What Does A Career Coach Really Do?

by | Career Growth, Finding A Job

What does a career coach do, how can they help you with your job search and career development, and what’s the purpose of hiring one in the first place? These are common questions I hear from those looking for a new job.

While every practitioner is unique in their approach, service offerings, and pricing structure, here are six ways a coach can support you in your job search and career:

1. Clarify Your Next Career Move

One of the most common, and initial, reasons people seek out a career coach is they are uncertain about what they want to do for a living. Many of the people who reach out to me, for instance, know they want to break into the tech industry yet aren’t sure how to translate their 10 to 20 years of experience into a new company and role.

This is where a coach comes into play. A career expert can provide support and guidance in not only identifying your target industry but also uncovering the specific companies and roles that align with your experience, background, knowledge, skills, and passion.

Each practitioner is distinct in how they help clients get unstuck. Personally speaking, I combine my industry know-how, powerful coaching questions, and the latest leadership and career assessments (including the Strong Interest Inventory® assessment and CliftonStrengths) to support you through the process of clarifying your next career move, then developing a plan to turn that strategy into action.

[Read: Career Assessments: 6 Reasons To Take Them]

2. Identify Your Unique Value Proposition

But choosing your career path is just the first step. Another reason people invest in a career professional is to clarify what sets them apart from the competition so they can stand out in the saturated job market. Identifying your secret sauce can be tricky, especially if the job search has deflated your self-confidence. You can partner with your coach to pinpoint and communicate your unique value proposition, as well as rebuild your confidence, so you can be a more confident job seeker.

I like to call this “owning your fabulousness”. I believe every single human (that includes you!) is truly fabulous, and the world deserves to experience fabulousness. As a career coach, my role is to support you in identifying, owning, and shining your unique light. This helps fight off imposter syndrome and increase your confidence.

3. Craft Powerful Career Documents

One way to share your fabulousness is through your career documents. An experienced career coach can support you in developing a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile that not only communicate your fabulousness but also increase your chances of landing an interview.

While few people enjoy writing their resumes or updating their LinkedIn profiles, I try to make the process as fun as humanly possible. I do this using a bespoke “co-creation” process that involves deep-dive coaching sessions and “homework” between meetings. Clients find that what sets me apart from other professional resume writers and coaches is how deeply I get to know them as I help them better understand themselves, their career stories, and their fabulousness.

4. Develop A Modern Job Search Strategy

While important, developing a well-crafted resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile aren’t enough to land a job in today’s labor market. You also need to put your career documents to work. A coach can support you in developing a comprehensive strategy to find your next role.

Importantly, a job search strategy should not be one-size-fits-all. Instead, it needs to be customized to your unique situation and needs, taking into account the “hidden job market”, as well as the fact that a majority of jobs are landed by way of networking.

5. Learn To Interview & Negotiate Your Salary With Confidence

Once you begin landing interviews, you can then work with your coach to ensure you are adequately prepared. A coach can get you ready for each stage of the interview process, as the initial recruiter interview will be distinct from subsequent interviews with the hiring manager, executive peers, and direct reports.

You can partner with your coach to strategize answers to common job interview questions, in addition to learning the latest strategies to answer behavioral interview questions, which are especially common among tech and tech-adjacent companies.

Then, once you receive an offer, a coach can support you in negotiating not only your base salary but also your total compensation package. Notably, negotiating your salary can be intimidating, especially if you receive an offer after an arduous job search. A coach can equip you with the research and strategies you need to enter the negotiation process with confidence.

6. Hit The Ground Running In Your New Job

Lastly, select coaches offer continued support, typically marketed as executive coaching, as you start your new job. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression, so you want to ensure it’s a powerful one.

A coach can guide you in building and deploying a 30-60-90-day onboarding plan. They can also serve as a trusted confidant if you are entering a new industry or transitioning into your first leadership role and could use an outside perspective.

How To Find The Best Career Coach For Your Needs

Now that you know what a career coach does and how they can support you, how do you find one that meets your unique job search and career needs? What questions should you ask to vet prospective coaches? The following are a few additional articles I have authored to answer these questions and support you in finding the best coach for your needs. You’ve got this!

How To Find A Career Coach Online

How To Vet Career Coach and Professional Resume Writer Lists (And The Coaches Themselves)

Three Questions To Ask When Looking For A Career Coach

How To Choose The Best Career Coach

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).



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