What a Career Coach Can Do For You

perfectjob_12Coaching is a cutting edge method for professional self-improvement. For years, athletes have had coaches, actors have had coaches, singers have had coaches…and you, too, can have a coach, a trained career professional to support your career development. With a career coach, you can discover what it would take to work in your career of choice, advance in your current position, or manage your career in the best way.

Coaching is all about facilitating change and transformation. In today’s workplace, change is the norm, as well as the challenge we must conquer to be successful. A career coach will help you determine what it would take to make change your ally. Coaching is a process driven by you. You decide whether you want to be challenged and held accountable by your coach, or gently nudged and asked curious questions. You decide what it would take to create your action plan and then follow it. Successful coaching depends upon your commitment to the process. As in any activity, you will have to do the work; your coach can only light the path to help you find your way.

Coaching is a skill, a craft, an art…a way of life. The best coaches don’t turn it on and off. They live coaching in all aspects of their lives. More than something one does, a coach is one who is. It may sound a bit corny, but I believe coaching creates a third space where coach and coachee can learn, trust and grow in the truth of now and the hope of the future. Real-life goals get accomplished, if that is what you want to do.

What would it take for you to experience the joy of coaching? What would it take for you to hire a career coach and reap the rewards from having someone there just for you…to cheer you on to career success? No more need to dump your stuff on your partner or spouse. Your coach will take on that burden for you.

Most coaching is done by phone. You call the coach at a regularly scheduled time, usually weekly. Fieldwork assignments between sessions are usually offered by your coach to enhance your learning. Sounds simple? No, not really. It takes a lot of work – but you can do it!

Are you ready to take the plunge? Are you ready to try coaching to boost your career success? Then first find a career coach that is a good fit for you. Check out credentials, experience and recommendations of at least three coaches before choosing one. Three seems to be the magic number – if you interview too many coaches, it will become difficult to keep them all straight. While coach evaluation is important, don’t get hung up on finding the perfect coach. There is no such individual. Learn to trust your gut or intuition a bit. All in all, most coaches are sincere, so the “fit” is probably the most important criteria for you. If a coach is experienced, they will also be looking for the right “fit” with a coachee. Who do you feel is the best fit for you? Whom can you trust?

Finally, remember the old saying, “No pain, no gain.” The coaching journey can become tedious as well as uplifting. It can become painful as well as rewarding. Whatever you do, stick with it! Discuss any doubts you have with your coach. Change won’t happen unless you really want it and do everything you can to make it happen. Just do it! You’ll be so glad you did.

New Grads: How to Do a Smart Job Search

An Open Letter to My Stepdaughter

Dear Kate,

You've worked hard the past four years. A lot has changed – around you, for you, and most of all, YOU! Now you're facing one of the biggest changes of your life – landing your first job in your new career. While theCollege student economy has been brutal as you studied and played during your college years, signs are pointing toward an improvement for new graduates. But don't let this influence your need for a smart, focused job search! You still have stiff competition.

Now that we've created your career marketing materials, what are you going to do with them? It would be so easy to sit in front of your computer just scanning job boards, copying and pasting your resume into on-line boxes, or attaching it to emails and sending it to HR professionals. However, a smart job search is doing so much more! You don't want to get lost amid the crowds of recent grads applying in your field. That can easily happen if all you do is use the job boards to seek out job leads.

Instead, build your career network. Who do you know who can put you in touch with someone who can introduce you to a contact wanting to hire a new grad in your field? You see, networking is not easy. In fact, remember your most difficult college course – calculus? The energy and effort you mustered to pass that course you now need again to build your job search network.

You've already made a good start by creating your LinkedIn profile. But LinkedIn isn't a "Field of Dreams;" you must "work" it or "lose" it. Connect to professional groups in your career field, as well as professional local groups that hold "meet-ups." Then spend at least an hour per day answering and asking questions in those groups to put a spotlight on your expertise and how you build relationships.

Let everyone in your life you know what kind of job you're seeking. Job leads come from the least expected sources. Stay social, on-line and in person.

When preparing for job interviews, role play tough interview questions with a friend. Watch your face in a mirror as you speak your answers out loud. What will an interviewer see? Anything you need to correct in your mannerisms? We discussed how to dress, but just remember to dress for the job. A watch and small earring studs are OK, but no other jewelry. Light make-up and lip gloss are OK, but no heavy eyeliner. Thank goodness you have no tattoos to hide!

Since you enjoy using MS Excel, create your job search tracking record with that program. Perfectjob_12You'll want to track job leads, what you do with them, when you need to follow-up, and then repeat this for job interviews. If you submit a resume, it IS all right to call the employer in a couple weeks if you don't hear back right away. During a job search, you must be proactive and keep moving forward! Don't let rejections get you down. A job search is a numbers game of averages – the more "no's" you get, the closer you'll be to your "yes!"

As you work through the job search process, know that I'm hear for you. Email or call with your questions, and I'll guide you down the right path. While you will have to maintain your self-motivation, I won't be shy in giving you a push when you need it.

Most of all, know that you are unique. You have a great education and preparation for the job you want. You deserve it. Go get it! I am confident you will be successful!

