Do You Need a Career Coach? 8 Signs The Answer is Yes

Do You Need a Career Coach? 8 Signs The Answer is Yes was originally published on The Muse, a great place to research companies and careers. Click here to search for great jobs and companies near you.

You’re feeling stagnant in your career, and decide it’s time to pursue new opportunities. You send out dozens of resumes daily but don’t hear anything back from recruiters. At this point, you might start wondering: Do I need a career coach?

Career coaches are specialists in career development, resume building, interviewing, and negotiation. Their mission is to help individuals make career-related decisions and achieve their full potential and goals.

It’s no surprise they’re often the first experts people seek out when they’re struggling with their career path. But what about you—do you need a career coach? Given that this service demands both a financial and time commitment, it’s important to make sure it’s the right choice.

Below, you’ll find eight signs you might need a career coach—plus, answers to common questions about their role that have probably already come to your mind.

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What does a career coach do?

Career coaches help workers identify and overcome career-related problems. “A career coach supports professionals by giving them the specific tools, structures, vocabulary, and action plans they need to engage in their careers with agency,” says Eloïse Eonnet, Muse career coach and founder of Eloquence.

A big part of what career coaches do is listen and guide professionals toward solutions and goals. “They often act as a mirror, sharing what they see, which helps create clarity and opens up opportunities,” Eonnet says. “Coaches will help reframe an unhelpful mindset, build structures to thrive, and get practice in to help integrate new learnings.”

They often offer practical assistance too. For example, they can help you with resume writing, LinkedIn profile updates, cover letters, job seeking, and interview preparation.

Is it worth working with a career coach?

Hiring a career coach can be helpful at any career stage. Their professional guidance and support comes with many benefits for those who are struggling with self-confidence, assertiveness, productivity, or difficulty in reaching their goals.

Eonnet highlights some of the benefits of hiring a career coach based on the feedback of clients:

  • More time saved
  • Feeling of clarity and control
  • Better vocabulary to talk about yourself
  • More confidence
  • Desired goal achieved faster
  • Feeling of deeply supported and less loneliness
  • More focus and energy

To be sure you’re making the right decision to invest in this type of service, you may want to try overcoming any career challenge by yourself first. “I’m always an advocate of trying on our own first! We learn so much about ourselves when we do, about our strengths and limitations,” Eonnet says.

But if you’ve already tried and are still dissatisfied with your career or are stuck with the same problem, it’s time to consider professional advice. “The journey isn’t always easy, but it helps us work through career challenges which feels empowering and good. A career coach helps us gain agency, clarity, self-understanding, direction, and the needed tools to thrive,” she says.

8 signs you need a career coach

When it comes to career-related challenges, some signs are more obvious than others that it’s time to seek external help. For example, if you’ve been unemployed for months you may reach this conclusion faster than someone who is employed but feels stuck and unsure of their next steps.

Here’s how to know if you need a career coach:

1. You’re not being called for interviews

If you’ve been applying for jobs, sending out dozens of resumes per day, and still aren’t getting called for interviews, it may be time to book a career coaching session.

Perhaps your resume isn’t standing out in the bunch or isn’t optimized for applicant tracking systems (ATS). Or maybe you’re applying for multiple jobs without tailoring your resume for each specific role.

A career coach will help you get to the root of the problem and work towards a solution. As these professionals often have experience in hiring and recruiting, they know exactly what recruiters are seeking in candidates.

2. You’re having difficulty crafting your resume

You need a job, but resume writing is not your forte. Maybe you’ve been employed for a long time and have lost your touch. Or maybe you’re a recent graduate trying to write a resume with no experience and don’t know what to add.

If you’ve already searched for all the available resume writing tips and still find yourself staring at a blank Google Docs page, it’s a sign you should hire a career coach. Together, you can work on finding the right vocabulary to express your experiences and accomplishments, identifying keywords related to your field, and highlighting relevant skills for the job you want.

3. You’re feeling stagnant in your career

If you’re feeling stuck on the corporate ladder to the point where you lack motivation and it’s affecting your productivity, you’ve likely tried looking for solutions but don’t know exactly where to start or what to do. In this scenario, it’s worth considering hiring a career coach.

When we feel out of options, we tend to develop tunnel vision and can’t see anything besides what’s right in front of us. Bringing in an external party is a way to find solutions we cannot see by ourselves and break this cycle.

4. You’re not doing well in job interviews

Your resume is getting selected, but for some reason you’re not surviving the interview. “Perhaps you keep not getting past the first round of interviews despite being a great fit for the roles—you notice a pattern that you can’t get past and can’t figure out the solution,” Eonnet says.

Maybe it’s your confidence, or perhaps you’re unprepared for some tricky interview questions. Either way, a career coach can help figure out exactly what’s going on and provide you with advice and tools to fix it. (These 30+ tips on how to prepare for a job interview can also come in handy!)

5. You want to negotiate a promotion or pay raise

You like your company and the work you do. However, it’s been a long time since you got a promotion. You’d like to negotiate a pay raise, but have never done this before and are afraid it will cause some friction between you and your boss.

There are career coaches who specialize in negotiation, communication skills, and confidence building. With their professional help, you can work on a plan to get your promotion and find the right tone to approach your superior with your request.

6. You want to change careers but don’t what to do

Another situation where a career coach could be exactly what you need is when “you know you’re unhappy or unsatisfied with your current job, but have no idea what else you could do that would make you happier,” Eonnet says.

It’s normal to feel a bit lost and afraid to leave behind an established career to pursue something new. A career coach can guide you through this process, helping you assess what brings you discomfort in your current job, your passions, or your motivations—basically everything you need to find out where you want to go and how to get there.

7. You’re exhausted by the job search routine

Job hunting can be tiring and stressful (and here’s how to keep going when it’s getting you down). “You feel exhausted and lonely in a job search, with the feeling that you are not making any progress,” Eonnet says.

What can a career coach help with in this case? First, they can provide support and structure to your job search. This alone can make you feel less lonely and more motivated. Besides that, with their guidance, you’re likely to achieve your goal—that’s to find a job—much faster, putting an end to this exhausting routine.

8. You’re overwhelmed by your responsibilities

A not-so-obvious situation that screams “I need a career coach” is feeling overwhelmed with too much on your plate. “For example, you may have a fulltime job and a family to care for, but you are also actively job hunting and need a streamlined action plan that will save you time and brain space,” Eonnet says.

What a career coach cannot help you with

A career coach cannot help with mental health-related problems. If you’re experiencing burnout, depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue due to work, it’s important to seek support from a licensed therapist.

“A career coach is not a therapist,” says Eonnet. “They typically do not help with mental health and personal matters, and are most likely going to suggest other forms of support for those issues.”

How do I find a career coach?

Career advice and coaching websites are among the best places to find a career coach. For instance, The Muse’s Coaching services Coach Connect is a platform where you can find coaches based on your needs. You can filter your search by specialty, cost, and the type of coaching service you’re seeking.

Another option is to look for career coaches on LikedIn and other social media platforms. Just make sure to do a thorough research to guarantee you are, in fact, hiring a qualified and licensed professional.