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Build Your Career Get Ahead

Should You Hire a Career Coach?

Should You Hire a Career Coach?
Credit: tobkatrina/Shutterstock

Are you feeling unfulfilled in your current role? Have you applied to multiple jobs without success? Are you wondering if you are on the right career path? Do you want to switch industries altogether?

If you said "yes" to any of these scenarios, you might want to hire a career coach to help.

Career coaches are experts in skills such as career planning, resume building, negotiation and interviewing. While you may only search for a new gig or switch careers a handful times in your life, these professionals are up-to-date with current hiring practices because they're constantly working to help job seekers.

Business News Daily asked career experts to share everything you should know about career coaches, and when you should consider hiring one.

At the most basic level, a career coach is like having a brand awareness team, said Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite.

"These professionals understand how to pinpoint the best aspects of your professional experience and market it in the most attractive way possible to potential employers," said Bitte. "They're well-versed in crafting resumes, career planning, motivation techniques and, most importantly, network building."

Vicki Salemi, a Monster career expert, said career coaches are usually certified, or formerly worked in recruiting and/or human resources.

"They can help you with a variety of tasks," she said. "For example, with my clients, we look at long-term dream careers, what they currently do and how their next job can lead them closer to their dream job."

Coaches also ensure accountability to keep the job seeker on track and moving toward their next role, Salemi added.   

Many people assume a career coach is only beneficial after you've submitted dozens of applications and are in desperate need of a job. While this would be a great time to find a coach, these individuals can help with many other career crossroads.

"Whether you're just starting out and unsure which path to take, hoping to chase a new passion, or you're ready to move to the next level, getting an outside perspective from a professional can be extremely helpful," said Bitte.

Salemi suggests hiring a career coach before you really need one.

"If you're thinking about leaving your job, but aren't sure, you may want to hire a career coach," she said. "It's important to be proactive. Don't wait until it feels like you absolutely detest your job and can't stand going into the office."

Salemi also noted that career coaches don't all provide the same thing. Some coaches can help with a big interview, while others specialize in negotiation and can help with discussing salary and benefits.

The best way to find a career coach is through word of mouth and referrals from friends, but you can also find great coaches online and through LinkedIn.

"A career coach is not always easy to find," said Bitte. "A referral would be [best] … but that's not always an option. So, you'll need to do some homework and dig through Google and social media to identify someone you can trust with your professional wellbeing."

Lauren McAdams, career adviser and hiring manager at Resume Companion, said it's a major red flag if a career coach asks for a large upfront fee. 

"Always pay by the hour for a career consultant's time; this ensures that you aren't locked into a potentially underwhelming service long-term and protects you from by a fly-by-night operation," said McAdams.

While a career coach is beneficial to anyone looking for career help, some people may not be able to afford a coach. If you can't, you can become your own with a little discipline and direction.

"By applying some simple tactics such as taking stock of where you [are], seeking feedback from a group of confidantes and holding yourself accountable – you can figure out your goals and lay out your own roadmap to make them happen," said Bitte.

Saige Driver

Saige Driver graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. She started her career at a radio station in Indiana, and is currently the social media strategist at Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.