Steve Frederick has a unique perspective on hiring; as an executive career coach for Lucrative Careers, he helps people find the jobs that better fit their lives, one client at a time. He discussed hiring and careers with us in this interview.
What’s the role of a career coach?
First, helping clients to find their way in a rapidly-changing job market. He or she helps the client to get in touch with what they want to do, to find where they can do it and to get the satisfaction and the money they need.
Second, assisting the client in marketing him or herself. Many people have been busy working, and they haven’t had to articulate what it is that they do. But unless they do that well, both verbally and on paper, their chances of getting hired drop precipitously. I once spent a whole hour with an engineer to get just one one-minute story about an accomplishment into plain English.
Third, provides training in how to network effectively: How do I get in to see the people I need to talk to; what do I say while I’m there; and how do I get them to refer me to others?
Fourth, helping clients to use their time effectively. The longer the search goes on, the more expensive it is in dollars, energy expended and negative impact on self-esteem. One woman, for example, had been out of work for a year, despite being very accomplished and personable. She also had been “networking” like crazy. She was keeping Starbucks profitable with all the coffees she had scheduled. We found, though, that she was just randomly talking to people she met at job search groups. In the year that she had been out of work, she hadn’t talked to anyone in her industry.
Fifth, support to help clients keep going when things get tough. It’s a very difficult process that can be brutal on people’s self-esteem. Many times, people get discouraged; some want to give up.
Sixth, accountability to keep the process moving. It’s easy to be “busy” without getting the important things done.
Seventh, salary negotiation help to ensure that clients get paid well.
Eighth, guidance to get off to a good start in the new job.
Ninth, advice in office politics.
Who should get a career coach? Is it for those new to the workforce? Getting back into it?
Many people do fine without a career coach. On the other hand, many people benefit mightily. This includes people who:
- Are new to the workforce; most colleges teach next to nothing about how to actually get hired.
- Want to do something different, but don’t know what it is.
- Know what they want to do, but aren’t sure how to get there.
- Are in transition and frustrated that they’re not getting traction.
- Haven’t had to look for a job in some time.
- Are afraid they’ll lose their jobs.
How can career coaching help find and keep a job?
Finding a job: by giving them the tools they need to communicate about themselves effectively and the techniques they need to get in to see the people who can help/hire them. Many people spin their wheels in job search. Here’s just a few things they do: have boring marketing materials that don’t communicate their value, go around asking people if they know of any openings, talk about themselves in clichés, and not use their network to get beyond the people they already know.
Oftentimes, we’ve been able to delay or prevent firing. Just one way we do this is helping clients to:
Have conversations that repair damaged relationships with the boss. After testing the waters to see if this is a safe conversation, simply putting the cards on the table, saying, “This isn’t working. Can I have some time to look for another job? I’ll make sure I get everything done well, but wonder if I might have a flexible schedule to allow me to explore for other opportunities.”
What do you see as the future of careers? Will we still go to an office, or will we be a nation of freelancers?
I think people will always be working together. I would surely hope that we won’t ALL be reduced to sitting in rooms at home, pounding on keyboards all day long. That works for some, but others will wither and die.