Wishing you career success in 2012!

Meg

2011 Employment Trends Supercharged with Twitter

One thing I always advise my career coaching clients:

"Don't assume a hiring authority will understand your company-speak. Use generic words to spell out your skills and experience. On your resume and in your job interview, demonstrate your job hisory with terms that are easily translated into how you can meet an employer's needs."

Even though I espouse "don't assume" in my professional career coaching advice, I sometimes catch myself doing just what I advise against. Let me explain.

Active on Twitter for two years, I tend to assume everyone else knows all about Twitter and its far-reaching capabilities. Wrong! Some career coaching clients have never heard of it, and many don't see its value in helping them with their careers. Last year "The Twitter Job Search Guide" by Susan Britton Whitcomb et al was published. It offers to help you "find a job and advance your career in just 15 minutes a day." If you don't have this book, get it! You won't be sorry! (A few of my tweets even made it into the final draft!)

My 2011 career coaching prediction:

***Twitter will become one of 2011's most-used job search tools – online or off.***

Not only can you find tweets that offer a wide-range of information on job search strategies from careersTwitter1gif  experts, it has many users who post quality job openings in a wide range of fields. Recruiters tweet, as do career coaches and consultants, job board owners, and job seekers themselves. The key to Twitter success for a career changer or job seeker entering this new online world is to quickly determine the best "experts" to follow. Then, create specialized lists for each group of experts that you can easily track. And when you start to post your own tweets (which I know you will want to do – it's contagious!), make sure you act as a true professional to keep all that digital dirt at bay.

I spent this morning reviewing my December 2010 tweets with the intention of sharing some predicted 2011 trends with you. But I've come to the conclusion that the real story here isn't the list of employment trends below, but the online technology that enables me to quickly produce this list! (Follow me on Twitter @KCCareerCoach.)

Here are 15+ of my tweeted career-related trends moving into 2011:Happy.new.year

1) 84% of working individuals plan to find a new job in 2011. http://bit.ly/gjKo8l
1a) Almost half of British workers are fed up in their jobs. http://bit.ly/ejIgwa

2) Companies may lose top talent as economy recovers. http://bit.ly/gMVsNi

3) 86% of Recruiters Use Social Media. http://bit.ly/9l2BhC

4) One third of U.S. workforce now composed of non-traditional contract workers. http://bit.ly/eMomtr

5) Baby boomers drive change to career services. http://bit.ly/h60bGf

6) Why U.S. companies are reluctant to start hiring. http://bit.ly/dXycOs

7) Survey results: Of workers laid off earlier in 2010 & found new jobs, 61% took pay cuts. http://bit.ly/e06Opt

8) Prediction & hot IT jobs: "In 2011 expect (digital resumes) to become standard for hiring short or long-term employees" http://bit.ly/hnxAB9

9) Companies hire detectives to check out employees playing "hooky." http://yhoo.it/gaSiPz

10) Digital Dirt continues to strike! "Happy about getting laid off? Don't tell Facebook" http://on.msnbc.com/f3X9lx

11) 72% Americans expect to work through retirement, 39% because they have to & 33% because they want to. http://bit.ly/ictjAS

12) Detailed 2011 professional trends report: "Robert Half Professional Employment Report" http://bit.ly/ff2PFh

13) Rising unemployment among less-educated U.S. men part of longer-term trend. http://bit.ly/fmBLW3

14) Fewer people insured by employers. http://on.today.com/dFoHFI

15) Employers Won't Hire The Jobless Because Of The "Desperate Vibe." http://huff.to/e7Fl8t

What you do with this employment and career information is up to you. Please just keep in mind that it is all based on generalities. You are a very unique individual. As such, you have the power to defy all odds when you work from a carefully constructed career plan. Just take the first step and make that plan!

Wishing you ultimate career success in 2011!

Meg

Career-Collective-original-small SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective  as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Things job seekers should keep an eye on in 2011 (trends/tools/hiring practices). You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!

Social Media Recruiting to Grow Further in 2011, @debrawheatman

Another Year, Another Job Search Begins, @GayleHoward

In 2011, Increase Your Prospects With Better Differentiation, @WalterAkana

4 Lessons Learned From Job Search in 2010, @Careersherpa

Your Career Action Plan for the New Year, @KatCareerGal

Trends Job Seekers Should Look For in 2011, @erinkennedycprw

Things Every Job Seeker Should be Thinking About in 2011, @expatcoachmegan

Let your presence be known or send out a red flag, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

How to find a job in 2011: Pay attention to emotional intelligence, @Keppie_Careers

2011 Employment Trends Supercharged with Twitter, @KCCareerCoach

3 Traits for Facing Weather, Employment and Chronic Illness, @WorkWithIllness

Everything old is new again @DawnBugni

Career Trend 2011: Accountability + Possibility = Sustainability, @ValueIntoWords

Career Tools to Check Out in 2011, @barbarasafani

What Was in 2010, What To Expect in 2011, @chandlee

The Future of Job Search: 3 Predictions and 2 Wishes, @JobHuntOrg