What’s It Like to Work with a Career Coach? One Student’s Experience.

Intrax Chicago - International Food

Intrax Chicago – International Food

Congratulations to Megan Knight!

Today she starts her new job as Student Advisor at Intrax, working with international students who are in Chicago studying English. She will help match them with companies in Chicago for short term internships and help them prepare for college in the US.

This is a great match for Megan and her language studies and study abroad experiences.

Here’s how her experience went with me:

On Friday, June 21st, I sent her my report with comments on Megan’s résumé and two cover letters (a “Quick Check” package).  I included advice that appears in this blog all the time:

You do a great job highlighting your experiences… It’s also important to explicitly connect those experiences to the specific job ad for two reasons: 1) the employers won’t make the connections for you 2) machines read for key words & select the applications that will pass through human hands

You might be selling yourself short. For example, you DO have more than 2 years experience in a post-secondary environment in Chile. Put that information front-and-center!  Same with program management and implementation–both with your teaching and with the volunteer position at the Ministry of Education.  I put specific comments on the letters, but it’s just a matter of presenting your experience with program management and implementation (which you do very well in the letters), then calling that experience “program management and implementation,” and explicitly connecting the dots for the employers by saying ‘I will use this to design, manage and implement your X program.’…

You do an excellent job of using your international experiences to market your professional strengths and that’s what I’m all about! Too many people just write the word “Spanish” under skills and don’t provide the amazing details from their language majors & minors that illustrate all these important professional strengths.  I put a lot of comments to this effect on your documents. 

For your first career job, it is conventional wisdom that [the résumé] should be only one page.  I’ve suggested ways you could maximize the space by leaving out some of your “script” that you use in every letter so that you can add key words specific to the job ad.

Please use what you can from my comments and don’t feel like you have to address every single suggestion that I make.  A few tweaks and you will be on your way!

On Saturday, June 22nd, Megan wrote to me:

I’m just about done editing my cover letters – they look 9235023592 times better than before!

Then on Friday, June 28th Megan wrote to me:

I should let you know that I applied to the two places you checked my cover letters for, and I also applied to another study abroad company and I used your techniques and wrote a cover letter using the key words from the job posting and the next day they called me for a phone interview! So now I’m hoping they call back for an in person interview. I definitely feel more confident writing cover letters now, thanks to you!

I replied with a few links to blog posts here and here that offer interview advice as well as my Pinterest board.

On Thursday, July 11th, Megan wrote:

Guess what??? I got the job!!!!!! You are talking to the new Student Advisor at Intrax, working with international students who are in Chicago studying English!! I will help match them with companies in Chicago for short term internships and help them prepare for college in the US. I couldn’t be happier!!! Thank you so much for helping me with my cover letters and résumé! I start on Monday 🙂

Such a proud moment!

I share the correspondence between Megan and me so that you can see how the process of career coaching goes: what the coach contributes, what you have to bring to the process, and the results that can be achieved.

And even though Megan and I are both in Chicago, we have never met in person! It’s easy to do all this online.

Darcy Lear is a Chicago-based career coach specializing in training students to highlight their language studies so they standout in the job search and workplace. For one-on-one coaching or to set up a workshop, contact Darcy: darcylear@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Career Advice, document preparation, interview prep. Bookmark the permalink.

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