Thinking about a pivot? A career coach can help
When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, the assumption is that there is one path, one vocation that sums up their aspirations and strengths and leads to a fulfilling lifelong career. While the single career path may have been common for Baby Boomers, current generations of workers are living a very different career story — one with plenty of plot twists along the way. Job hopping and multi-life-stage career changes are simply the norm.
Despite how normalized job and career changes have become, it’s still a difficult path to navigate on our own. We’ve embraced personal trainers and financial advisors to help us realize our physical and financial goals, but what about enlisting the help of a professional to help us achieve our career goals? What guidance might a career coach provide as we sort out how our skills, experience, and values translate to actionable next steps? Now more than ever, hiring a career coach may be one of the best investments you can make in your professional life.
Three benefits of a career coach
They provide practical job search advice from resume to interview
According to Workopolis, 51 percent of Canadians stay in any one role for under two years and only 30 percent stay in any one role for more than four years. Based on current trends, Workopolis predicts that Canadian workers may end up holding approximately 15 jobs throughout their careers. That’s a lot of resumes, LinkedIn profile updates, and interviews!
Many people are quickly overwhelmed by the basic tasks associated with finding a new job. A career coach can help you write an effective resume relevant to the position you want. Networking and recruitment largely take place online, particularly through job posting sites and LinkedIn. It’s a relatively new landscape for some, and a career coach can help ease some of the anxiety and frustration with technology’s increasingly significant role in any job search.
A career coach can also put you through your paces in preparation for an interview, offering practical advice on what to wear, what to bring, and how to respond to common questions. Hands-on interview practice with an expert is invaluable — working with a career coach helps boost confidence and provides practical tools you can use to get you through the most challenging aspect of the hiring process.
They challenge you with unbiased feedback and personalized advice
Nearly 60 percent of Canadians who have switched careers cited either discovering a new field they were passionate about or that they had become bored/disillusioned with their previous work as the most common reasons for changing jobs.
While disillusionment and a desire to find a more fulfilling career are compelling reasons for switching careers, there is still the matter of working through all of the behavioural, emotional, and psychological issues inextricably tied to our career ambitions. It can be incredibly beneficial to enlist professional help to work through those issues so that you can move from rationalizing a job change to realizing a job change.
There are plenty of sources of general career advice online and in books, but the advantage of working with a career coach is that they dig deep to get to know you before prescribing a personalized plan with your specific goals in mind. Family and friends may be great sounding boards for your dreams and aspirations, but they won’t necessarily provide the feedback you need to hear rather than the feedback you want to hear. A career coach can supportively point out how you may be standing in your own way and hold you accountable for the changes you need to make.
They help you prioritize the time and energy required to make progress
People often say that searching for a new job is a full-time job. We get so caught up in the churn of daily life, that it’s difficult to set time aside to formulate a strategic, actionable plan to switch jobs or careers.
Hiring a career coach and scheduling counseling sessions forces you to devote an hour or two each week to devote yourself to the important tasks you need to complete to move your career forward. They’ll help guide you through the entire process and keep you motivated as you tackle your job search to-do list.
While our parents and grandparents may have coveted years-of-service milestones, current career trends point to a growing desire to achieve a variety of fulfilling and personally rewarding career experiences instead.
As our work-lives continue to be a huge part of how we define ourselves, it makes sense to nurture and invest in an active process of reflection and refinement as our careers evolve and shift over time. A career coach is someone who can provide valuable help along that journey.