FAQ’s: An interview with Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin

Here are answers to frequently-asked questions about who I am and the work I do with executives, managers, and professionals in career transition:

(Please click each question to reveal the answers.)

(1) What do you do as a career coach?

As a career coach in private practice, my mission is simple:  I believe executives, professionals, and managers can have fulfilling, financially-rewarding, and long-lasting careers. That’s why I teach them how to choose careers that fire them up, without burning them out, so they can “go the distance.” I do this by providing a strategic approach to discovering what their most ideal career position is that pays their desired salary; and how to conduct a job search that brings them more interviews leading to job offers in 6 months or less. Just to be clear: I’m not an employment agency or recruiter, nor am I hired by companies to fill positions for them and I’m not a career marketing firm that charges tens of thousands of dollars, promising so-called “exclusive access” to hidden job market leads and contacts. (Side note: when you work with me, you’ll learn how to uncover the hidden job market yourself.) As your career coach, my top priority is YOU: I have a vested interest in helping you achieve your goals as quickly as possible.

(2) Have you worked with people in my industry?

I’ve worked with dozens of clients at various levels across a wide scope of industries, including (but not limited to) the following sectors and situations: Accounting / Administration & Office Services / Association & Not-For-Profit / Banking / Business Development / Customer Service / Clergy / Conservation & Forestry / Culinary Arts / Engineering / Finance / Health Care / Hospitality / HR & Organizational Development / Independent Consulting / IT / Insurance / Investment Finance /  Law & Legal Affairs / Law Enforcement / Manufacturing & Production Operations / New College Graduates / Performing Arts (Music & Theater) / Personal Training & Fitness / Public Relations & Corporate Communications / Purchasing, Logistics & Supply Chain Management / Real Estate, Construction & Property Management / Retail / Sales & Marketing / Social Services / Stay-At Home Parents Returning to the Workforce / Teaching & Educational Administration / Telecom

(3) What happens if you haven’t worked with people in my field?

Most likely I have worked with people in your field. Yet, if I haven’t, you aren’t at a disadvantage, quite to the contrary…here’s why: people in your field are probably all making the same mistakes in their career and job search campaigns. What my clients have found is that I bring a fresh perspective and new paradigms to their search campaigns, and give them resources they’ve never heard of in their field. Because of this, they stand out in an overcrowded labor market and are the ones who get hired and promoted faster.

(4) What are your credentials and background?

I earned my Certified Career Management Coach-CCMC (through Career Coach Academy) recognized by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH). To maintain this certification, I’m required to complete 10 hours in approved CEU’s every 2 years. Besides this, I earned a Certified Job Loss Recovery Program Coach-CJLRPC from Discovery Dynamics, Inc, and a Job & Career Transition Coach-JCTC from the Career and Adult Development Network. My credentials also include a Certified Professional Resume Writer-CPRW, which I earned in 1994. You’ll find sample resumes, cover letters, and other contributions I’ve written featured in several publications, most recently: Job Search Letters for Dummies (2013), 100 Conversations for Career Success (2012), Gallery of Best Resumes, 5th Edition (2011) and Cover Letters for Dummies (2009). Prior to my work as a career coach, I earned my Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, I moonlighted as a professional singer while holding administrative positions in the corporate world across various industry sectors, including higher education, business valuation, personal lines insurance, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals, as well as nearly two years in the HR department of a social service agency for adults and children with special needs.

(5) How did you get into the field of career coaching?

You might say that career coaching found me! When I was downsized from my HR position in 1989, I decided to have my resume written at a branch of the oldest, largest resume service at the time. The chief writer of this branch was impressed with my writing and communication skills and hired me on the spot, to learn the resume-writing craft and to help with overflow work. After working there for awhile, I discovered I could do just as well on my own. So, I opened my own resume-writing business in December 1991. I got clients right away who were pleased that the resumes I wrote helped them land interviews — and job offers! However, some clients returned to me in a year or two, complaining that they weren’t really happy in their new jobs after all. What I discovered was that while a client’s need was a resume update, the problem was that they really didn’t know how to figure out what their ideal career position actually was —and what would bring them true career satisfaction. That’s when I decided to expand my practice into career coaching.

(6) How will we work together?
I have a virtual practice which allows me to work remotely / long distance with nationwide clients. This means that I conduct all coaching appointments over the telephone and web conferencing, and exchange all information by email.  Clients enjoy the convenience and flexibility of working with me from the privacy and comfort of their home, outside of work, at their own pace and time schedule, without having to travel.



(7) How would I begin working with you?
We’ll start out with a Private Career Breakthrough Consultation, where I can learn more about your situation and challenges; then we can determine together which program or package is best for your needs. Click here to request your Private Consultation. 

(8) What topics do you cover in private career coaching?

