Over the course of job searching, my confidence has gone through many ebbs and flows.
Some days I feel super confident, like when I felt good enough to turn down an offer. Other days I feel like the only thing I’m qualified to get paid for is donating my plasma.
In either case, my feelings are volatile and highly subjective. In hopes of anchoring my expectations to “reality”, I sought out an external sounding board: I hired a career coach.
I’ve hired a career coach in the past, to mediocre effect. My previous career coach didn’t have specific experience in tech and gave some generic resume advice, nothing I felt like I couldn’t get off of self-help articles I found online.
This round, though, I found a career coach with specific knowledge in tech recruiting and, let me tell you, the difference was like night and day. She gave me very targeted information about how to restructure my resume and LinkedIn for making a career change, which job boards are used for which section of the market, which recruiting firms and Meetups to target in my area, and what to ask and expect for compensation down to the company level which is a big f’ing deal and worth her advice for that point alone.
One major downside though is that career coaching is not cheap. I paid ~$200 for each session of coaching (about an hour each), though it also included some amount of prep time and follow up from my coaches. If they help me secure a job or avoid making a multi-thousand dollar mistake, though, the price seems incredibly worth it in comparison.
If ever I’m in this situation again in the future, or for others who might be, I would say career coaches are only worth it if they:
- have experience recruiting in your specific industry of interest,
- have knowledge of your regional job market,
- have reviews and testimonials which indicate they can give specific and actionable advice, and
- are of roughly the same generation / target demographic or otherwise have insight into career development for your cohort for things like, e.g. what can I expect for maternity?
Have you ever used a career coach? Did you feel it was worth the money?