When you graduate college, you may find yourself (ideally) in a good job that matches your degree. But as the years pass, you may decide to embark on a new career, whether out of desire or necessity. In such cases, a career coach could be of help.
Career coaches are usually certified individuals with experience in resume-building, interviewing, networking and career planning. Some even specialize within a specific industry.
Finding a career coach to fit both your budget and professional goals isn’t always easy. You may be asking yourself: What are the costs? Or how do I find a career coach near me? To help you on your search, let’s discuss the following:
- Five things to look for in a career coach
- How to decide if you really need a career coach?
- How to find a career coach near you
There may be all sorts of red flags to look for when you hire a career coach. You should be scared off, for example, if a coach promises that you’ll find your dream job within a certain timespan.
They might also say that a single one-on-one session is all you need, which is usually not the case. “Though some people will tell you you can have a breakthrough in one session, it usually takes about eight to 12 hours of coaching to begin to see the benefits and internalize changes,” said career coach Judy Garfinkel.
It is worth it to do your due diligence when it comes to career coaches. If you’re serious about making the investment of hiring a career coach, here are five things to look for:
A career coach should be accredited or approved by a professional coaching organization but there are coaches out there who haven’t received any such training and pass themselves off as experts.
Whether it’s the International Coach Federation (ICF), the National Career Development Association (NCDA), or a similar organization, check up on the coach’s credentials. It might also be wise to hire a coach who is a member of professional communities and keeps up with trends through research or teaching.
Having a master’s degree or Ph.D. in industrial or organizational psychology, counseling, or human resources might give them a head start. But make sure their knowledge isn’t out of date.
“Ask them which psychological and other instruments they use in helping you develop self-awareness and goals,” said executive resume writer Donna Svei. “Find out if they’re certified to use the instruments they mention. For example, many coaches use the Myers-Brigg Type Instrument (MBTI) without being certified.”
Don’t be shy. Google your prospective career coach the way HR managers search your name before inviting you in for a job interview.
There are two kinds of experiences you should confirm: whether the coach had success as a professional (preferably in your industry) and whether they had success as a coach.
You’ll find coaches who specialize by experience level, catering to entry-level professionals or working exclusively with executives.
Whether a career coach excelled in your field, they should have experience guiding professionals of your caliber. Ask for references for clients they helped through a job search or a career transition. They should at least have testimonials and endorsements on their professional website.
When you hire a career coach, they expect to be paid for their expertise. There’s nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong with being motivated only by that.
Find a career coach who offers you upfront pricing and explains when fees are charged and why. You don’t want to be surprised by hidden costs in the middle of a coaching session.
Be wary of coaches whose financial gains are tied to your own. It could affect whether they give career advice that should actually be ignored. For example, an entertainment-industry agent who is paid out of their client’s earnings might (in some cases) push the client to take as many jobs as possible, even when it might not be their best career move.
Find a coach who finds a non-financial reward in helping you achieve your goals. They should have an individualized plan for you to meet your goals, and metrics to measure your growth toward them.
There’s a good test you can conduct before hiring a coach. Meet up with each of your candidates and pepper them with questions about what you can expect. If the consultation is a so-so one, don’t expect to suddenly have great one-on-one coaching sessions with them.
“You’ll know they care because they will ask you very specific questions, listen intently to your answers, and ask relevant follow-up questions,” said Robyn Tingley, author, trainer and mentor to new grads and career starters.
“They’ll be taking notes, seeking clarification, and asking you a lot of deep questions about your past work choices, as well as your goals and dreams,” she added.
Avoid career coaches who don’t do much more than check in over the phone. Good coaches have plenty of tools at their disposal.
Some of these tools are abstract. Beyond helping build out your LinkedIn profile, your coach should connect you with other professionals and possible mentors offline. It’s a good sign if your coach is active in the industry, on social media, and is quoted or referenced by news media.
Besides having a network of professionals for you to tap into, they should also have tangible resources to guide you through the process. Find a career coach who challenges you to think critically during each session and gives you homework afterward.
You should know what steps you need to take toward accomplishing your goal. If you’re transitioning fields, for example, your coach might point toward a continuing education program. But you don’t want someone to hand you template worksheets, go through the motions, and nod along as you do all the work on your own.
When the time comes to hire a career coach, make sure you get along on a basic level. If you need some tough love, for example, a coach who treats you with kid gloves might not be a good fit.
In your pre-hiring consultation, see if you can talk about non-career topics with the coach. If you can’t have a normal conversation with them, that might be a warning.
To take it a step further, do an in-person (or virtual) whiteboard brainstorming session. Even if the coach is personable, you’ll want to see if they can come up with good ideas or tap into their expertise on the fly. You might also receive some free advice this way.
These five things to look for in a career coach are just a start. You also need to look within yourself. Maybe you need help finding a new job, or could use a mentor or just a talented resume editor. Maybe you want a full inventory of your skills or need someone to push you to use them.
Whatever the case, make sure you’re willing to invest the time — not just the money. Hiring a career coach can be a big investment, and it’s not for everyone at every career stage. Some coaches recommend that millennials might be better off finding workplace mentors and studying new careers on their own.
So before paying for a coach, ask if you need to hire one at all.
When you begin your search for an affordable career coach, it’s okay to start looking for a career coach online with the usual suspects like LinkedIn and Yelp.
It may be helpful to revisit your college’s alumni office and tap into your alumni network to help find potential mentors and contacts to jumpstart your new career. Try investigating your local community college to see what it offers in the way of continuing education classes in the field of your choice, or online bootcamps or courses in your particular industry.
Not everyone will need a career coach and there are actions you can take on your own. For example, once you research your new career path, check to see if there are useful certifications for that field.
If you decide you need a coach, but if you can’t find anyone in-person that fits the bill, don’t necessarily rule out working with a coach in a virtual environment.
Maya Dollarhide contributed to this story.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|2.49% – 11.72%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.30%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.13% – 7.39%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 8.24%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 7.98%||Undergrad |
|1.74% – 7.99%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.69% – 9.92%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 6, 2022.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
5 Important Disclosures for Navient.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR).
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).
Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).
Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).