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Episode 22 – What Career Professional Should I Hire?

This week, I wanted to talk about the differences between a career coach, a career counselor and a recruiter so you can choose the best professional to help you when wanting to change jobs. 


To find the full show notes, go to Recovering


We’ve all been there - feeling stuck or feeling like something is missing in our career. Sometimes we want to start our own business, sometimes we just flat out hate our jobs and sometimes we love what we do but we just need better opportunities. 


Whatever the case may be, hiring a professional can be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only have they done it themselves (most of the time), but they know the tools and tricks to get you the job quicker and most likely, into a job that you’ll love. 


But with all of the career roles out there, how do you know which one to hire? 


Listen in as I go through all the 3 roles regarding career change so you can pick the best one which fits your needs. 


And FYI, this is all my opinion so if you have any questions, comments or corrections, please let me know!


Before I begin there is a quick note I want to stress. You may be stuck and looking for someone to tell you what you should be doing. None of these roles will do that and if they do, I wouldn’t listen. Why? Because the only person who knows you best is you. 


It would be like going to a restaurant and asking the waitress, ‘what should I eat for dinner’? I don't know! What do you like? What do you feel like having? 


Everything that goes on between these 3 roles, the advice, guidance, tips, etc., should only be used to help empower you to make a decision. That's why it’s important to know what exact help you need.


Career transitions aren’t always easy but they go so much smoother when you have the right support during the way. That's why I am going to discuss 3 roles that help professionals during a career transition.


Now that we have that addressed, it’s time to jump in.


Career Counselor / Career Services Provider

I will start off with a Career Counselor or a Career Services Provider. 


FYI I will use Career Counselor vs saying both Career counselor or Career services provider as they are both the same thing, the only difference is a career counselor has a background in psychology. 


A Career Counselor is someone who provides you information and advice to help you find a job. They take an educational approach, using assessments and theories, to help you find a career that is right for you.


They provide you industry knowledge and tactical support to help you along the way, such as building your resume, cover letter and preparing you for interviews. I say this type of role is really more if you are new to the workforce or trying to decide what to major in, etc.


Most of us have had experience with a Career Counselor before. In HS, we worked with our guidance counselor on finding what career we should pursue. Which would translate into what majors or colleges we should choose.  

In my opinion, their goal (at least for people in the workforce) is to get you a job as soon as possible (vs a coach who may want you to take the time to really get to know yourself to find out what a dream career would be for you so you're not in the same situation again two years down the line).


And FYI if your goal is to get in a career as fast as possible, a coach can do that too, it’s just that they would rather you to be in a career you love.


Career counselors also usually work with a very large number of clients so they only have so much time for each person. There is a process, they run you through it and then you hopefully get a job. 


In terms of cost, I would say it’s pretty cost effective to have a career counselor as most of these roles are in a government funded place, like a school, college, county office.. 


To sum it up, if you are a professional looking for a career change, I believe you already have the skills that a career counselor would provide to you. And if you don’t, you can just google to figure out what it is that you need. 


However, if you are stuck, not sure where to go next, looking for something more, or someone who has the time to ensure you get the results you’re looking for, then a coach would be the best option for you.


Career Coach

Now a Career Coach is similar and (at least for me) does all the same things as a career counselor does, including reviewing resumes, cover letters, interview prep, etc.


However, they take a deeper dive into your life, experiences, values, strengths and interests and also take your personality into consideration. 


Career counselors want you to pick a path and roll with it as they want you employed now. Career coaches will help you find meaning in your career, a career that drives you, a career that gives you purpose. If you’re going to be spending ⅓ of your life at work, it better be in something you love, or at least like a little bit!

A coach takes the time to listen, not to say a career counselor doesn’t, it’s just that coaches have the time for each client and are trained in communication skills to listen between the lines.


We will also help you stay accountable and figure out where you are getting in your own way. 


In just a few sessions, you will have a much better understanding of the sense of career you want that is going to make you the most satisfied and successful. Then you’ll be in a great place to develop an action plan to get there.

In addition, a coach is also going to provide motivation/ transformation work so you won’t need to hire someone again. You’ll build those skills and change your mindset which will, in my opinion, change your perspective and therefore your life.


And quick side note, a career coach does more than just helping you find a job. If you need help navigating any part of your career, a career coach can help. This is the only one out of the three roles that can do that. 


In terms of cost, career coaches set their own fees so they can charge whatever they want. It all depends on their skills, education and experience.


In summary, if you are stuck and just have no idea what for your future career or if you want to change anything about your career, then a career coach is your best option.



Now, a recruiters job is to find candidates with specific skills and experience requested by an employer. I’m not saying they don’t care about you being in a job you love, but their goal is to fill roles. Why? Because that’s how most of them get paid!

They are going to ask you the type of jobs you want and try to find openings for your desire. But for the most part, they are not going to help you figure it out. Working with a recruiter is the last step in the process. You know what you want and they help you find the opportunities. 


Now some will help you, in a basic maner, figure out what it is that you want to do, only because they don’t want to get a call from the hiring manager who says the person only lasted so long. They are not only measured by filing roles but how well they are filled.


Now a career counselor or career coach can help you look for opportunities but that is not the main focus of our practice. Our role is more assisting what's next for you.


We are guiding you through the process where recruiters are just out there sending your resume out to various positions. 

Career counselors or coaches may even suggest you reach out to a few recruiters in the field you want to go into for better success.

In terms of cost, the recruiters are paid by the employers so technically they are free. But remember, whoever foots the bill is getting the best service. 

To close on this section, if you know what you want and applying online and networking just isn’t working for you, then a recruiter may be your best bet. 

To sum everything up discussed today, there is a lot of overlap between the roles and they are not mutually exclusive either. You may even find people that offer services of all 3!


The best advice I can give to you is to find someone that you click with, who you feel comfortable with and who has the proven skills and experience to help you.

Training is important but as you know, there are really smart, highly educated people who seem to be missing a few screws and some people with no formal training, just experience and they are 100X better. 

If you have any questions or want to see how I can help you, feel free to reach out anytime at 


Stay inspired and live powerfully,

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