November 25, 2011

How to Work with a Career Coach

Most colleges offer career counseling, and as a post-graduation adult, you can also find private coaches who will help you in the jobs department. I remember going into the student career counseling office in college, though – and it was a complete bust. I walked in and we just kind of stared at one another for an hour! The coach asked me some questions and gave me some suggestions, but because I wasn’t really focused at that point, it wasn’t very beneficial.

If you actually want a career coach to help you find a job, you need to be prepared. This is especially true if you’re paying to see a counselor; make sure you make the most of your money! Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Go to the meeting with some clear goals in mind.

What matters most to you right now? Are you focused on finding a new job? Are you interested in learning about career education options? Do you want to learn to like your current job more? Are you confused about the field you should be pursuing in the first place? When you have clear goals for your time with the career counselor, you can help guide the meeting a little so you answer some of the burning questions you’ve been having. If you already know that you want to become a truck driver, for example, it isn’t going to help if you take a bunch of “What’s the best career for me?” tests!

  • Bring a copy of your resume.

No matter how weak it may be, bring a copy of your resume along to the meeting with your career coach. He or she can review it to find out some of your strengths and weaknesses, and it also helps a new coach learn a little more about your past work history. This is also a great time to get some resume tips so you can strengthen this document. Most career coaches give great resume advice.

  • Research career counseling options well.

Student centers are one thing, but if you’re not a student any longer and are actually going to pay for career counseling, make sure you research a bunch of counselor options. Every coach has his/her own specialties, and working with someone who is strong in certain areas can help you reach your specific goals. Remember, virtual options are also a choice (and often less expensive), so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to get great career advice specific to your situation.

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