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4 Things To Do Before a Career Coaching Session

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Career coaches help guide your job search by sharing industry knowledge and making sure you feel confident every step of the way.

But in order to make the most of those sessions, you need to know these key things.

What Is Career Coaching?

First up...what even is career coaching?

Career coaching is when a professional career coach and jobseeker/employee work together to help the jobseeker reach their goals. Career coaches can help you uncover what you’re interested in doing when it comes to your career and can provide resources to help you map out how to upskill or reskill depending on your goals, feel more confident in your career, and more.

Most often career coaches have formal work experience guiding people through their career journeys, like a recruiter or HR professional.

When it comes to selecting a career coach, it’s important to find someone who has experience and success in your chosen career path. Some coaches specialize in helping people set goals, which is helpful if you're unsure about your journey.

Is Career Coaching Worth It?

While it will be different for every person, career coaching can be perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Personalized career advice based on your past experience and future goals
  • Guidance on how your values and goals align with a new career path
  • Advice about upskilling in your current role
  • Resume editing and portfolio auditing
  • And more!

One of the most important things to remember is that career coaching is not about being interviewed for a role. Many people think that by working with a career coach you’re guaranteed a role, but career coaching sessions are an advice session for your career.

Some career coaches may have a networking aspect of their work that allows you to connect with people who may be hiring. But ultimately, they are there to help coach you on your journey, not provide a job.

If you’re on the fence about working with a career coach but still want to seek out an expert, consider reaching out to a mentor. A mentor is someone who has had a similar career path that you’d like and is open to sharing more about their story and providing advice based on their experience with you.

If you’re working with a mentor, you can prepare for your meetings the same way that you’d prepare for a career coaching session!

4 Things to Do Before a Career Coaching Session

Reflect on Your Experience and Consider Your Goals

When you’re going into a career coaching session, it’s valuable to reflect on your past work experience and what sort of goals you have for your future.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are your values when it comes to your work? 
  • How do your goals align with your values?
  • What do you want to do for a living and why?
  • How do you want your career to fit into your life?
  • What skills and experience do you have that can map to those goals?

If you have particular goals in mind, the career coaching session can be better geared towards what you’re trying to achieve, but if you are unsure what sort of role you want, never fear! Career coaches can help you discover a good career path by using your skills and understanding your preferences from past jobs.

Prepare Questions To Ask

So long as it has to do with your career, there really isn’t a limit to what questions you can ask. 

Since career coaches often have experience working as a recruiter or HR professional, they’ve often worked on hiring teams before which means they can share that expertise with you. You can check in on how a particular career may align with your values or the correct way to format a resume.

Remember to keep your questions limited to the time you have allotted for your session. If you’ve only got 15 minutes, it may not be the best time to try to uncover what your lifelong career goals are, but that’s a great amount of time to learn how to format a bullet point on your resume so that it highlights your accomplishments.

Have Your Resume at the Ready

You should always have your most current resume and contact information available to the career coach when you schedule the session. That will allow them to do their research so they can provide a more catered experience.

Your resume should include your contact information, work experience, any certificates or training that’s pertinent to your goals, and your technical/hard skills like software programs or coding languages you know. If you need help building your resume, check out this blog post.

You should also ensure that your LinkedIn and CareerCircle profiles are up to date with all certificates listed and verified.

Mentally Prepare for Feedback

In your career coaching session, you will likely get feedback about what you’re doing well as well as suggestions for what you can do differently. Hearing criticism, no matter how constructive and helpful it is, can be hard so mentally prepare yourself.

Remind yourself that career coaches are there to help you reach all of your goals and that often means doing things differently. If you didn’t need to change things up, you probably wouldn’t have reached out to a professional so be willing to hear and take on their advice.

Taking a bit of extra time to prepare for a career coaching session will make sure that you get the most out of it and can take the next step in your career confidently.

For more resources about job searching, check out our LinkedIn where we share daily job search tips!