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How to hire a career coach - and not get screwed

Sep. 4, 2012 - 11:32AM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 4, 2012 - 11:32AM  |  
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Your job hunt stalls and you decide to hire a career coach, but several months after meeting with your coach, you're not one step closer to a job — and you're out hundreds of dollars in fees. But it didn't have to be that way. Here's how not to waste your time and money:

* Ask for recommendations. Choose a career coach after talking to others who have successfully used the coach.

* Interview the coach. Before meeting for the first time, check out the coach's LinkedIn profile, but be prepared to ask about his or her qualifications in person.

* Request specifics. Find out what tools and resources will be used in your career strategy, and ask for the coach's perspective on career searches.

* Know the expectations. Many job seekers are unpleasantly surprised to learn they may spend hours working on just one assignment from a career coach. Ask about the work you will do and how long it will take.

* Get a reality check. Even though the economy is improving, companies are being very picky about new employees. Ask the coach upfront about obstacles you may encounter.

* Have an exit strategy. Don't be afraid to state in any contract that it can be terminated if expectations aren't being met.

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