How to Become a Career Coach

Three Parts:Gaining Credibility as a Career CoachBuilding Your BusinessAdvancing Your Career

Career coaches provide guidance to people in need of assistance with career selection and professional transitions. Unlike career counselors, career coaches are not licensed, and there are no particular education requirements to become a career coach. That being said, there are a variety of certifications available that can boost your credibility as a career coach. You also need to make sure you have the knowledge and experience necessary to help people progress in their careers.

Part 1
Gaining Credibility as a Career Coach

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    Acquire experience. While there is no specific experience required to become a career coach, you need to have a background that will inspire confidence in your clients.[1]
    • A background in career services or workforce development will offer you the most relevant experience.
    • A background in recruiting or human resources can also be helpful, as this will give you the opportunity to learn more about what employers are looking for.
    • A successful career of any kind can be an excellent asset, especially if you want to help people find jobs in the same field that you used to work in.
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    Be familiar with the job market. In order to help your clients, you will need to have a broad understanding of the types of jobs available in your area, the education and skill sets required for those jobs, and their average salaries. You also need to stay up-to-date with the latest technology used for job hunting and networking.
    • Social media is currently widely used, but new technologies are developing all the time, so never stop learning about the latest trends.
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    Hone your resume writing skills. Not all career coaches offer resume writing services, but the skill is in hot demand. If you plan on offering this service you will need to have strong writing and grammar skills and understand what employers are looking for in a resume.[2]
    • You will need to help clients expand upon or condense their resumes to an appropriate length based on the amount of experience they have.
    • You will need to help clients tailor their resumes for individual positions.
    • You should know what keywords recruiters in the specific industry will be looking for.
    • You should learn how to expertly format resumes so they are easy to read and look professional.
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    Learn to listen. In order to be a successful career coach, you will need to be a great listener who is able to converse with a diverse group of people about their interests, strengths, weaknesses, and experiences.[3]
    • You will need to know what questions to ask in order to get people to reveal this information to you.
    • You will also need to be able to analyze the information that your clients give you quickly and effectively.
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    Continue to develop your skills. Before you begin working with clients, you need to make sure you have the skills that are needed to actually help clients decide on a career path or find a job. Joining professional development organizations is a great way to advance your skills and stay on top of the latest in industry news and research.[4]
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    Choose a niche. It helps to have focus when starting out as a career coach. Choosing the right type of client will allow you to put your relevant experience to work and will help you enjoy your work more. You will also gain credibility as an experienced career coach in your specific niche.[5]
    • If you have a background in a specific industry, consider catering to clients looking for careers in that industry. Your professional experience will go a long way to increase your credibility.
    • You can also cater towards specific types of people who you enjoy working with, such as recent college graduates or stay-at-home moms who are trying to reenter the workforce.
    • Alternatively, you can focus on a certain kind of job hunter. For example, some people contact career coaches because they have no idea what they want to do for a career, while others contact career coaches because they want to advance in their careers, but are unsure about what they need to do. Still others contact career coaches because they need help writing their resumes and applying for jobs.
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    Consider certification. Certification is not necessary, but it may help you look more professional. Taking classes to earn a certification as a career coach can also help you learn more about the field, which will be especially helpful if you're short on experience.[6]
    • There are a wide variety of career and life coaching certification programs available, and because career coaching is not a regulated industry, they all have different requirements. Make sure to thoroughly research any program before signing up. It might also be helpful to talk to people who have completed the programs.[7]

Part 2
Building Your Business

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    Decide where you will work. Most career coaches operate independently. If this is how you plan to work, you will need to decide where the best place is to meet your clients. Some options include public places, your clients' home, or a dedicated office area in your own home.
    • If you can afford it, you may want to invest in an office space. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a office space that allows you to rent out space by the day or by the hour.[8]
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    Create a website. Most people search for products and service online, so customers need to be able to learn about who you are and what you have to offer from your website. It is absolutely essential to have a strong web presence in today's day and age![9]
    • If you don't have a large budget, don't worry. There are lots of providers that offer simple website design and hosting for inexpensive rates. As your business grows, you can update your website.
    • When writing the content for your website, be sure to consider what your mission statement is and how you can communicate that to your customers. Everything you write should have a consistent voice that conveys your brand's message.[10]
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    Create marketing materials. You need to market your business in order to let customers know that you exist and to give them a good impression of your business Depending on your budget and your specific business goals, you might consider print materials such as business cards, flyers, postcards, or brochures. You might also want to invest in online, radio, print, or television advertising.[11]
    • Come up with a great logo and tag line and use them consistently across all of your marketing materials.[12]
    • Marketing can be very expensive, so make sure you start saving some money to invest in your business. [13]
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    Look for opportunities to spread the word. In addition to maintaining your website and distributing your marketing materials, you should always be on the lookout for new ways to let clients know about your skills and services. The right approach for you will depend on your experience and your target audience, but you may consider speaking at conferences, using your expertise to write articles for papers or websites, or posting informative content on social media.[14]
    • Make sure everything you post online or otherwise distribute is in keeping with your personal brand.
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    Maintain a professional appearance. Keep in mind that prospective clients are likely to look into your background. As a career coach, you need to inspire confidence in your clients by writing an impressive resume for yourself and marketing your business like an expert.[15]

Part 3
Advancing Your Career

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    Get a degree. Whether you want to increase your credibility as a career coach or you want to take your career to the next level, you may wish to pursue a degree. Useful fields include psychology, counseling, sociology, or Human Resources.
    • If you have a a specific career goal in mind, be sure to check to see what the educational requirements are. For example, if you wish to become a career counselor at a school, you will need a master's degree in school counseling, as well as the appropriate state license.[16]
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    Work for a company. If working for yourself is not for you, you do have other options as a career coach. Depending on your interests, you may consider working for a company that provides career coaching and resume writing services.[17] You may also opt to work in the human resources or career development department of a large corporation.
    • Keep in mind that some companies may require you to hold a certain degree.
    • Be vigilant about finding the right fit for you. As a career coach, you should know how to network and search online job boards in order to find a great opportunity.
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    Consider becoming a career counselor. If you love career coaching, and you would like to advance your career further, you might consider becoming a career counselor. Career counselors are different from career coaches because they typically conduct assessments and offer advice, while career coaches offer mostly information.[18]
    • As a career counselor, you can also help people identify issues that may be holding them back in life, such as depression or anxiety.[19]
    • You must have at least a bachelor's degree to work as a career counselor, but many counselors have master's degrees or doctoral degrees. Career counselor also need to be licensed by the state in which they operate.[20]


  • Consider and prepare for diversity. Effective career coaching requires an understanding of the dynamics that influence individuals, which may include age, race, culture, religion, or other factors.
  • If you're planning on working for yourself, you may want to consider hiring a marketing company to help you build your brand and advertise your services.

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Categories: Job Strategies