Should You Work With a Recruiter or a Career Coach?
Deb Ward / JANUARY 25 2021

When you’re looking for a new job and decide to get some help along the way, you may want to consider the differences between using a career coach vs. a recruiter.  This article will describe how each professional works when to use each one, and what your expectations should be. 

What does a recruiter do? Recruiters work for a company or an agency to fill current openings with the most qualified candidates they can find. And when they find that person, they can only recommend them to the company that hired them to fill the opening.

What do career coaches do? Career coaches work for you. They assist in helping you identify your goals, understand your strengths, explore your passions, work on your resume and interviewing skills and basically guide you every step of the way toward finding the best fit for your career.

How do you know which one to hire? 

Career coaches will help you with the following:

  • I am miserable at work but I don’t know what to do next – I’m stuck
  • I know what I’d like to do, but I don’t have the experience
  • I’ve applied all over, but I’m not getting any responses
  • I haven’t been promoted and need to know why
  • I can get an interview, but I never get an offer
  • I need help with my LinkedIn profile and my resume
  • I’m considering a major career change

Recruiters are helpful when:

  • You know what job you want and you need to get the interview
  • You’re really good at interviewing and just want more job options
  • You’ve already worked with a career coach and are ready to get the job
  • You know what you’re looking for and want to be matched to the right company
  • You’d like to expand your network and industry introductions

In hospitality, there are so many sectors to consider. You may start out as a desk agent in a hotel, and later decide you want to stay in the industry, but try a different area. Is a sales position right for you? Concierge? What about group sales or event planning?  How do you choose and what do you need to do to make a change? Do you want to move into a resort setting? What about travel? At this point, you don’t even know what to ask or where to go to figure it out.

These are things that a career coach can help you sort out.  Be aware, however, you will need to pay hourly for their expertise and assistance. As you advance in your career, it may make sense to invest in your long-term goals instead of drifting from one job to the next and never really understanding why it’s not working. Just be sure you find a coach through a referral or a thorough online search and identify someone you can trust with your professional wellbeing. This is a long-term investment in your future.

If you do know the direction you want to go, have a specific position or company in mind, and are ready to make a move, then a recruiter may be the right choice. The recruiter is typically paid by the agency or company they’re working for. Perhaps you’re currently working in a hotel kitchen and want to move into a convention or sports event venue, or maybe you have recently been certified as a Sommelier and want to make a move to a high-end resort. What if you’ve decided you like the casino environment and are planning a move to Las Vegas in the near future?

It makes sense to cultivate a relationship with 3 or 4 recruiters that you can contact routinely. They will each represent different companies and have different positions to fill. You may learn about some new venues that you were previously unaware of and benefit from some new information from those who are talking with hiring managers every day.

Conclusion: You don’t need to go it alone. If you really want to advance professionally, make a major shift in your career path or have someone guide you to the next level, it makes sense to use a trained specialist. Make sure you choose the right professional to get you where you’re going. 

You may need to use both…strategize with a career coach and when you know what you want, reach out to a recruiter who can put you in touch with hiring managers that you may not be able to reach on your own.