Job Search Tip: Get A Coach (someone who will hold you accountable)

I got this tweet a couple of weeks ago from Craig Murden:

I have blogged about this before in the following posts:

A job search coach would have significantly changed my job search… here are two reason why:

  1. I was doing the wrong stuff in my job search, but I didn’t know it.  I spun my wheels, and got frustrated, but didn’t know I should do something else.
  2. I had no accountability to anyone.  Everyone treated me with kid gloves since they didn’t know how to ask if I was still unemployed.  It’s a touchy subject that many don’t ask about.

Now, you can PAY for a coach, or you can find a “buddy,” as Craig suggests.  Either are okay options, in my opinion.  During my job search I didn’t think I could afford a coach, and I’m not sure if I was ready to be a good client of a coach.

I have seen, however, many job seekers find someone they can be accountable to from job search clubs – essentially their job search peers.  Some of those relationships lasted beyond the job search, which I think is pretty cool.  I think there are two keys to a coaching relationship:

  1. Principle-based methodology. If someone is your job search coach and they tell you to do bad stuff (like spend all your time on job boards, or apply to newspaper ads 100% of the time), you have the wrong coach. This is where a professional job search coach comes in – not only are they principle-based, they have a lot of experience with their other clients that will help you keep your job search as short as possible.
  2. Accountability. You must be accountable to someone for your weekly (daily?) goals and targets.  This CANNOT be your spouse, as your spouse is TOO close to the emotional outcome of the job search.  I know career coaches who won’t coach their spouses 🙂

Do you have a coach?  If not, go get one.  In the link above, the first point in the Job Search Creed is to get a coach.

JibberJobber partners with coaches and resume writers.  If you are looking for a professional coach or resume writer, let us know and we can send your info to our Partners.  Most of my Partners specialize (by industry, profession, level, etc.) so you might be a fit for some and a misfit for others.

10 thoughts on “Job Search Tip: Get A Coach (someone who will hold you accountable)”

  1. Jason, thanks for the plug for coaches!

    I am a business coach, and I work with many clients “in transition,” and I enjoy helping them identify their values, break through the obstacles, and find a great job that honors their talents and desires….and, working with a coach is more than just “personal growth” and “self-actualization.” Job seekers who work with a coach find a job faster than they would on their own (15% – 46% faster, per the Wall Street Journal, 1/27/09, page D4), so it is an investment with a very high ROI.

  2. I don’t know that I agree with a coach being able to hold you accountable. The coach works for you not the other way around. The only person that can hold you accountable is you.

    What a good coach CAN do is to ask the tough questions and make you answers those questions more so being honest with yourself than answering to the coach.

    By asking the tough questions and the right questions a good cach can make you face those truths we want to avoid and that’s what forces us to act.

    Just my 2 cents.


  3. You make some good points but I do not know of a single job coach that would give the advice that you used in your example. Who would tell someone to spend 100% of their time on classified ad postings?

  4. @Mike, ok, I guess as a matter of semantics you are right, but having a coach would encourage me to be me more accountable… just knowing that someone was going to ask regularly about my progress, goals, targets, etc… and they have to ask and not let me get out of it with crappy excuses. I’m guessing job coaches have had clients that always have crappy excuses… having a coach, I believe, makes you more accountable.

    @JobInterview – pls use your name next time, so I don’t have to mark your comment as spam. In my post I was referring to the “wrong coach.” Let me give you an example.

    3.5 years ago if you asked ME to be your job coach, I would have been the WRONG coach. I would not have given you ideas that were principle based. I would have coached you to do things that were a waste of time – not because I’m not smart, but because I wasn’t trained or current.

    My point is, getting “anyone” to be your coach isn’t the right solution, especially if they don’t know what they are talking about. Clearly no professional job search coach would advice you to spend much time on job boards.

  5. Is the recession driving demand for career coach services? Or is the recession having a chilling effect on the coaching industry? I can see it going both ways, so I’d love to hear from career coaches and job seekers about this question. I’ve been thinking about career coaching services for a couple of weeks now because I’ve been working on a story for that will (hopefully) help readers determine whether they should hire a coach, and if so, how to find and work effectively with a coach.

  6. Job or Career Coaches can reduce the cost of being unemployed. To determine the ROI associated with working with a coach you should have an idea of your target salary. Say you expect to earn $100,000 annually, your average investment for a 3 month coaching program would be approximately equal to one or two weeks salary. The shorter your job search the greater your ROI would be.

  7. If you know the layoff is inevitable, start your job search. DON’T WAIT until the last minute. Today job searching is about two things (1) Networking and (2) Searching and Applying. Both are equally important but both are equally time consuming, but I find Searching and Applying to be most frustrating. Between working and networking, I don’t have time to search and use This service will search and apply for you. They even fill out those online applications that I have come to detest because every job just about requires one. The JobSerf Team gives me an update on the positions they applied to on my behalf. Then, I research the companies and look-up the employees on Next, I start networking with their employees.

    I signed up for and provided a cover letter and resume. The JobSerf Team will search or omit on any city and or company. I also like that I can give them several resumes and cover letters that are tied to job title. Check-out! Their service is inexpensive and is well it.

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