When I started learning about all the different service providers who help people with career issues, I was confused. I thought a career professional would do it all for me, but I learned each professional specializes in different parts of what I needed. And, many career experts have a preferred type of client, such as executive, or IT, or recent graduate, or Christian, etc.
Career Resumes provides resume writing services, but does not do career coaching, job search coaching, or career counseling. Let me give you an unofficial, incomprehensive view of what different service providers would offer. Understand that some services providers offer multiple services, while other service providers specialize in just one service:
Resume writers: professional resume writers should have some kind of formal training on current resume trends, resume best-practices, and especially resume gaffes. Before you engage a resume writer you should find out if they belong to any career associations, have any certifications, etc. It’s just too easy for someone to say they are a resume writer and have no training or credentials.
Career coaches: Career coaches will help you with your career issues. You can engage a career coach even if you aren’t actively in a job search. Those who are unhappily employed are great candidates for a career coach. Career coaches can help you with self-discovery to help you figure out who you are, what your specialties are, what kind of role would make you happy, etc. Career coaches sometimes specialize in personal branding. Some career coaches do life coaching, and some life coaches do career coaching.
Job search coaches: Job search coaches specialize in the nuts-and-bolts logistics of a job search. Not all career coaches like or specialize in job search coaching. The job search coach will meet on a regular (weekly) basis and coach you through the job search. It’s a critical role for any professional in a job search. A successful job search coach will work by job search principles (as opposed to the job search techniques I assumed would work, but didn’t), and hold you accountable. Those are two key issues when you work with a job search coach.
Career Counselors: Expect a career counselor to be a lot more on the “what do you want to be when you grow up” side. They should know about a lot of different tests and resources and I’m guessing they drill down on your personality a lot more than a career coach would, but they aren’t necessarily going to do career or job search coaching.
You don’t necessarily have to pay for a professional to help with any of these things. If you go to a job search networking group you might find someone there who could be your job search coach. There are pros and cons to doing that, of course. If you are in the higher income bracket, you probably can’t afford to NOT pay for professional help.
Next up, we’ll talk about something I was not offered when I got laid-off: outplacement services.