Please tell me briefly what you do for job seekers. What kinds of services do you provide?
I help job seekers make sense of that daunting task of looking for a job. I help them break it down into manageable pieces, set goals and follow action plans to get them closer to finding a good, suitable job for themselves. I do this mainly through one-on-one coaching and group workshops. I also work with an out-of-state outplacement company helping people in California and other Western States move through the transition and job search process. Currently I’m overseeing the new Career Transition & Development for Professionals program at CSUSM and SDSU, a 7-week program funded through the San Diego Workforce Partnership.
Let’s say I come to you for help because I’ve been out of work for a few months. What’s the first step in the process?
Most people jump right to brushing up their résumé when faced with looking for a job. I encourage them to instead take the time to do some reflection, self assessing, and writing. What do you really want to do next? Where at work do your strengths and talents shine through? What were some of your biggest successes on the job? These are the kinds of questions that lead to finding not just any job, but the right job! Then comes the résumé, which should reflect those strengths and accomplishments and result in getting numerous interviews. Landing that right fit job that matches one’s values and strengths at a good company is absolutely possible with a well thought out job search. Taking that first step of getting to know oneself better, recognizing what benefits a person brings to a company, and writing about it helps lead a job seeker down a better illumined path.
And then what?
Then implement a solid job search strategy using 5 key elements: 1) the published job market found at online job boards, magazines, newspapers; 2) online marketing of oneself through LinkedIn, blog posts, and other social media venues; 3) recruiters and staffing agencies; 4) targeting specific companies using a sales approach; 5) and most importantly, in-person networking. All these activities should be done simultaneously for best results. Sitting behind the computer all day perusing online job boards is never the best approach. At the very least, set up an account at indeed.com and let the jobs come to your inbox.
You also help those who are considering career changes, right? In that case, how would those first steps differ?
It’s a very similar process, again beginning with that self assessment step, and with one important additional step: if a person is still working in a job they no longer enjoy, they need to find ways to make it bearable while planning their next move. I encourage capitalizing on their successes there and putting themselves in positions where can they do the kind of tasks they most enjoy as often as possible. Find the silver lining and focus on that instead of the negatives. It’s crucial to leave on good terms, knowing there were achievements made and lessons learned. Clear up loose ends and start the next career with a clean slate.
How much do you charge for your services? What’s the range for packages? And what might make them more or less expensive?
I strive to set fair prices while keeping in mind the value of my 20+ years in the employment field. I always talk or meet, free of charge, with a potential client to review their needs, determine if my services provide the right solution, and discuss the right next steps for them. My fees range from $125 per 60-90 minute session for those needing infrequent assistance to $500 per month for weekly, fast-paced, accountability focused sessions. I am always open to discussing flexible payment plans.
Is that a challenge, convincing people to spend money on career coaching when they’re unemployed? What do you tell them?
My focus is not on convincing people to spend that money. I let them make that decision for themselves after careful consideration of their finances. I do tell them that if they want an experienced career transition professional to guide them through the job-search/transition process, discuss the unlimited possibilities for rewarding work, help them set goals and action plans, and be held accountable for making progress, then by all means, they should enlist my services. I realize my services are not for everyone and many people will succeed on their own.
Can you give me a couple of examples of successes your clients have had after working with you?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many wonderful clients through the years. One of my favorites was a woman who was re-entering the workforce after getting resettled from a divorce. She had narrowed her desired career paths to 3 areas. I worked with her each week to set goals for learning more about each one. At the same time, she worked through my Career Discovery Journal which is filled with self-assessment questions and worksheets. After a month of working together in this manner, she decided on the path, proceeded to sail through real estate school obtaining her broker’s license, and is loving her work in residential sales to this day. It is the perfect fit for her talents and lifestyle.
Another client was laid off after 25+ years in the same company and faced the intimidation of a job search in a very negatively-publicized job market. We worked together diligently over a few months taking it step by step – discussing his options and desired career paths, fine tuning his résumé, preparing for interviews as they came up, and assessing offers. He landed a job in a similar field and well respected company making more money than he expected in an office very close to home. He was diligent in his efforts and took action every day which ultimately led him to this job. I served as his sounding board, offering an objective perspective and reminding him of his previous accomplishments and value to the workplace.
Let’s close up with two bits of wisdom you have for job seekers and/or career changers.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got!” Poor grammar I know, but the message rings true. The same actions you took in previous job markets will not work today. It’s a different world out there with many more people vying for the same jobs. You must stand out by going the extra mile, be persistent, and professional. Challenge yourself and see what happens.
“Oh yes you can!” Life is filled with transitions, both voluntary and involuntary. You undoubtedly have faced changes in the past, some more dramatic than others. Think about how you approached a significant change, how you overcame it and what you learned from it. If you could make it through that, you can surely make it through this job search. New beginnings are always just around the next corner.