I just finished working with a client who landed a new job that better utilizes her talents while offering greatly improved income, promotional opportunity, and company environment/culture. At the end of our multi-month journey together, she said to me without prompting “I couldn’t have done it without you.” Her comment was personally flattering and reaffirmed what I do every day as a career consultant/coach.
I have spoken to thousands of employed and unemployed people about their career situations. The vast majority, including executives and professionals, seemed to believe that a $25,000 to $100,000 MBA or other traditional education was their best career investment. In some instances that might be true — but not for the majority of them.
Few people have an understanding of what career coaches do. Some have worked with a poor career coach (all professions have poor performers) and hence do not have any faith in their abilities. As mentioned in my book Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),
“A career coach can help with establishing clear goals, developing self-marketing strategies, improving self-selling skills, enhancing resumes, upgrading interviewing skills, negotiating better compensation agreements, and maintaining overall accountability actions/progress. Some experienced career coaches understand how the job market works and leverage their knowledge for the benefit of their clients.”
The goal of my book is to dispel a multitude of career myths canonized as “conventional wisdom” in the last century. I challenge you to consider this: In the 21st century, getting help in your career is not for wimps. It is for intelligent, motivated people who want more from their careers.
What types of help are available to you? Here are a few short comments to help put each in perspective:
Career Counselors – Most work for individuals and can be an excellent resource for occupational testing and goal setting. A small % work in university career centers. Most have little or no time to help with job searches.
Corporate Outplacement Companies- They work for employers, but serve individuals who have lost their jobs. They mean well, but they tend to provide cookie cutter answers…and not as much support as most people need.
Career Marketing Companies – They work for individuals who pay for their services. In theory, they help their clients market themselves. Many offer warmed over outplacement programs, so shop carefully before purchasing.
Life Coaches, Business Coaches, Executive Coaches, etc. – Life coaches help individuals mostly with personal issues. Business coaches help businesses improve their performance. Executive coaches work for employers to improve manager/executive performance within their organization.
Resume Writers – They work for individuals and can be an excellent resource for resume revisions. However, many will write your resume in a vacuum and most don’t know where to direct you in pursuing jobs effectively.
Independent Recruiters – They work for employers, not individuals. Job seekers who say “I am looking to meet good recruiters” mistakenly think that the right recruiter will help them get a job. Not so.
Staffing Agencies – They work for employers, not individuals. Job seekers sometimes view them favorably because they will meet with them and give them a screening interview. Unfortunately, most of their jobs are low paying.
Internal (Corporate) Recruiters – They work for employers, not individuals. Job seekers want to talk to them, but they don’t want to talk to job seekers. A “don’t call us, we’ll call you” sort of thing.
If you have read the preceding information, then you may see the gaping hole that needs to be filled for individuals who want to take charge and improve their career satisfaction. This hole tends to be filled by career marketing companies and individual career coaches.
It’s 2013, not 1993. If you want to improve your personal brand, MBA’s marketed on billboards and transit buses may not be your golden ticket. In the 21st century, everyone can benefit from having the right coach and many high performers have multiple coaches. Check out some career coaches and get started working with an experienced one. You’re worth it!
Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).