Over the last few years, our website has received a little over 2,500 form submissions from people who were seeking help with their career. These submissions showed us some interesting trends about what career services people are seeking and consider engaging in. We found this data fascinating and want to share it with you.
2,500 form submissions!
On our website, we have a pretty simple form for people to request a free one-on-one career consultation – you can see it on the right. The last question on that form is, “How can we help you?” The responses we get are very genuine and thoughtful. They are also very insightful. We can see things like:
- when people come to a career coach
- what career services they want
- what their current struggle is
- what their goals are
Top career services
We read every comment on these 2,500 form submissions. It has helped us understand the career challenges people are experiencing and how we may be able to help. Sometimes, particular career services were asked for, but most times people wrote their challenges, described their symptoms or listed the things they wanted to achieve. We removed any identifying information and categorized the answers. Many submissions counted towards two or even three services! We were able to identify 6 career services that garnered 80% of the data points. Here they are:
- Resume Writing 27.0%
- Career Exploration 26.9%
- Career Transition 19.6%
- Job Search 18.4%
- Interview Preparation 11.7%
- Career Development 11.2%
We let the words people put in our website form define the categories as well as the number of categories. We then gave them names which, as you’d expect, match career services we offer on our website. Curiously, the definitions from the data were slightly different than how we defined them! We’re now updating those web pages.
Career services definitions
The key to drawing insights from this data is understanding the definitions. Below are definitions derived from the data as well as unedited samples:
Resume Services: inquiries who specifically mentioned needing assistance in reviewing or writing a Resume and/or LinkedIn profile.
need help rewriting my resume
You helped me re-do my resume in the past. I’ve had a new position in the last year and need your help including it in my resume (and maybe changing the focus).
Career Exploration: you need help determining what jobs/careers would fit you best. You don’t know what career is right for you but you feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled in your current job and career path. You don’t know what it is but you’re ready to explore who you are and find a better career fit that will result in a great job you love.
I’m in a “good” job that’s very comfortable, but I don’t enjoy the work and I don’t feel like I’m growing or doing what I want to do in life but I also don’t know what that may be.
I need to find out how to best utilize my skills and background to find a fulfilling career that I love.
Career Transition: There are two common transition scenarios. 1) You’ve had a big change at your employer or in your life and your career needs to change too. 2) You know what you want to do or what industry you want to be in and need assistance figuring out how to make that move. In both of these scenarios, you need help leveraging your existing experience, branding yourself properly and then figuring out how to successfully land the right job.
I need consultation regarding a career shift from the tech industry to starting a non-profit.
I am recently divorced and transitioning into a full-time career. My pre-mom years in the workforce were spent as a successful recruiter and recruiting manager.
Job Search: inquiries who were actively trying to find a job but expressed challenges getting job offers. They are looking for strategies around applying for job openings, networking, and professional branding.
I am looking for assistance in resume preparation, job search, interviewing, and salary negotiations.
Getting interviews but not offers.
Interview Preparation: inquiries who were getting interviews but not many offers and wanted an objective assessment of their interviewing ability as well as how to get better.
Looking to identify a new fulfilling career path, position my skills and transition into that career. Possibly also interested in resume/LinkedIn review and interview coaching. Just took MBTI / Strong assessment and would like help with the next steps.
I am struggling with my interview skills. I need professional help.
Career Development: it’s about the future and looking ahead. You want to either 1) proactively develop a long-term career plan, 2) develop existing skills, address a skill gap, or overcome a current obstacle or 3) prepare yourself for an upcoming opportunity. You have a vision of where you want to be and need a deliberate plan and be held accountable to reach your goal.
I am looking for help on communication, getting what I need from coworkers and feeling confident in making decisions.
I am interested in professional coaching. I need to improve my self-confidence and presence with executive leadership. I would also like to explore career goals and a possible shift.
Key observations and takeaways
- One of our key takeaways was that career coaches and career counselors need to do a better job of defining common terms and broadcasting their meanings. This will help individuals find the right professional to work with more easily and quickly. It also helps people communicate what they are experiencing and feeling which is easier said than done!
- Many clients come in asking us for one thing but really need something else. As individuals, we look to what the most pressing need is (e.g. a resume) but aren’t able to see the deeper challenge (e.g. what their best career options are). Please read our post titled, A New Resume is Not the Answer, for more on this.
- The terms counseling, consulting and coaching are used interchangeably but often meant the same thing to those seeking a career shift or tactical help. The training needed for career counseling, career consulting and career coaching are different. Individuals need to ensure they are getting the right assistance from the professional who can most help them.
- Challenges hit at all ages, all positions, all management levels and in all types of organizations. They hit at all times of the year. Our data proved this, however, see the notes below.
- The “corporate world” is the biggest source of inquiries and it’s mostly people who are close to a major metropolitan area.
- “Challenges” are rarely just about career. They are usually sparked by changes in your life which then manifest as challenges with your job.
- While every situation is unique and every individual is unique, most career challenges fit into a limited number of categories.
We know that you may feel alone in your career challenges, but know that you aren’t alone! While our clients’ challenges are all highly personalized, there are many others who are experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, lost, stuck, or even discouraged about a future career journey. Know that you can realize your potential, find the right career path, and experience connectedness and fulfillment in your career!
Please note the following about this data and the insights we are drawing…
- Many of these form submissions came from our services pages. Undoubtedly, this influenced the terms people used and symptoms that they listed.
- We believe these 6 career services are representative of the United States, as a whole, however, our data primarily came from residents in the 4 major metropolitan areas in Texas.
- There are other career services (e.g. executive coaching) that would probably be in the top 6 but didn’t get included because of the demographic we target. Soon, we’ll have similar data from our parent executive coaching company, Coaching 4 Good that focuses on executive coaching, leadership development and career advancement.