Job Coach: The Secret to Landing An Amazing Job?

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Ever looked for a job and wondered what the heck is going on? Between applications, tests, interviews, phone chats, and now Zoom chats… it’s a lot to handle, especially if you’ve been working for a while and aren’t used to the job search madness. Companies hire recruiters, where in-house or external, to help them manage the process. For candidates, the equivalent is a job coach – someone to help you prepare your application and ace the interview (with answers to all the key interview questions).

But should you hire a job coach to help you navigate the job application and interview process? They aren’t always cheap, but they could be worth it.  

What does a job coach do? 

A job coach is kind of like a consultant, but explicitly for job seekers. They help you with every step in the process of finding a job, from identifying what opportunities you might like all the way to negotiating the salary. 

Depending on what kind of job coach you work with, they should be able to help you with any to all of the following: 

Identifying what kind of job is right for you based on your experience, skills, and career journey. If you’re trying to make a career pivot, they should be able to help you as well.

Researching jobs including finding remote or work from home jobs and in-office jobs.

Resume writing to tailor your resume for each specific job opportunity. 

Job applications to help you stand out once you hit “submit.”

Interview prep and feedback including mock interviews where you practice your key responses and rehearse asking your questions. 

Salary negotiation advice so you can feel comfortable about the offer. They should be able to tell you ranges for the job as well so you know if it’s fair or if you should push back. 

Making a good first impression after accepting the offer, including tips for your first day of work.

How much do job coaches cost?

Job coaches can be fairly cheap, but at the same time can run thousands of dollars. The usual factors that affect pricing will be how much experience the job coach has, their success rates, the positive feedback they got from past clients, and the level of job you are looking for. They may also charge more if you are totally fresh and new to job seeking versus someone with more experience, since if you don’t have any experience they will likely have to spend more time with you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind. 

If you decide to look for a job coach, there are usually two ways to work with them: 

  1. Hourly: This is good for live things like interview prep or ongoing conversations. 
  2. Productized”: This is when they sell you one price for one outcome, like a resume review or negotiation support. 

When you buy a “productized” service, you know what you’re paying – it’s one easy price. Hourly can be added on top if you need more support, but in general it’s better to start with a productized service to keep costs under control. If the job coach you’d like to work with only does hourly, then ask for estimates of how many hours each process will take – and hold them accountable. 

Job coach versus recruiter

Sometimes, recruiters will offer job coaching services to candidates they are hoping to place with a client. This is where the difference between job coach and recruiter gets a little blurry. The key thing to remember is that a recruiter is hired by a company to place a candidate. A job coach, on the other hand, is hired by a candidate to help them find the right job. 

When you work with a recruiter, any help they give you is to set you up for the roles they have available – that’s how they get paid. So they could be incredibly helpful, but may not be able to give you the truly right job for you. This is why you pay job coaches directly – they work for you, not a company looking to hire. 

Types of job coaches

There are three main kinds of job coaches you can look for: 

1 – In-house coaches

Yes, it’s true. Sometimes a company will hire an outside job coach to come in-house and help their people with career planning. This can be tricky, since in this case the company is paying for the coach – and may not want them to advise you about a career path away from the company. However, this can be a great way to get some basic (free!) career coaching. 

2 – 1-on-1 coaching

When you hire a coach yourself, you get them 1-on-1. They spend their energy directly with you to help you build a custom plan and get ready for any obstacles in your job search. This is also the most expensive kind of job coaching, since you get unfiltered attention. 

3 – 1-to-many coaching

Most often done digitally, this kind of job coaching is when you sign up for a job coach’s online course or work with them in a small group. You still get some personalization, such as different frameworks and workbooks, but are not getting full 1-on-1 attention. However, that is usually reflected in the price. On top of that, many digital job coaches, such as JT O’Donnell put out a lot of content for free, so you can get a lot of their insight without paying up front.

Finding the job of your dreams

The best job coaches can help you find a job you love. That’s really it. And when that happens, the costs of the coach are usually worth it. However, job coaches can’t – and won’t – do all the work for you. A coach is there to help you, offer advice, teach you things you don’t know, and hold you accountable, but you still have to do the work. You’ll need to learn the tips they share, practice them till they feel natural, and show up to every application and interview you get. There is no guarantee of success, even if you pay a coach to help you, but if you’re feeling lost in the job search and not getting anywhere, the investment could help you immensely.