I’m not a career coach, and that’s okay

pen_night_writerOkay, so by default, I weave guidance into my in-depth resume writing processes that smacks of coaching.  Recently, Recruiting Animal (@Animal) took note of this in his blog post: “The Resume Writer.”

However, today, I beg to differentiate myself: I am a word wrangler, message clarifier and career story teller (i.e., resume writer) – not a career coach. At the end of the day, my clients hire me for the influential ‘words’ that erupt from the virtual and literal pages that we create, for the words that spring from their lips during job interviews, networking conversations or when caught unaware in casual conversation.

As well, my job as a career writer is to push, prod, ask the reporter’s ‘who, what, where, when and why’ questions, drive for deeper understanding of where the job seeker has been and even more importantly, provide them the spade to unearth their unique value drivers that help define where they want to go!

As a good career reporter, I do my research. This involves a barrage of questions, the answers of which often lie dormant in the job hunter’s head and involve intellectually rigorous recovery and regurgitation (My clients work hard! Likewise, I lift intellectual weights on their behalf!). Moreover, the job seekers I write for find themselves performing research to illustrate their go-forward goals.

Serious about my writing trade, I maintain ongoing niche-specific credentials (including Master Resume Writer) qualifying me to build the engine for a job seeker’s career vehicle, tapping the job seeker’s truth and powering it up with word fuel that drives the message home to the target reader. It’s all about the audience reading the story, after all!

It’s been bugging me for awhile, this tendency to lump resume writers and coaches into one entity, almost as if to say, that without adding ‘coaching’ to our label, then we’re ‘just’ resume writers with perceived lower value.

I applaud my resume writing colleagues who equally market their career coaching and resume writing talents, for many are passionate about blending the two professions. However, that’s not me. My overriding value proposition is my career reporting skills: abilities in in-depth research, asking the driving questions, unearthing career gold nuggets, whittling 25 pages of career brain dump down to 2-3 crisp, compelling and focused pages, and marketing the job seeker’s value to the right reader, influencing them to call.

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21 Comments on “I’m not a career coach, and that’s okay”

  1. Martha Says:

    Nice, honest blog. I think you do a beautiful job as a “word wrangler” and “message clarifier.”:)

  2. I feel the same way in the other direction…I am not a resume writer – I am a career coach. I will gladly refer you to clients 🙂

  3. Rosa Vargas Says:

    Your message has been so eloquently conveyed, Jacqui. Exceptional job and outstanding point as to how we Certified Resume Writers orchestrate the entire resume writing process from client interview to dossier completion.

    After a well-managed information gathering process, the client often feels they have been “coached.” To echo what you have so masterfully written, when you are an expert resume writer, clients reap benefits beyond possessing an interview-capturing resume. Yet, that does not make a resume writer a coach and for sure many of us are not “just” resume writers.

    • careertrend Says:

      Hi Rosa!

      I love the idea of ‘orchestrating…writing process from client interview to dossier completion.’ Well put!

      The client ‘feeling they’ve been coached’ is another excellent point. Although I’ve been ‘certified’ in interview coaching and coaching spills into the resume process, my overall focus/training centers on sharpening my career writing saw.

      Thanks for your eloquent comments!


  4. Ditto: I, too am not a resume writer. It’s a specialty that it’s easy to see you’d be terrific at. You’ve honed your skills and know what you can do well and stick to that.As a career coach for a specialized niche, people with chronic illness, I find that it’s key to know what you can and can’t do, what you know and where to go when you don’t know it.

    • careertrend Says:

      Nice, Rosalind.

      I can always count on you for recapping and restating the core message of a blog post or article.

      Your abilities in showcasing your career coaching niche through your tweets, blog posts, books and articles you write and are interviewed for, impress me.

      Thank you for reading and commenting today,

  5. Jacqui,

    Perfectly put.

    I agree and am proud to share the same ‘resume writer’ title as you. 🙂

    Erin Kennedy

  6. Dawn Bugni Says:

    Beautifully put Jacqui!

    I too guide and prod career wonderfulness out of my clients, but am quick to refer them to trained professionals who specialize in interview and career coaching if necessary. I’m doing my clients a disservice to do otherwise. Intensive coaching is not what I do.

    On the flip side, when I get the occasional “Do you type resumes?” query, I am quick to point out I’m not a typist either. I pry and help uncover hidden talents and skills from clients and create targeted, compelling, interviewing-landing sales and marketing documents from that data. In turn, those documents support career advancement or change. Yes, I type during the process, but that’s only the tip of the ice berg.

