Having been a Career Coach for almost over 2 years from 2019-2021, I’ll share my dollar store advice especially to those who are aspiring career specialists, employment specialists, job developers and career/job coaches.
As a Career Specialist, you will coach students on their job search, providing them with resources and materials that will help them land employment, and foster strong connections with employers and alumni around the geographic region that you work with. As part of your role, you’ll be the key advisor to participants who are approaching the end of the program or even participants who seek your employment services in general.
Make sure the employers you partner with are a good match for your target population. Set up some time and explain to employers the kinds of services you or your organization offers so you can foster that long lasting business relationship, which will then lead to many wonderful collaborations that can be super rewarding to your target population and organization. Ensure that these employers you identify share a mutual interest in the population they are hiring. Let me tell you, these relationships will go a long way if handled successfully.
My main focus was working with students from the Accounting and Nursing Assistant programs. Therefore, a lot of my employer partners were in the healthcare and accounting industries. However, if the programs were not in session, I’d be working with job seekers that came from all different backgrounds. I was constantly offering career advice, revamping their resumes, sharing job leads with them where I see fit and ensuring they are actively applying on their own as well. I kept them in the loop of employment opportunities and events such as job fairs, career development webinars by subscribing to our organization’s email list.
On top of all, you want to make sure they can secure a job with their newly learned skills and utilize their portfolio to present themselves successfully to potential employers.
Own the process. Take the initiative to set them up for success! Be curious, ask questions! I took the initiative by leading job fairs (employers ranged from all sectors from healthcare, nonprofits, accounting, banking, service, hospitality, retail) and facilitating career development webinars to keep job seekers informed about the job market in different industries. Keep yourself up to date with the labor market trends in your area so if a job seeker approaches you with a question related to that sector, you’d be ready to have an informed answer. Remember, you are the subject matter expert who can help take the organization’s career services offering to a world-class level that will ensure the job seekers’ success.
- Job call prep should be 45 minutes to 1 hour of the call to ensure you are providing ongoing support for job seekers as they are continuously active in their job search. You want to provide actionable advice on their job search strategy and activities. I’ve worked with plenty of job seekers who have found jobs just to end up back in the job market because the job wasn’t what they are passionate about. This is where you as the Career Coach come in, to assist in strengthening each job seeker’s marketability, including reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews, and facilitating work readiness workshops.
- During job search period, there may be more calls – make sure to do follow up calls periodically to see how the job seeker is doing and offer support where necessary.
- The follow ups don’t stop at the job search period. You now have a relationship with the participant. You want to provide post-placement retention follow-up services as needed.
- Offer mentorship – lead from the front. What I’ve learned and experienced during my job search, teach them and give them feedback to help improve.
When exploring the job seeker’s career path, you want to consider the following below:
- Have the job seeker talk about or jot down what they want to do, where they want to get a job, etc.
- It is a good way to learn more about their goals and about the job seeker in general
- Work with the job seeker develop a career change strategy
- Write great affirmations – i.e. 3 milestones and steps to reach those milestones
- Work with the job seeker in writing their elevator pitch, LinkedIn summary and resume summary
- Create a case study for their project if applicable (most of the time they will have something in their program)
- Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV) – work on building it for their career change
- Portfolio – one of the hardest tasks because it needs to showcase their work about themselves
- LinkedIn Profile – You may want to offer a LinkedIn training and walk them through to ensure it tailors to their new career change
- Networking – You may want to lead a networking training session and teach them how to build connections
- Have the job seeker research and make a list of job sites/jobs that they are planning to apply for
- Having a spreadsheet to track the number of job applications they applied to, the number of interviews that took place and the stages of where they are in the process is helpful
- Cover Letter
- Gives them a chance to showcase their skills and personality that is usually not showcased in a resume/CV
- Interviewing – Facilitate mock interviews. There are many ways to do it
- Partner with large companies like Google, Moody’s, McKinsey, Credit Suisse, etc. They have philanthropic programs where they gather their own volunteers within their organization to partner with you and focus on upward mobility programs for the disadvantaged.
- Have job seekers record themselves and submit it to you and you can evaluate it; provide feedback
- Set up a 30 minute video call with the job seeker and practice with them, where the Career Coach will role play as the Recruiter or Hiring Manager and the job seeker is the interviewee.
- Work on creating a professional development plan to improve their skillsets and create a job search plan for the next 6 months –
- Where they are going to find their jobs? (Job Ads, Referral, Job Boards, through their program, etc.)
- How they are going to network? (Reaching out to employers on LinkedIn)
- Most importantly, making sure they are still active during their search – follow up, follow up, follow up.