What is the Difference Between a Career Coach and a Recruiter?

June 7, 2018
Career Development

What is the difference between a career coach and a recruiter, sometimes known as a “headhunter?” There’s actually a huge difference!

A recruiter or a recruiting agency like Elysian Staffing works on behalf of companies to identify qualified professionals to fill a specific job, or work on a specific project. While recruiters might help to prepare you for some interviews, go over your resume, and guide you through the process a little, a recruiter’s job is not to help you find a career or industry direction.

On the other side of things, there are career coaches. A career coach doesn’t necessarily match you to jobs, and is not working to fill a position on behalf of a company. Instead, a career coach works with you personally and professionally to help you find direction or meaning. While they’re two different needs, that’s not to say you can’t see a career coach and a recruiter at the same time. In fact, doing so may just double your chances of successfully finding a new job. However, it’s still helpful to know when you might want to seek help from a career coach, and when you’ll most benefit from working with a recruiter.

Here’s how to know the difference and when:

When to work with a recruiter
If you love the industry you work in and the kinds of positions you’ve had, but you’re looking for something new, a recruiter is most likely the best way to go.
Recruiters are best for:

  • Networking and industry introductions
  • Expertise in jobs in your industry
  • Landing a job at a specific company or in a specific industry
  • When you know the exact position or job you want
  • You’ve already worked with a career coach and feel ready for a new job

A common misconception is that recruiters exist to help you with a job search, which is actually not the case. Recruiters work for the company that has hired them to fill a job. However, that doesn’t mean that recruiters don’t want to help you land a job. We do!  Recruiters can connect you with jobs and companies that they see as a good fit based on your skills and experience. Although recruiters can offer insight into the marketplace and give tips on how to improve your resume and places to job search, they typically don’t offer a deep dive into why you aren’t getting a job or how to rewrite your resume.

Building relationships with multiple recruiters and recruiting agencies, as well as continuously networking with them, is a great way to increase your chances of landing a job when you know exactly what you’re looking for already.

When to work with a career coach
If you’re actively looking for new jobs, or feel dispassionate and unsatisfied with your career or job, seeking out a career coach might be the best thing to do.

Career coaches are best for:  

  • Resume and CV advice
  • Building confidence and motivation
  • Finding direction

Perhaps you’re not sure if you’re looking in the right places for the kind of work you envision yourself doing. You might even feel uncertain about continuing to pursue the career you’ve always assumed you were destined to stick with, or feel totally unsure of what you want to do at all. This is where a career coach comes in.

Working with a career coach is the good step to take when you’re looking to reinvent your resume, make a change, take on a new challenge or switch careers or industries. Figuring out exactly what you want to do can be extremely difficult if it’s just you at your desk, asking yourself questions and overthinking, or lying awake at night wondering where your career is going.

A career coach will guide you through the process of figuring out what you want and need, provide you with insights you’ve perhaps never thought of before, and give you a sense of direction. A career coach will do this with tools that will help clear the fog so you can see the path to take that is in-line with your core values and pursue your next step confidently. It’s also a great resource if you’ve applied to many jobs and haven’t seen results, or if you’re thinking of attempting a major career pivot but don’t even know where to start.

Do you feel like your resume and portfolio is great but also feel totally paralyzed by the interview process? A career coach can help you create your authentic story to tell in interviews so that you can confidently walk in to your next interview.  

Whatever situation you might feel stuck in, working with a career coach can help you feel unstuck. They might not necessarily land you a job directly, but they’ll help you build valuable skills, give you insights into why you might be stuck, and help you feel more confident moving forward.
Do you still have questions? Feel free to contact us!

All the best