With so many people looking for jobs right now, applicants need to stand out. However, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do in order to appear more attractive to a potential employer. In some cases, a career coach can help you get on the right track toward employment.

What Does a Career Coach Do?

A career coach should be able to help you figure out what skill sets you have, and how they can be applied to various jobs — including the job you might be looking for. A good career coach provides direction in the following areas:

  • Interview skills
  • Resume building
  • Cover letter composition
  • Skills development
  • Industry knowledge and guidance
  • How to present yourself in written and in-person communication.
  • Proper etiquette related to the job search (writing thank you notes, etc.)
  • Tips for networking online and offline.

A good career counselor or coach takes the time to get to know you, and make specific suggestions related to the industry you are trying to work in. The right career coach should be able to provide you with useful and actionable information that can benefit your job search. It’s best if you choose a career coach with experience in your field, or a closely related field, if you want better results.

How Much will it Cost?

Career coaches can be expensive. Many charge between $75 and $100 an hour, or you might pay a flat rate for a full-day session. (Be careful; some full-day sessions might include group sessions, which wouldn’t provide you with as much one-on-one time.) Because of how expensive a career coach can be, it is important to check for credentials, and success rate, before committing. Some career counselors will meet with you for 15 minutes, or half an hour, for free, in order to provide you with a preview of their services.

Before you go to an expensive career counselor, though, it can help to look elsewhere. If you are in college, or a recent graduate, consider visiting your university’s career center. Often, you can get career coaching, and basic, helpful tips, free of charge. There might also be community outreach resources in your area, that can help. Many cities have some sort of workforce services and some churches and charities might have career counselors available free of charge, or for a low cost. For some, paying a couple hundred dollars for a session or two yields good results, while others find it’s a waste of time and money. A lot of it has to do with your coach, and how experienced and knowledgeable he or she truly is.

Maybe a Headhunter Would Work Better

If you have high qualifications, and aren’t sure where to go to for help finding jobs, a headhunter might be a better choice. In many cases, headhunters work for companies that are looking for highly qualified candidates. While some headhunters do charge job seekers, many of them offer their services for free to job seekers. Instead, they are paid by the employer — and often receive a percentage of your first year’s salary. As a result, these headhunters are rather picky about who they represent. They’ll only work with top candidates, so you will need to have solid qualifications if you want a headhunter’s help.