functional
roles (like accounting to sales), 4) relocation to a new area,
5) unstable work history, 6) been with the same company for many
years, 7) over or under qualified, 8) over 50, or 9) lack
confidence in your salary negotiation skills. Another way to
tell if you need a career coach is lack of positive results. If
you aren't getting responses from your resume postings or you
aren't getting called back for second interviews, a career coach
could most likely help you improve your skills and get your
campaign moving forward.
If you decide to invest in a career coach, here are a few things
you'll want to look for. A career coach should be an expert in
the field of career management. Ask about their background and
how they stay abreast of national employment trends. A career
coach should understand employer buyer motivations. Ask if they'
ve ever sat in the hiring seat. A career coach must be a good
listener. If he/she talks more than listens, your objectives won
't be heard or understood.
Like the athlete running a race, your job search is a
competitive event. Prepare to win first place in your job
search. As every runner knows, second place doesn't take home