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  • Writer's pictureBryce Barrows

Unlock Your Career Potential

A Comprehensive Guide to the Role of Career Coaches

Job Seeker: “Can you help me get a job, Mr. Recruiter?” Recruiter: “Sorry I can’t help you, and I am the wrong person you are asking to help.” Job Seeker: “But aren’t recruiters there to help me find a job?” Recruiter: Not exactly!”

This is the confusion I have encountered in my 25+ years as a Human Resource Professional and Recruiter.

I wanted to write this article for years but kept putting it off. I know many of my recruiter friends will probably thank me for this because I am sure they keep getting the same question repeatedly.

Ever since I opened my Recruitment Firm back in 2011, I kept getting the same question time and again.

Let me clarify the misconception. A recruiter or headhunter will not go out of their way to get you a job, and they don’t work for you. I want to ensure that I am helping people understand the right professional they should be contacting to help them get a job. But first, let me tell you what a recruiter does. There are mainly two types of recruiters. An Internal Recruiter and an External Recruiter (usually just called a Recruiter).

An Internal Recruiter is part of the Human Resource Department in an Organization (like Apple, Google or any other Company). Their sole role is to find suitable candidates for the Company’s open positions.

Having said that, they do many other things, including managing headcount, ensuring no nepotism, and being the controller of the yearly headcount for the Organization. Once again, these people have a duty to the Company to provide the best possible candidate for the Organization, which may not be you.

I have also worked as an Internal Recruiter in some of my previous companies where from time to time, I got requests from people asking me to get them a job there. Once again, if a recruiter is doing their job correctly, they always put the Organization first as they have been hired specifically for this task which means they will always go for the best possible candidate.

I consider it unfair when close friends, relatives, and even people we don’t know request Internal Recruiters to place them in a job in their Organization. First of all, this goes against every Company’s policy. In addition, it can get your recruiter friend in a lot of trouble and tarnish their reputation. If they follow the right processes and you have the skills, you sync with the Company’s values and position requirements, then and only then should you be considered for the position.

External Recruiter: This is where most people get confused. They will contact a recruiter and ask them to get them a job, and they might even get called by the recruiter to come and meet them. This is where a recruiter should clarify to the candidate that they are working for a specific company to fill in a position and just checking if you are the right candidate for the role. Some recruiters give a false impression that they are helping the candidate get a job and uselessly increase the candidate’s expectations.

So always remember that if a recruiter calls you in for an interview or just a quick talk, it is because they want either one of two things. Firstly, You might be a potential candidate for an open or multiple open positions, or secondly, they are just trying to build their resume / CV database.

Does this mean you got the job he is meeting you for? No, nothing of that sort. You need to understand once again the recruiter has been contracted/retained by a company to find suitable candidates if and when the time arises.

Having said this, always provide recruiters with your Resume if they are asking you for it, let them keep it in their database and if by luck they call you, then good for you.

However, In most cases, looking from experience, the Resume ends up in a Folder that is never looked at again. I don’t mean to sound negative in any way, and there are ways to keep your profile in a recruiter’s line of sight (which I will write about in another article) but don’t leave your job hunting in someone else’s hands.

I have seen job hunters say things like, I left my Resume with my recruiter friend, he will help me find a job, and they sit back and wait for months with no call.

Let me clarify; no one is on your side unless they are paid to do so. You are the best person to manage your job hunt and no one else. Yes, you can get help from multiple areas to improve your chances of getting a job but don’t leave it all in someone else’s hands.

Job hunting is like Investments. If you want good returns, manage your Investments. The same goes here as well. Your future job is an investment!


People looking for a job and need help Most people are not aware, but there is someone who can help ensure their chances of getting recruited increase dramatically, and they are not called Recruiters. These individuals are called Career Coaches.

But what exactly does a career coach do? In short, a career coach is like a personal trainer for your professional life. Just like a personal trainer helps you reach your fitness goals, a career coach enables you to reach your career goals. But, instead of improving your health, he’ll be improving your Resume, Linkedin Profile, Personal Brand, Cover letter and much more. Your career coach is your wingman on your journey to professional success. They’ll help you navigate the treacherous waters of job searching and career development. And, just like a wingman, they’ll help you avoid the mistakes and pitfalls that can sink your Career.

“Hey, but aren’t Career Coaches, people who work with College and University Students guiding them in getting jobs? No, those are Career Counsellors.

One of the main benefits of working with a career coach is that they’ll help you figure out what you really want to do with your Career. Sure, you may think you want to be a CEO, but a career coach will help you figure out if that’s really the right path for you. They’ll work with you to assess your strengths, weaknesses, and interests and help you identify career options that fit you.

