Need Coaching. The Job Kind. Help Wanted/Needed.
September 20, 2010 8:32 AM   Subscribe

I need a job coach. I live in New York. Your suggestions would be very very helpful.

I have a resume stocked with accomplishments that are a little to eclectic to make me a solid candidate for any one thing, and I need some help with strategy as well as how to articulate to employers why I'm worth what might seem like an unconventional risk. I need someone who will really help me do that- not just tell me to find listings and set deadlines for me to apply for them, or just tinker with my resume.

I'd be really grateful to hear about anyone who has helped you.
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Work & Money (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have gone through this in the past and could not ever find anyone who I did not think was a quack on some level. They wanted a minimum commitment, they wanted a TON of money, and they didn't have a list of references who could say, 'Yes. Person X helped me do THIS'.

It sounds like what you need is a copywriter. You need someone who can help you recraft your resume and your cover letter into a a selling tool. That imho would be a better investment than throwing cash at a 'job coach'.
posted by micawber at 8:45 AM on September 20, 2010

It sounds like you could probably make a couple different versions of your resume that cater to various specific audiences.

I feel your pain, I am in a similar situation. I finally just went ahead and made a whole separate CV purely for all my creative work -- I got tired of trying to convince employers (and myself) that these accomplishments translated into the experience they were looking for, and I discovered that I had enough professional experience without them to seem perfectly credible.
posted by hermitosis at 8:47 AM on September 20, 2010

Can I suggest a different strategy? I used this myself when I wanted to switch into an entirely new field to me.

Do info interviews with people who hold similar jobs. In my case, I googled various search terms (in my case, science writer, medical writer, PhD, NYC, email). With my new list of people and corresponding email address, I emailed them and asked to meet for 30 minutes/email/phone conversation, whatever was convenient to that person. The people who want to help will meet, the rest will ignore. The people that I met with looked at my CV and pointed out terms that I should highlight/inset, etc. Some of them gave me other job search terms/job titles or gave me the names of helpful headhunters/recruiters, or even people and companies that were hiring. Between all these people, I assembled a CV that was typical for someone in the field that I wanted to enter. It was also free and you have the potential to make great contacts. Believe it or not, even a recruiter/head hunter helped me rearrange my CV for someone going into the field.

Tl;dr The people working in the field (and sometimes with similar backgrounds) will probably be the best people to help you with this. Why not ask them?
posted by Wolfster at 8:58 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Hired Guns does coaching in NYC, and they are very reliable:

I'd contact them. They also do courses.
posted by sweetkid at 9:20 AM on September 20, 2010

There's a group named the Five O' Clock club. Their books are excellent. I believe they have meetings, etc. you can attend for free as well.
posted by xammerboy at 9:26 AM on September 20, 2010

I know a career coach who has previously worked as a headhunter, for an outplacement service, and at an MBA career center - he has about 35 years in the "career" business, in one form or another. I don't know if he'd be right for you, but he does work with people in similar situations. You could contact him and see if it's a match. (Per @micawber's point, you could ask for references.)

His name is Tom Ballantyne, and his e-mail is He's in California, but so much coaching is done by phone that I can't see that being a problem.
posted by jeri at 5:38 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hope I'm not too late to the party to add my two cents to the discussion, but I'm the coach that jeri kindly mentioned in her comment. So, Ms Hedgehog, you've gotten some pretty good advice so far -- and for free. There are other resources out there that won't cost you, either. Have you re-connected with your alma mater? College career centers are getting a lot better at helping alumni, sometimes for a nominal fee or membership in the alumni association. But it can be very useful help and excellent networking. Wolfster's tactic is great, too. But I'd add LinkedIn to the mix. You can do some amazing networking and open doors to informational interviews that you didn't know were there. You might be very surprised to find out how many people you're already connected to who are potential allies in your job search. I'll be glad to talk with you for 30 minutes (gratis), if you'd like. Shoot me an email at and we can coordinate a mutually convenient time for a phone conversation. Whatever you decide, best of luck to you and happy hunting.
posted by careerdoctor at 4:02 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

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