Karina Diaz Cano was a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington D.C. She was laid off in July 2008. Previously, Ms. Cano spent several years working in multicultural marketing and sales roles for Sierra Nevada Brewery Co. and MKTG, a marketing services firm. She holds an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.
So I‚Äôve done it. In fact, I‚Äôve done it a few times. I went to go see a career coach. I‚Äôve actually seen a few, prodded on by a relative. I had been skeptical, but now I recommend it. I haven‚Äôt visited a career coach very often, because they can be pricey, but I feel each session has been well worth the advice.
What I‚Äôve found from my experiences is that career coaches provide insight into the workplace, as many come from backgrounds in HR or top-level management where they‚Äôve done it, seen it, been there. And working with career coaches, you can cover any topic, not just how to get a job. For example: they‚Äôre well-versed in advice about growing your existing career or position, input on career and job issues, discussing starting your own business, interviewing and more. I‚Äôve found career coaches are able to provide tangible advice in areas of career management, too.
Do you need a career coach? No. Plenty of people have successful careers without them. But I‚Äôve found that career coaches can definitely be helpful; I think one can never have too much advice from an experienced professional when it comes to getting your career where you want it to be.
In my case, we‚Äôve discussed interviewing skills, identifying career goals, and targeting companies. I thought it would be useful to pass along some of the advice I have received.
Know your talents, and know them well. What are eight skills you have that you excel at? Have examples of yourself in the workplace excelling at these skills. In my own experience, the career coaches helped me isolate my strengths and understand where I had areas for improvement. I‚Äôm now better able to pick and target positions which suit my skill set. This also enables me to better articulate my strengths for a position when asked.
Know yourself. Career counselors have also told me to have a ready answer for that ‚Äòtell me about yourself‚Äô question. I‚Äôve gotten that question a lot and knowing what the interviewer is looking for was tough for me. Some interviewers want short and sweet, some want to know more about the ‚Äòreal‚Äô you, some want to know specific job-related skills etc. The career coaches said I should have a few ways of telling my story so that one will work depending on the job or my read of the interviewer.
Be dilligent when looking for a new job. Send out three to five resumes a day. It is a lot of work, but that‚Äôs what one of my career coaches recommended. Getting into this habit has made me more confident, knowing that my resume is in the pipeline. I also find my investment in any particular job description is not as great, thus also managing my expectations. And the coaches helped me understand that my resume may sit on a hiring manager‚Äôs desk for weeks until I hear back, so a position I have applied to months before may result in a phone call far down the line. It‚Äôs all about patience.
Prepare better for interviews. A counselor suggested writing down many potential interview questions and then writing out the answers to them. For me this technique helps, although I feel I have always been prepared even when I didn‚Äôt write out questions and answers. But by doing this, it gives me more awareness that I am truly prepared. Knowing that I‚Äôve done the work makes me more confident.
Attitude matters. I hear this regularly from career coaches: Positive, positive, positive. I‚Äôve realized that both job seekers and employees can never be too positive. I have a good friend who‚Äôs also job hunting who calls me regularly and always starts out with, ‚ÄòGuess what! I found a job! Now I just need to find a company!‚Äô It‚Äôs a great attitude to have.