The use of career coaches is on the rise. Career coaches are in the business of offering you advice and services that will help you take the next step in your career. Ranging from resume writing to job search advice and more, using a career coach can be an investment worth its weight in gold. But, with hourly rates between $100-$150 and more, some professionals cannot afford a career coach’s services. For these professionals, I recommend tapping into your trusted network of friends, family, and associates.There are definite advantages-and disadvantages-of using your friends, family, and associates for career advice. One advantage to asking family members for feedback is that your family knows you much better than would a career coach, and they can offer advice that would be in your best interests. In addition, family members will most likely be straightforward and honest with their feedback, whereas others-including friends and co-workers-may “sugarcoat” the truth. However, one disadvantage of this situation is that you run the risk of offending your family members if you do not follow their advice. If this is the case, be prepared to not be able to broach the subject in conversation again with your family members, lest it becomes a source of friction.
An advantage to seeking the advice from workmates is that these peers may be able to draw from direct industry experience and insider knowledge-two assets that a career coach may not possess. Peers from within your industry will probably have a wealth of knowledge of the inner workings of the industry, and what professional opportunities are available to professionals in your field and level of expertise. Although your peers may not offer up such sensitive information about salary and other benefits, you can still gain a tremendous amount of valuable advice from your professional associates.
Former business associates, clients, and managers can also be invaluable sounding boards and advisors. If you have had a productive and agreeable relationship with these professionals, you may be able to ask them for their advice on your business decisions. Keep in mind that many of your senior work associates have traveled the same career path as you, and they can offer invaluable insight into career decisions.
Whether or not you can afford a career coach, consider using your friends, family, and business associates as career consultants. From advice on resumes and cover letters to whether you should pursue an MBA, these trusted people in your life can provide insight into your work-related concerns.