Have you ever considered the reasons why you need a career coach? Amazingly, 76% of people think mentors are important, but only 37% have one, according to Forbes Magazine. If so many people understand the importance of experienced individuals guiding their career choices, why aren’t more seeking out mentorships?
With over 30 years of human resources experience in a variety of industries, I have developed a list of reasons why it is essential that you have a career coach. In my view, having a mentor is necessary to being fully equipped for success in your job search. Read the following to find out why:
1. You need someone skilled to help form and guide your job search.
Career coaches have been trained to help you evaluate options that best fit your credentials and goals. While you may have looked for a job a dozen times in your career, they may have helped hundreds, even thousands. It’s important to have someone skilled give you their insight into your desired profession.
2. You need someone objective.
You may have clear ideas about the job or industry you want to pursue and how. Or, you may be in a fog about how to go forward. Your career coach will use their expertise to help you plan for the right job. A good career coach is emotionally invested in you, but not necessarily your opinions. That leaves them free to give you the best input, only because they want to see you succeed.
3. Having a career coach gives us a hedge against making the easy choice.
As human beings, we have an almost irresistible need to be right, to do what we want to do, to make the comfortable decision. This reason is closely related to #2 but more pointed. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Underscoring this, verse 7 says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” This confronts me and challenges the core of who I am: the often unconscious need to believe I’m right, that the way I’m going is the best way. A person whose reason for being there is to help us make the best choices – even when they require the most work or make us confront things we don’t want to.
4. You could have dated or incorrect knowledge about job search.
Maybe it’s been a while since you looked for a job. Or you may have noticed that a lot of things seem to be changing: the company you worked for five years ago may be vastly different after that merger. What worked well two years ago or even last year may be just plain ineffective now. A career coach helps you ensure you are aware of current job market and workplace trends, what industries are hiring, and which skills employers are most interested in. And even if you are on target, it’s a big plus to have your approach confirmed, right?
5. A career coach helps you recover from detours or potholes in the road toward your goals.
There’s a very good chance that your first interview won’t result in an offer. You may submit your application a number of times before you get a call. You may bomb some interviews, at least in your opinion. Your career coach stays focused not only on the end zone but how you’re doing throughout the game. They can help you re-prioritize if a strategy isn’t working, or affirm you’re on the right track and encourage you to keep at it. They can give you feedback on the strategies that don’t seem to be working and help you tweak them. But most importantly, they’ll help ensure you stay in the game and not let a disappointment get you off track.
6. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Prov 27:17).
The man God said was the wisest who ever lived gave this advice. I don’t believe any of us can ever get so talented or knowledgeable that we aren’t more effective when we seek the counsel of others. Seeking counsel from a career coach should be a habit we cultivate throughout our careers. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to make every effort to ensure the person giving you counsel is a Christian, a Christ-follower. Because while we’re seeking the right job, nothing is more fulfilling than following the path God has chosen for us and doing so in ways that honor and glorify Him. And while we’re at it, notice it says, “iron sharpens iron.” So be prepared for God to use you to help others!
I think the Bible makes clear that God expects us to depend on Him. But it’s equally clear He gives us resources that He expects us to fully use. Career coaches are one of the greatest tools you can use in your job search, so don’t hesitate to reach out to one!
Author: Terri Alexander
Terri is a native Houstonian, a graduate of the University of Houston. Her long career in human resources includes leadership positions at Frito-Lay in Dallas, San Antonio and Atlanta, tech start-up Compaq Computers, and Hewlett Packard until her retirement in 2007. Since retirement, Terri has volunteered with the Star of Hope Mission at the Women and Children’s Emergency Center, WorkFaith, and at her current church, Second Baptist Cypress Campus. She also serves as a member of the board of directors at the Mission of Yahweh, a faith-based shelter for women and children in Houston. She is a Dallas Cowboys fan – no matter what kind of season they’re having – and an avid reader of murder mysteries.