A career coach can help you find a job faster and more efficiently. They can guide you in identifying target companies and roles. They can also support you in decreasing the anxiety associated with a job search and bolster your confidence as you make your next move.
However, finding a career coach online for your job search can also be stress-inducing. Further, partnering with a career coach is a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Therefore, you want to be strategic and intentional when hiring an expert to support your job search.
Where do you find a career coach online to support your job search goals? How do you evaluate potential online career coaching services? What questions should you ask to assess prospective career coaches?
1. Turn to top career industry associations.
You can start to narrow your search for a career coach by beginning with those who belong to top career industry associations. Active membership in top coaching and resume writing organizations demonstrates one’s commitment to their profession. Additionally, involvement in these organizations enables coaches to stay on top of the latest job search best practices and careers trends. Stay skeptical of career coaches who fail to get involved in industry associations.
I believe deeply in professional development and am actively involved in more than a half-dozen professional associations. These include, but are not limited to, the invitation-only Forbes Coaches Council, the National Résumé Writers’ Association, and the Gay Coaches Alliance, to name just a few.
2. Look for quality career certifications.
Since anyone can claim they are a career coach, you can further narrow your search by choosing a coach with multiple certifications. Given my specialty in career direction and job search, I chose to pursue double certification through The Myers-Briggs Company. I am Strong Interest Inventory® certified and an MBTI® Practitioner.
Furthermore, given my background in health education and behavior change, I am also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. The CHES credential indicates my competency and knowledge in the field as it requires extensive annual continuing education to maintain and renew.
3. Analyze the coach’s thought leadership.
Once you find a few coaches who align with your job search needs, be sure to review their thought leadership and online marketing. Moreover, analyze the type of audience the career coach targets. If you are a senior manager or executive looking for career coaching or executive coaching services, for instance, you will likely want to avoid the generic career advice found on TikTok and similar social media platforms known for viral marketing. While TikTok career advice may work for newer professionals, it is rarely applicable to more experienced managers and executives.
Building upon this, be cautious of LinkedIn career ‘influencers’ who have amassed massive followings on the platform yet fail to diversify their marketing. I was personally named a LinkedIn Top Voice, the platform’s highest honor, but, I also share my insights far beyond the platform. I speak on major stages, my words appear in top publications like Forbes and The New York Times, and I regularly mentor fellow career coaches.
Questions to ask a career coach:
Finally, feel free to ask questions of any prospective career coach before hiring them. While I share additional queries and insights in this Forbes article, here are a few questions to consider when looking for a career coach:
- What career coaching certifications do you possess?
- What national and global publications have you appeared in?
- What stages have you spoken on?
- What types of clients do you work with?
- What types of clients do you NOT work with?
- Where can I find testimonials from former clients?
Important: Take the time to review testimonials from former one-one-one clients who have worked with the coach in the past. As I share in this Forbes article, many career coaches will deceptively market testimonials from job seekers who participated in a free webinar or course. This is why I prefer to collect all of my client reviews on LinkedIn, because I want to enable prospective clients to click through and confirm each reviewer’s legitimacy. Moreover, with a little digging, you can repeatedly find proof that my clients successfully landed jobs at Meta and other top tech companies.
Also, if you are unsure about how much to invest in career coaching services, read this article I authored on the topic. Additionally, if you are looking to hire an executive resume writer specifically, read this article I authored for Forbes on four things to consider before hiring one. Number two is particularly important for executives!