“How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone”
From “Like a Rolling Stone”, by Bob Dylan
For the job seeker:
One of the major issues that faces many job seekers surrounds the sense of isolation that you may be feeling as you embark on and proceed through your job search. Many people struggle with these feelings after working in a corporate environment where friendships have developed, ideas are shared, and relationships are formed. Suddenly you find yourself on your own, wondering if what you are doing is working – as you are often greeted with silence and delays from your contacts and your target companies.
Being out of work is arguably one of the most difficult, depressing and deflating experiences anyone goes through. But know that you have friends, family, and even people you haven’t met yet out there just waiting to help you.
A key success factor for many job seekers is having a support system of people. Often your family and close friends strive to help without having the perspective of being “in transition” themselves. Job search support groups exist to help job seekers help each other – there is strength in numbers. Many of these support groups follow a loose but effective structure, with elements like brief introductions, what each person is looking for, updating the group on activities, setting small goals for the coming week, and brainstorming ideas for networking, interviews, and the like with each other.
While job search support groups can certainly help with that feeling of isolation and the doubts that creep in naturally, many job seekers also choose to work with a career coach. Working with a career coach can, in effect, provide you a partner to help guide you through a very foreign process, encourage you, hold you accountable, and, most of all, serve as an additional support system for you to brainstorm ideas and options, and from whom you can hear different perspectives.
For everyone else:
OR – you may be fully employed, or “under-employed”. Either way, you’re wondering what’s next. How well does your career keep you engaged? Will you be content doing what you are doing, for the foreseeable future? How will you advance? Do you stay at the same organization or look for other options?
What is Career Coaching?
As the name “career coach” implies, your career coach serves as your job search “coach.” And, put simply, a coach exists to help a person – athlete or job seeker – focus on that person’s goals. In fact, one of the most concise and eloquent definitions of a coach comes from Master Coach Cathy Liska: “A coach helps empower you to become more, or achieve more, than you could on your own.”
You may have worked with a career counselor before, perhaps with a college placement office or service. These are experienced people who may have helped you assess college major or career options, acting as a mentor in writing your resume or prepare for an interview.
I think of career coaching as an evolution of career counseling. An effective career coach helps you uncover or rediscover yourself, understand yourself more deeply often with new insights and perspectives involving areas life:
- Your innate character traits (that you may not even be aware of!),
- Attributes you demonstrate in the workplace
- Your areas of strength,
- Your skills, and
- Your value to prospective employers and clients.
A career coach will also help you set objectives for the process. These will likely include
things such as:
- Understanding your core strengths, skills (transferable skills and more specific knowledge or domain skills), and value to prospective employers
- Determining your target career options (for those exploring or interested in shifting careers),
- Clearly articulating your key value and message (your “personal brand”),
- Representing your “brand” in various forms (targeted resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, and other social media as well as verbal networking),
- Developing and executing an effective targeting and networking strategy toward your target career(s), and
- Interview preparation, debrief and employment negotiations.
In short, a career coach engages with you to help you personally develop and apply specific disciplines and principles that have proven effective and successful in both career search and career development or advancement.