Again, there is a misconception concerning Career Coaches. Some people think Career Coaches only guide people to get jobs. But once again, that is further than the truth. Career Coaches are professionals who understand Job Markets and how they work. Most have been in HR roles and have interviewed to fill in hundreds of positions, giving them the ultimate tools to help you ace interviews as they have been on the other side of the table. They also know the type of assessment tools out there and how to get around those too.

They also have a thorough understanding of Career Progression and can help you climb the corporate ladder faster than if you did not have a Coach.

Career Coaches work before you get a job and also after you get a job. They are also called Pre and Post Job Coaching. Let’s take a look first at the Pre- Job help they can give you. Here are some Pre-job advice and services that Career Coaches deliver:


1. Job Search and Application Tips: Career Coaches will advise you on where to find jobs. Apart from conventional ways, they know where jobs are not listed. They will advise you on how to put your foot in the door, where positions don’t exist and how some places(especially startups) will make space for you if you know how to approach them. They will also guide you in saving time in the application process. They know the tricks to get your Resume to the top of the pile/listings and much more.

2. Resume / CV Writing Services: Career Coaches are experts in Resume and CV writing. They know how to market you and, most importantly, how the backend of most Company Recruitment Pages work. These sites use Applicant Tracking Software that screens Resumes, and career Coaches know how to beat the ATS systems. Most of these systems are now using AI software to screen out candidates. Career Coaches know how to make sure your Resume moves ahead to an internal recruiter, where the marketing aspect of your Resume then does its job.

3. Linkedin Preparation, Optimization and Use: Most recruitment is being done on Linkedin these days. Companies find this easier because they can judge candidates by their skills and check other soft skills and EQ levels. However, for your Linkedin profile to get in front of the maximum number of recruiters, it must be optimized. Career Coaches know how to optimize your Linkedin Profile so that you get a higher ranking in searches for your skillset. In addition, they will show you how to use Linkedin to Brand yourself and network in the right way to get the attention of recruiters.

4. Interview Preparations: Many job applicants never prepare for interviews, which is a huge mistake. Preparing and having an idea of the type of questions that could be asked is the expertise of a Career Coach, and they can tell you exactly what questions could be asked and the best responses to these questions. Getting an Interview is easy, but getting through them takes skill.

5. Job Offer Negotiations (Salary): Career Coaches have their finger on the pulse and know Salary Ranges in the market. They will give you tactics to negotiate your salary even if they are unaware of the salaries. Many job applicants do not negotiate a salary and regret starting at a lower wage once in the Organization.

6. Personal Branding: Companies will pick the best candidate for a position. HR / Line Managers usually shortlist candidates and see who to pick. They always prefer the strongest candidates. If you are anywhere in the world and want something to drink, you may not know what water is called in the local language but trust me, everyone would know Coke. That’s the power of a brand. A strong brand identity means a lot and is the reason why you buy a product. The same applies when selecting the right candidate. A person with a strong Personal Brand will always win over other candidates. The best example is C-Level and Board Member positions. These positions are never advertised. Instead, they are filled by people from the Industry with the strongest personal brands. As time progresses, even midmanagement and junior levels positions will be filled the same way, meaning you will need to build your brand. Career Coaches are experts in doing so.

Nowadays, if you want to grow quickly in your Career, it is vital to use a Career Coach. I know plenty of people who are frustrated and stuck in their jobs, and all they do is complain that they are going nowhere and doing nothing about it.

The clever ones are the ones who seek out Career Coaches. Here are the areas a Career Coach can help once you are in a job.

Post Job Services

  1. Probationary Services: When a candidate is hired in an Organization, they are placed on a 3 to 6-month Probationary Period. Career Coaches will help you get through the Probationary Period and fast-track your Career up the corporate ladder. Many young people are hiring Career Coaches for this service as they know they live in a dog-eat-dog world.

  2. Internal & External Branding Post Job: We live in a competitive world, and even in a job, you must be relevant. You must be out there to be on the radar of competitive companies, recruiters and more. That is how you increase the demand for your services and look like the Coke of your Industry. Career Coaches will help build your brand outside and within your Organization.

  3. Career Advancement Services: This service is for those complaining of being stuck in a rut. They are not climbing in their Orgaization any more. Career Coaches will evaluate why this is happening and find ways for you to get back on the right trajectory.

  4. Change in Career: Some people realize they hate their job having chosen the wrong field. Career Coaches help you find transferable skills and guide you into the right area for you.

  5. Project Management: It’s a race to the top, and you can’t get there without the proper guidance. Many young professionals hire Career Coaches at the beginning of their Careers to get them up the corporate ladder at the quickest pace possible. Career Coaches map out the ideal and fastest way to get there. Yes, not everyone will be the CEO of the Company, and the Career Coach will point this out, but they will also show you your roadmap and lead you to where you would be content.

These are just some of the Services that a Career Coach provide. In the world in which we are living, you must start using one sooner than later.

If you have any questions or comments related to the services of a Career Coach, please mention them in the comments area.

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