How to find a career coach who will actually help me narrow my search?
April 30, 2014 8:31 PM Subscribe
I had an exhausting conversation with a "career coach" today. It left me wondering - are there any career coaches that are actually concretely helpful in a given industry? Snowflake details below the fold.
posted by randomkeystrike to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Long story short, and to keep negative editorializing to a minimum, I felt after talking for a long while that his core expertise was resume doctoring, followed by an interest in "teaching me to network" and "find mentors in my field" to help me assess my competitiveness (or what skills I might need to improve) for the job(s) I'm interested in. He emphasized that many/most/the best jobs are never even posted and get filled by referral candidates brought in by people they know (totally agree with him there; I don't think that's in dispute. The problem is -how do you find out about these positions, figure out if you're what they're looking for, and get in line?)
In the course of asking him to better describe, verbally, what he did and didn't do, it became obvious that what WASN'T on the menu was any active networking on my behalf (i.e. He is not a recruiter, nor someone who could introduce me to potential "mentors," whatever that might mean), nor was he able or willing to perform any detailed assessment of how competitive my capabilities and experience are for my desired career field.
It would be easy enough to write this guy off (for reasons I don't want to bog down in, I wasn't impressed with him), but the last "career coach" I spoke with offered to charge $5,000 and the pitch sounded similar. I just don't have that kind of money to polish skills I already have after several years in sales: writing and networking. I'm sure I'm not perfect, but my biggest problem with my resume is I don't know the best job to apply for with my skillset, so my resume is too broad.
So here's my question, finally:
Is there any way to hire an expert to tell me what jobs should I be looking for, based on looking at my resume, and/or how competitive I would be for fields I want to pursue? Anyone who can help me understand what the pay scales are, how tight that particular job market is? What companies are really hiring in the area I want to be in? If I knew that I could network those companies, career fields, etc., and write a resume that was honed for those areas.
I've tried talking to recruiters, people in industries I'm interested in, etc., and for various reasons I feel people don't have incentive to really spend the time it would take to help me. And that's understandable - it's like the difference between a friend and a therapist. Problem is, in talking to two would-be "career coaches," I've become convinced that what they're selling is not what I want to buy. Now what?