For weeks, we’ve been helping you prepare for the Hire UCLA Career and Internship Fair because it could open the door to your dream job. But here’s the truth: one day when you’re at that job, you’ll probably find yourself dreaming of another role entirely. It may be the next step on your path or your first job in a new field. You might even change your goals for your current job search. And that’s a good thing. Most adults today will switch jobs several times over the course of a career. That’s why InsideTrack offers support for your entire career journey.
InsideTrack Career Coaching works with students at every career stage, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just printing out your first resume. Coaches help you clarify your goals, find job opportunities and get ready for interviews. They can also help turn your trip to the fair into the first step on a rewarding career journey.
Kim Black and Tina Jones, InsideTrack Career Coaches, will share their tips for career success at a webinar on April 10. Here, Black answers questions about building a professional brand, why career coaching might surprise you, and the best thing you can do to prepare for the Hire UCLA Career & Internship Fair.
Q: When’s the best time to start career coaching?
A: We work with people in various stages of their career journey — people who are just preparing to graduate, and people who are looking to do a career transition or a career pivot. If you’re a junior at UCLA and you’re trying to figure out what to do with your degree, a coach can help clarify your career outcomes. And, if you’ve been working in your career for 10 or more years, then your coach can help you leverage your skill set in a particular way for your future position. Anytime is a good time to start working with a career coach, no matter where you are on your career journey.
Q: How does the focus of coaching change for different stages of the career journey?
A: Typically I find that people who are thinking about graduation have questions around clarifying what their career outcomes are and how they will use their degree. We do a lot of brainstorming around their unique skills and strengths. We also focus on creating job search materials, like a resume and social media brand. For people who have been in their career for 10 or more years, it’s about maintaining that brand.
Q: What’s your advice for maintaining a professional social media brand?
A: These are living documents that should be revisited all of the time. Even if it might feel like it’s a chore, we all need to have a different mindset when we approach branding and our online presence. Your brand is being created for you whether you like it or not. It’s something that you have control over and something that’s so important in the workforce these days.
Q: Tell me something about career coaching that people might not expect.
A: Some people are surprised that your career coach doesn’t have to be an industry expert. That’s not what coaches are there for. They’re there to help you get some of that industry information if that’s what you need, but also to help you strategize on how you can gain the clarity you’re looking for. Career coaches are very skilled at asking you the right questions to get you thinking about what you need so you feel empowered to move forward in your career journey.
Q: What are some of the most common challenges or struggles that career coaching can address?
A: The job search process is full of ups and downs. It’s a huge roller coaster. Someone could get 10 rejections in a week, and maybe zero offers in a month or two. It can be quite taxing. Career coaches are skilled at working with you through all of the ups and downs, to make sure that you’re still feeling motivated when you have those 10 rejections, or to push you a bit if you’re not exactly meeting the goals you’ve set for yourself. The emotional component of coaching is really important, especially during the lows of the job search process.
Q: What about the successes? Is there a career success that stands out in your mind?
A: A student I’m working with at UCLA is trying to career pivot into creative writing, but she’s been having a hard time landing a position in that field. We’ve been working on strategies for expanding her network. We’ve been exploring who in her current network could refer her to people at her ideal industries and companies. It turns out that one of her colleagues in another country has a connection with an executive at one of her ideal companies. She went along on a ride with this colleague to drop off some documents for the executive. The executive had no idea that she would be coming along. But as a result of showing up, she was actually able to get a reference from the executive for a job she had applied for. She was able to think creatively about how to use her network, and she was courageous enough to do something most people wouldn’t try.
Q: Have you ever received career coaching? How has it helped you?
A: I have my own career coach. I think all coaches should have coaches! There is always something that can be improved upon, and there is a lot of value in brainstorming with someone who has no real investment other than making sure that you’re achieving your own outcomes. I’d been wanting to update my professional branding for a while. My coach was able to help me clarify the messaging that I wanted to portray with my own brand, and also keep me accountable to make sure I’m doing it within the time frame I’d set for myself. As professionals, we always think there are things we should be doing. Working with a coach, I was able to turn those “shoulds” into real, actionable items that I could accomplish.
Q: What would you say to someone thinking about trying InsideTrack Career Coaching?
A: You’ll never really know the value of working with a career coach until you experience it. I would encourage everyone who’s on the fence about it to try it out. Visit the website, watch the videos, and try it out. You’ll get an introductory phone session after you sign up.
Q: Let’s talk about your upcoming webinar. What’s your number one tip for attending a career fair?
A: Have a game plan before you go. And that game plan should involve being prepared with your elevator pitch and practicing that elevator pitch a number of different ways, depending on who you’re talking to. The game plan should also involve setting realistic goals for yourself. By that I mean, you don’t want to go thinking that you’re going to come out of there with a job. That’s just not realistic. Set some clear goals for yourself, like “I want to connect with five recruiters in my industry.” Or, “I want to collect five business cards.”
Q: What will people get out of your Career Coaching webinar?
A: That’s just one tip. People who attend the webinar will get five to 10 more tips like that to help them on their career journeys.
Register for the Career Fair Prep Webinar on April 10 here.