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Can a Career Coach Help You Land the Job of Your Dreams?

Two factors have made job searches and career planning more complex. First, many talented professionals have lost their jobs during the recession which has intensified competition among job applicants. In addition, the convergence of technologies and service offerings has blurred the lines among traditionally distinct industries. As a result, there is a wider range of employers who have a need for your skills set, but you may not even be aware of these companies. 

Whether you are looking to break into the cable and media industry or you are already an industry veteran, engaging a career coach may prove beneficial. A career coach is a trained professional that can guide you through the complexities of conducting a job search as well as develop a lifelong career strategy. Career coaches provide great insight into the workplace as many of them have HR or top-level management backgrounds.

So how can a career coach help you? A successful career coach will start by reviewing your work experience, identifying your strengths and asking a lot of targeted questions to help you identify your immediate and long-term career goals. This step in the process will help guide the development of a career strategy that is carefully aligned with your goals.

Once a clear vision for your career path is determined, your coach will help you market yourself to fuel your progress. A coach is likely to start with revamping your resume. She can identify the key words sought by the employers you want to reach, streamline the format of your resume to enhance readability and describe your education, experience, expertise and enthusiasm (the 4 Es) in a manner that best exemplifies all you have to offer.

Once you have a killer resume, the job coach will work with you to ensure it gets seen by the eyeballs that matter. Your coach will develop a focused resume distribution strategy that includes leveraging your existing industry contacts, face-to-face networking and targeted use of social media sites and job boards. One major advantage to using a career coach is she can streamline efforts to reduce unfruitful activity and ensure you continue to proceed as efficiently and effectively as possible.

In addition, a coach will work with you to advance your interviewing skills. Expect a lot of role playing to help you formulate answers for challenging interview questions and to succinctly articulate your talents and abilities in a manner that exudes confidence.

It's important to note that a career coach is not for everyone. Many people are well equipped to successfully chart their career strategy and land a job solo. Others simply cannot afford a coach. Unless you received a severance package that includes the services of a career coach, you should expect to pay a fee of at least $100 or more an hour out of your own pocket.

If you decide a career coach is the right choice for you, you'll want to seek out the most qualified individual to help you achieve your goals. Focus on finding someone with experience and proven results by asking colleagues for recommendations. Another tip is to seek out career coaches who have earned a certification from an independent organization in their field of expertise.

Once you have a list of potential coaches, spend some time talking with them to discern their approach and assess with whom you feel most comfortable talking openly and honestly about your career. Before you make a decision, ask for and contact their references and consider conducting a background check. Remember you are making an important investment in your future when you place your career strategy in a coach's hands-so choose wisely!

CTHRA is the premier human capital resource for the industry and a growing nonprofit organization with more than 1,500 members spanning 100 companies. Best known for its employer surveys which establish industry-specific benchmarks on key metrics such as compensation, employee benefits, human capital ROI and other performance indicators, CTHRA provides numerous opportunities for HR practitioners to learn, network and share solutions. For more information, visit