    From one lexicon lover to another: marvelous definition of the distinction.

    • careertrend Says:

      Thank you, Dawn, and fellow lexicon lover!

      You further clarified my point by saying that you refer job seekers to career coaching specialists, if needed, for ‘intensive coaching.’ (YES!)

      I often refer clients to career coaches when the clients need more intensive coaching to determine ‘what they want to do next’ in their career. Sometimes, I don’t refer them to a coach because I sense that if they just jump into the processes with me, they will refine their focus through our in-depth worksheet and ‘interview.’

      Prying and uncovering hidden talents blends encouraging, coaching, consulting, directing, etc. — MUCH, much more than typing a resume. Whether the coaching I provide (by default!)will satisfy my client’s career search goals, or whether they first (or concurrently) should seek out a career coach, the value proposition I provide extends well beyond just resume writing, but at the end of the day, I’m proud to call myself a writer and not a coach 🙂

      Thanks for helping me further clarify my message through this conversation of words!


  7. Deb Dib Says:

    Jaqui, beautifully written post!

    Call yourself what you will, I KNOW you wrap coaching and branding into your process. All great resume writers do, and YOU are a great resume writer. As writing is your passion, I think coaching is just a subordinate value-add in your process –one that is just so natural to you I’m not sure you even realize you do it 🙂

    Your clients are VERY lucky to have you on their team (as are Erin’s)!

    Your admiring colleague,
    Deb Dib

    • Daisy Wright Says:

      Amen Deb Dib! Just saw your post after I submitted mine, and we’re pretty much saying the same thing.


    • careertrend Says:

      Deb – thank you!

      What supportive words arriving from a mentor who, over the years, has helped me clarify and lift my value proposition message to new heights! Your coaching gave me courage to grow as an entrepreneur and resume writer.

      I love your language re: coaching as a ‘subordinate value-add’ in my process.

      Thank you for your clarifying thoughts! I’ll continually admire your writing, coaching, branding and mentoring talents … and footprint on the careers industry.


  8. Daisy Wright Says:

    Nicely put Jacqui, and you can be whoever you want to be, although I love “word wrangler”.

    Anyway, many people shy away from the word ‘coach’ because of some myths about coaching, counselling, etc. etc. and where to draw the line. As both a career coach and resume writer, I know that some of the skills that professional resume writers use to extract information from reticent clients, is coaching at its best. That said, those of us who have known you for a while (some of us, virtually), we will gladly give you any label you wish :-)!


    • careertrend Says:

      Hi Daisy!

      I like being a word wrangler! … and if coaching weaves its way into my practice, then so be it 😉

      I’m a huge advocate of career and business coaches. I collaborate with and have referral relationships with excellent career coaches. I have hired 2 different and wonderful career and business coaches to advance MY career over the years and have garnered direct ROI from those relationships.

      Thanks for allowing me the label resume writer. I consider it the tip of the iceberg, and a quick snapshot of what I do. As Deb said, writing is my passion, and I feel it is my primary focus and value!

      I am certain that your resume writing and coaching practice blends nicely to provide your clients exemplary value. I like your language referring to resume writers using coaching to “extract information from reticent clients” (well put!).

      Thanks Daisy!


  9. Hi Jacqui, I have struggled with the same issues and find it amusing. I loved your “word wrangler!” I market myself primarily as a resume writer because I am not certified as a career coach but as I work with my clients, I find that what I do goes beyond writing the resume and suspect you do too. It is hard not to interact with clients and not end up coaching as Daisy said. Their needs are so apparent and the job search has transformed so much with the advent of online job posting, social media, and networking that for me it all gets combined. But your writing skills are engaging and anything but “just a resume writer.”

    • careertrend Says:

      Hi Julie!
      I understand what you are saying about the struggle, etc. I think what you point about about ‘not’ being certified as a career coach is a key point for me. I focus my continuing education and training ‘primarily’ on the resume writing side.

      Though clearly there is overlap between being a resume writer and career coach (and I’ve even taken weekend-long training to become certified as an interview coach), I believe there is a fine distinction between coaching/writing.

      As I firmly encourage my clients to do, I have targeted my focus and value proposition to the writing side!:)

      Glad you like ‘word wrangler’ – though obviously I didn’t coin that label, I embrace it!

      Thanks again, Julie!

  10. Robert Says:

    Great post babe, I am continually awed by your “word wrangling” skills.

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