Pros and Cons of Hiring a Career Coach

When the daily grind gets to be too much, you sometimes find yourself needing a nudge to change your routine. So how do you know when you can change your career path all on your own and when you need a little outside help? Career coaches have gained steam in recent years as they help people polish their resumes and cover letters, help outline a cohesive job search plan, and generally evaluate ways to make people into stronger candidates. But does that necessarily mean you need one? Read on for some of the pros and cons of hiring a career coach when you’re looking to make a professional switch.


1. They can lessen the time you spend job searching

Since job searching is essentially what career coaches do for a living, they are uniquely able to cut to the chase and help you focus on what needs to get done now. Career coaches act as objective barometers of your professional strengths and weaknesses, which can be an invaluable role—especially for older applicants. According to Forbes, people who are over the age of fifty usually spend twice as long on average as younger ones before getting hired. And when job hunting, every minute counts.

2. They can provide extra motivation

It’s human nature to assign more value to something if you pay for it. The same idea applies when you hire a career coach: the stakes automatically go up since you’re now paying for something you otherwise would have done for free.

Every time you’re tempted to slack off during your job search, the simple knowledge that you have paid money toward the exact thing you’re now considering neglecting will likely be all you need to get moving again. Never underestimate money (whether it’s spent or earned) as a motivator.

3. They can help you formulate a plan

While we like to think we’re experts on ourselves, sometimes we’re not always the best at presenting that information to others. As the Forbes article points out, career coaches can help you answer questions you might not have thought of, such as “Do you know what your value is to a prospective employer or client,” “Do you know how to best describe and pitch yourself,” and “Do you know who the most important contacts are in your database?” Using the answers to those questions and more, career coaches can help you advertise yourself in the most marketable way possible while also helping you prioritize which job openings are the best fit.


1. They can be expensive

With some career coaches charging between $100 and $250 per hour, things can get expensive pretty quickly. According to Career Alley, this can easily translate to spending a few thousand dollars over the course of your career coach partnership. And if you’re unemployed, dropping that kind of money can be very stressful.

2. There are a lot of scammers out there

Google “career coach,” and you’ll find thousands of results, many of whom “guarantee” finding you a job. Guess what? There’s no such thing as a guarantee. Be wary of anyone attempting to oversell himself or herself and be sure to verify any credentials listed.

3. It can take time to find the right one

Just as in any profession, career coaches differ widely in their individual approaches to coaching. Try to get a good sense of a coach’s personal philosophy before hiring—make sure it jives with your own in order to avoid the uncomfortable discovery that he or she is more interested in espousing a certain belief system on you, and less interested in listening to your own wants and needs.

Knowing when to change your career can be just as important as knowing how. As you consider embarking on a change in industry, it’s important to explore all avenues in order to determine whether a career coach is right for you.

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