My private career coaching programs offer the most complete and thorough preparation for executives, managers and professionals who are ready to have careers that truly are fulfilling, financially-rewarding, and long-lasting.  They are designed for smart, ambitious men and women, who are motivated to have careers that maximize their talents in a meaningful way; and they want my unique brand of career coaching expertise to quickly up-level their income and career satisfaction. The modules we would work through together include, but are not limited to: 1) assessing your skills; 2) understanding your personality type and career interests; 3) choosing the right career; 4) improving your resume; 5) networking effectively; 6) implementing a multi-tiered job search (online and offline); 7) preparing for employment interviews; 8) negotiating job offers & compensation packages. 

(9) How long does it take to find a new position, once I become your client?

 People who are conducting a job search on their own can expect to search at least one month for every $10,000  they wish to earn. When clients work with me, they will land “ahead of the curve” within 3-6 months! 

(10) What are your fees for private career coaching?

There are four things to understand about my fees:

  1. First: my fees are professional fees, similar to what you might pay accountants, attorneys, and management consultants. You’ll learn what my fees are for your specific needs during a private Career Breakthrough Consultation. I believe you’ll find my fees to be comparable to what other career coaches are charging; plus, you’ll get even more for your money, with all the resources and support I provide in my packages and programs.
  2. Second: my fees are an investment in your career, since it supports your family and funds your lifestyle.      
  3. Third: clients will recoup their career coaching investment within the first month of landing their new position.
  4. Fourth: money issues have never stopped anyone from working with me, if career coaching is what they truly want, to up-level their income and career satisfaction.  




(11) What type of person do you work best with and what is expected of me?

My career coaching programs are designed for goal-oriented, action-taking executives, managers, and professionals who are ready to set their doubts aside and do the important legwork to land their ideal career position, without wasting time with unproductive activities and strategies that no longer work. Consider what you’ll do with me as action-in-process. You’ll get full support from me while you work toward this incredibly exciting goal: an ideal career position, in a great company, at a salary you deserve, where you’ll be happy at work.

(12) For what type of person is career coaching NOT going to work?
My career coaching is not for people who want a quick fix for their career problems.  I’ll expect you to take serious, consistent, “no-excuses” action which includes completing homework and field work assignments. Without taking these action steps, you’ll make little or no progress toward finding your ideal career position.

(13) I just need to work on my resume. Can you still help me?

I’ve discontinued resume-writing as a “first-point-of-service” for new clients. Currently, I provide resume writing exclusively: (1) in conjunction with my career coaching packages and programs; (2) for past career coaching clients who need updates; (3) for past resume-writing clients needing updates. If you are certain that a new resume is all you need to move forward, that’s okay. I’ll be happy to refer you to one of my resume-writing colleagues; or to my career association where you can find a resume writer to fit your needs. One caveat: to work effectively with resume-writers, you need to be clear about the specific jobs you’re seeking, so your resume can be customized accordingly, to increase your chances of getting interviews. Otherwise, I invite you to take this free Career Quiz to see if you need career coaching or are truly ready to have a resume written.

(14) Are you also a recruiter? Will you help find me a job?

As I stated in (1), I’m NOT an employment/staffing agency or recruiter; nor am I hired by companies to fill positions for them. However, during the course of our coaching relationship and when appropriate, I may refer you to a competent recruiter in your field; or I’ll provide you with some trusted resources. Side note: Please understand that it’s not a recruiter’s job to find you a job. They don’t work for you; they work on behalf of their client companies to fill positions on a retainer or contingency basis. Besides, once we’ve been working together, two things will happen: 1. You’ll learn to be more resourceful in finding a position through other channels, besides working with recruiters; 2. You’ll be able to work more effectively with recruiters and avoid lots of wasted time (for you and the recruiters), because you’ll have a clearer picture about the positions best suited for your needs.

(15) Can you provide me with references?

Of course, I have many successful clients who will be happy to talk to you. (Click here to read some client testimonials.) However, please understand that I never use my clients as sales people; it’s not their job to explain what I do or to help you decide if career coaching is a proper investment for you. While the deliverables of my offerings are fairly consistent, the learning curve and results are different for each client. Therefore, just check out my integrity and the value of having me as a coach. The only important questions you should ask are: (1) Did Joellyn deliver what she said she would deliver? (2) What was the difference you found working with a coach like Joellyn versus doing your job search alone?

(16) Can I sample your work at a low cost to see if it’s the right solution for me?

The best way to begin experiencing the way I do things is to Request a Career Breakthrough Private Call with me. In this nominally-priced 50-minute call, we’ll discover where the gaps are in reaching your career goals, what it’s costing you to be stuck in your current situation, and what steps you need to take, to get your career moving in the direction you want it to go. I will also do my best to understand what your needs are at a deeper level, so that I can determine which of my services will be the most helpful for you. You can also sign up for free monthly career tips, which provide you with samples of techniques and tools I use with clients, in the form of articles, blog posts, and other resources.


(17) I’m ready to move forward and have a couple of questions. How can I get in touch with you?

Yes, I’d love to talk with you! Please contact me via email and we’ll schedule a quick chat. I’m excited to see you succeed and honored to be the one to help you! 


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