Choosing a Career Coach


Editor’s note: Jason Sanders is the Vice President of Executive Search at Ivy Exec, whose guest post is a reprinted article with the permission of Ivy Exec. 

Most of the resumes that I receive nowadays come from job seekers using a career coaching service during their executive job search. They may receive advice from an outplacement company hired by their employer, or they may have hired someone themselves.

We have always received unsolicited resumes, but it now seems like using an outside agency is becoming standard practice. That can be great for recruiters because it allows us to decide whether to hit the delete key with much more accuracy.

If you want to set yourself apart from the pack and enhance your ability to network, you have to choose the right company. Here are some things to look for in a coach:

1. How will their presentation of your credentials set you apart from the pack?
2. Do they offer access to networks that they have nurtured themselves?
3. Would you feel comfortable considering a complete change in the direction of you career, if advised by your coach?

Notice, that I do not refer to resume templates, databases, mail merges and other such basic tools. Talking about those items as differentiators is like saying a telephone and a laptop make you an outstanding consultant.

If you want to reach a new audience in a new way, you will need a creative, well-connected counselor, who you can trust like you would your doctor.

About Mark Anthony Dyson

I am a Career Consultant, Host & Producer of "The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, and Founder of the blog by the same name. I help and inspire unemployed, underemployed, and under-appreciated job seekers by finding and creating a voice to be heard by heard employers. I see too many voice-less resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other attempts people attempt to market themselves. In addition to the awards, my advice has appeared in major career sites such as AOL Jobs, You Tern, CAREEREALISM, Come Recommended, and Brazen Careerist. Your Voice. Your Brand. Your next opportunity is waiting to hear from you.


  1. HollyNo Gravatar says:

    Career coaches don’t typically connect you to a network, they educate clients on how to research their career and foster strong relationships. That is the most fruitful way for a job seeker to gain employment. Regarding #1, career coaches are also not always resume writers. Coaching and writing are two different disciplines. While some services offer both coaching and writing services, they are often separate. From what you have written here, it appears you may be referring to outplacement agencies only, as they are typically responsible for the full-cycle job search, from presenting credentials to networking to assisting with career change.   

    • Mark Anthony DysonNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for your comment. Jason writes for a site where there is a large network of job seekers who attend Ivy League (and other) schools. You are right in stating that career coaches are not always resume writers, but many are competent to “coach” job seekers in crafting an effective resume.

      While many career coaches  focus efforts on his or her one-on-one, over time, coaches can build a solid network to refer a job seeker to former but successful clients. Effective career coaches build networks that understand the beauty of the referral. 

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