Saturday, February 16, 2013

Advice from a Career Coach: How can I help a classmate with their off-campus job search?

Kendell Brown

By Kendell Brown
Associate Director - Coaching and Development, Graduate Career Services

How can I help a classmate with their off-campus job search?
You are thrilled you got the offer you’d been gunning for, but you look around and see a friend frustrated because she missed out on not just her top choice, but also her B-tier and C-tier options.  She’s got to start the dreaded off campus search.  How can you help?  It’s acceptable to do some commiserating, but that really doesn't help your friend land something for the summer.  Here are some ideas that will really help. 

Regular check ins – As you know, looking for a job can be exhausting.  The reality is that it’s not any easier when the search moves off campus.  One of the best things you can do is to regularly check in with a friend and see how things are going.  It will show your friend that you care, but even more importantly, it will work to ensure that the off campus search is maintaining momentum.  The jobs are out there, but they don’t come knocking on anyone’s door.  Weekly chats with your classmate will remind her that she needs to keep this a priority.

Help your friend define what he/she wants - Sometimes when someone starts doing an off campus search, target companies and contacts may not be that familiar with MBA’s and what we mean when we say “financial analyst”, “marketing strategy” etc.  All the person at the other end of the email/phone call hears is “I want a high paying job doing blah, blah, blah”.  Help a friend think through what they really want to do and then help them come up with a concise way to say it.  “I’m looking for a strategic assignment that allows me to work with divisional and/or corporate leadership to identify, analyze and execute key growth initiatives designed to drive value for an organization.”

Mock interviews – You have recently been through interviews and are well equipped to conduct a mock interview.  Ask questions that you got in your interviews.  Be honest and provide actionable, constructive criticism. 
Don’t:  “That was a pretty good answer, I’m surprised you haven’t gotten anything yet.”
Do:  “I got a sense of what you wanted to get across; however, I think a stronger answer would have provided more detail about the exact steps you took to get the project finished ahead of schedule.”

Review/revise a resume –By now everyone is well into their academy projects, if your friend is a career switcher help her include a bullet or two on her resume that shows some relevant (to where she wants to go) experience.  It will help recruiters see a commitment to the new career direction.

Get away from the b-school bubble – Take your friend out for some fun.  While it is unlikely hanging out at Nick’s is going to help someone get an offer, sometimes you wake up with a clearer head and renewed vigor after having sunk a “Biz”.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. A good question to ask is what differentiates a wellness coach from a nutritionist or trainer. The fact of the matter is that there are no 'requirements' for an individual to label their business as 'coaching'. We see this trend in executive coaching, life coaching, business coaching, and real estate coaching. There are no laws that require a certain certification to call yourself a coach in any field! So go ahead and call yourself a coach - but be ready to explain why you are a coach and not a trainer etc. when someone asks (obviously this is not my recommendation). Click Here

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This is really nice and interesting advices for sure I learn more from there. Please keep on sharing!

    Career Coaching