Entering the job market isn’t easy. And finding the right job doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. If there were a person to help score your dream job, would you seek them out? Could finding the perfect job be that simple?

Career coaches help you solidify the career you’d like to have and how to attain it, such as perfecting your resume and your interview skills and helping you understand what it is you’d like to do with your life. It’s more than a single session; it’s a process.

UTM commerce grad Jessica Lee began looking for jobs upon graduation, but she felt that she wasn’t “ready to shine at networking events”. A friend and high school guidance counsellor suggested seeking a career coach. Lee then found Vlad Novochek of scoremydreamjob.com.

“Sometimes when that negative block of self-criticism grows quite large, a career coach can help sift through all the facts to help you see yourself for the strengths that you do have and guide you to a career that you might not even have considered would make you successful,” says Lee.

Like numerous students and recent grads, her former job-searching methods included “online job boards, job fairs, networking sessions, and recruiters”.

“Job boards were the worst. Many times these postings are left open online long after they have been staffed,” she says. “I found that by working hard on improving yourself first to improve your networking skill, your brand management strategy, your interviewing skills, your conversation skills, etc., you greatly increase your rate of success in seeking out jobs that you desire.”

Novochek describes a career coach as someone who plays “a dual role with his/her clients”. The first aspect of this role is “discovering what [the client] would be best suited for if they don’t already have a dream career in mind and then helping them tackle the steps necessary to actually land their desired job” and says he also works with “clients who want to take their career to the next level if they feel stuck in their current roles with no sight of future promotions”.

The second aspect is coaching. “It is almost impossible to compartmentalize your career as one aspect of your life that is not interlinked to other aspects. In order for someone to land their dream job or accelerate their career to the next level, they need to be successful as a whole in their thought process and approach to life,” says Novochek.

When asked how this information differs from what can be found online, he replies, “Any information can be found on the Internet these days, but there are two major problems with this, the first being credibility—often, articles/advice you read will be written by individuals who do not have real-world experience. [The second problem is that the] information is scattered and disorganized. You can spend months following different pieces of advice from different sites, then using trial-and-error to see what actually works and doesn’t work. There can be a huge mental backlash to this approach as you get discouraged from trying certain approaches that yield no results.”

Lee and Novochek’s relationship certainly isn’t out of the ordinary for those entering the workforce after university. Just last month The Toronto Star ran a feature called “Career coaching on the rise among recent grads and young professionals” by Lauren Pelley.

Of course, such assistance comes at a cost. “You cannot put a price on investing in yourself,” argues Novochek. Lee points out that the affordability depends on the recent grad’s budget.

But there are some tips the career coach was able to provide for free.

“It may sound cliché, but I can’t emphasize the importance of networking. The statistic is somewhere in the range of 80–90% of people that have social anxiety when it comes to networking, so if you feel scared/uneasy you’re not alone,” says Novochek. “However, real growth in any aspect of life really only comes when you step out of your comfort zone, so the sooner you do it the better off you are. Use time and the resources your career centre offers to your advantage. Build your network slowly while you are in school by attending events, connecting with people on LinkedIn, and staying in touch.”

This article has been corrected.
  1. March 15, 2015 at 4 p.m.: The name Lavan Puv had been used in place of Jessica Lee.
    Notice to be printed on March 16, 2015 (Volume 41, Issue 21).

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