Demystifying Career Coaching and Recruiting Roles

career coaching career happiness job search strategies recruiters resumes Jun 25, 2023
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Job searches are hard, amirite?

And figuring out who is the right person to help you in your job search is also hard AF.

Throughout my career, I’ve watched many of my friends, colleagues, and clients experience huge confusion about all the many people and roles that might help them on their journey to a great new job. Unfortunately, this confusion often leads to people leaning on the wrong type of expert for their situation,  which can result in a longer job search and a waste of time and money.

You need to find the right experts to match your goal and the stage of your career transition or search. In this article, I'm sharing a cheat sheet for four key roles you may encounter while looking so you can find the right one for you.

  • Career Coach
  • Resume Writer
  • Corporate Recruiter
  • Agency Recruiter

Career Coach 

A career coach helps you determine the right type of work for you and a path to get there. Career coaches focus on their client’s success, not the agenda of their client’s employers, friends, or family members.  

FAQs about Career Coaches

  • How can a career coach help me? A great career coach enables you to understand your purpose, strengths, and skills, figure out roles that align with those things, and develop job search strategies. Some career coaches focus purely on job searches. Others focus more on the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” part.
  • How do career coaches work with people? Career coaches work with clients in a variety of settings. Typical options include individual coaching, group coaching, live and digital classes, and online communities.
  • What else do I need to know about career coaches? Career coaching is *not* the same as therapy. Therapy typically involves looking back and processing the past so that you can move forward, while coaching is more centered on the future. 

To find the right career coach for you, look for someone who has expertise in the areas you need the most help with, whether that is figuring out the right job titles and work environment for you, or whether it’s planning and executing an effective search.  You should also seek out a coach you feel comfortable with - but not too comfortable. You want your coach to make you feel respected and heard, but you also want a coach that will point our your limiting beliefs and help you through them - also known as calling you on your own BS. It’s helpful if the coach has experience working with others in the domain and level (entry, mid-level, or management/executive) that you are targeting.

Resume Writer

A resume writer focuses specifically on writing and optimizing resumes. Many resume writers also craft cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Some resume writers also work as career coaches, and not all career coaches offer resume writing services. (I don’t. I teach people how to write their own resumes. You can check out my Resume Don’ts guide to learn more.

FAQs about Resume Writers

  • How can a resume writer help me? An excellent resume writer crafts a baseline resume that positions you well for your target role. They know current resume trends, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and how recruiters and hiring managers screen resumes.
  • How do resume writers work with people? A resume writer meets with you to discuss your skills, experience, and target companies and roles. Some resume writers will have you complete worksheets about your target role and background to help the process. Then they craft a resume and will edit it based on your feedback. 
  • What else do I need to know about resume writers? If a resume writer promises to create an “ATS Compliant” resume that will “always pass the ATS,” you need to RUN AWAY. Great resume writers understand how to improve your ability to make it through both system and human screenings, but every system is different, so nobody can promise they can always pass an ATS.  

You can get the most out of working with a resume writer by having clearly defined ideas about your ideal roles and target companies. You’ll get the most value out of a resume writer’s services when you can provide examples of jobs you’d like to target. Save 3-5 sample job posts (also called requisitions) and provide a short list of job titles you’d consider applying for. 

Unless your resume writer is specialized in your industry, you may know more about the types of jobs you are applying for than they do, so help them help you.

Corporate Recruiter

A corporate recruiter works for a specific company. They are responsible for sourcing and screening candidates, conducting initial interviews, and coordinating the overall hiring process for their assigned job postings. 

FAQs about Corporate Recruiters

  • How can a corporate recruiter help me? Corporate recruiters know about both the roles open in a company and the specific needs of individual teams. They also 
  • How do corporate recruiters work with candidates? Corporate recruiters will contact you for screening interviews and other interviews during the process. They might contact you in response to an application you submit, or as a result of finding your profile on LinkedIn or a similar professional networking platform. You will typically work with them via phone, email, text, or a combination.  
  • What else do I need to know about corporate recruiters? Most delays in hiring processes are NOT the fault of the corporate recruiter. Usually, delays are caused by busy or indecisive hiring managers and executives. Give your corporate recruiters some grace!

Additionally, consider following up with an unresponsive corporate recruiter within a couple of days of the date you were told to expect an update. The recruiters are often very busy and it’s easy for time to slip by without reaching back to all candidates. Always send a thank you email following your initial screener interview with them. 

Agency Recruiter

An agency recruiter is an outsourced recruiter. Agency recruiters typically work with multiple clients at the same time. They are typically paid when they source a candidate that their client hires.

FAQs about Agency Recruiters

  • How can an agency recruiter help me? Because agency recruiters work with multiple clients, they can potentially help you with several job opportunities. Agency recruiters often have close relationships with their clients and can help you prepare for interviews or tweak resumes specifically to suit hiring managers.
  • How do agency recruiters work with candidates? Agency recruiters typically focus on a small set of job opportunities at any one time. They will reach out to you when they think your skills and experience match a role they are sourcing. They will then serve as your point of contact throughout the hiring process.
  • What else do I need to know about agency recruiters? Although it’s prevalent for agency recruiters to talk about how they “coach candidates,” they are not the same as career coaches. The coaching they do is specific to presenting you in the best possible light for their open roles.

Just like with corporate recruiters, most delays you experience working with an agency recruiter are outside their control - especially once you’ve been submitted for a specific role with one of their clients. Giving your agency recruiter as much grace as possible is important - after all, they work with multiple companies and you want them in your corner when the next great role crosses their desk. Want to learn more about agency recruiters? Check out this deeper dive blog post right here

Who should you work with next?

Knowing who you need to work with saves time and money. It should be a big part of your job search strategy, and part of your process that could change each time you make a career move. Which type of job search professional do you need to work with next?

  • Contact a resume writer if: you are clear on what you want to do next and why you’re qualified, but struggling to showcase your awesomeness on paper. If you are budget-constrained, some resume writers and coaches have review services or even inexpensive online courses to help with this. 
  • If you’re just starting to look around but are unclear about market conditions: reach out to agency recruiters focused on your role and industry to see what’s out there.  Even if they don’t have an active role for you right now, they are typically open to meet great candidates and can share a lot about what hiring patterns they are seeing. 
  • If you’re ready to apply and know what types of companies you are interested in: start becoming besties with either corporate recruiters at your favorite companies or reaching out to agency recruiters in your target industry. 
  • If you don’t know what the hell you want next: Give serious thought to working with a career coach. The clarity you gain working with a coach can save you months of floundering in your job search or years working in the wrong role! 

Finding your next amazing job is not something you need to do alone. If you’re interested in a no-BS approach to finding the right role with a straightforward career coach, book an intro call with me. We’ll identify your needs and get to work.