Many of my friends, colleagues, and clients have been confused about the various roles involved in finding ideal work throughout my career. Unfortunately, this confusion often leads to people leaning on the wrong type of expert for their situation. The following is a cheat sheet for four roles you may encounter while looking for work to help you avoid this problem.

Corporate Recruiters

  • What is a corporate recruiter? 

A corporate recruiter hires for their own company. They are responsible for sourcing and screening candidates, conducting initial interviews, and coordinating the overall hiring process for their assigned job postings. 

  • How can a corporate recruiter help me?  

Corporate recruiters know about both the roles open in their company and the specific needs of individual teams.

  • How do corporate recruiters work with me? 

Corporate recruiters will contact you for screening interviews and other interviews during the process. You may work with them via phone, email, text, or a combination. They’ll be your navigator as you go through the interview at their company.  

  • What else do I need to know about corporate recruiters? 

Most delays in hiring processes are NOT the fault of the corporate recruiter. Usually, delays are caused by busy or indecisive hiring managers and executives. Give your corporate recruiters some grace!


Agency or Staffing Recruiters

  • What is an agency recruiter? 

An agency recruiter supports multiple clients at the same time, providing candidates that align with their project and individual hiring needs or available opportunities.

  • How can an agency recruiter help me? 

Because agency recruiters work with multiple clients, they can potentially shed light on several job opportunities. They often have close relationships with their clients and can help you prepare for interviews or tweak resumes specifically to suit hiring managers.

  • How do agency recruiters work with me? 

Agency recruiters typically focus on a small set of job opportunities at any one time. They will reach out to you when they think your skills and experience match a role they are sourcing. They will then serve as your point of contact throughout the hiring process.

  • What else do I need to know about agency recruiters? 

Although it’s prevalent for agency recruiters to talk about how they coach candidates, they are not the same as career coaches. The coaching they do is specific to presenting you in the best possible light for their open roles. They can provide good guidance around making resume and LinkedIn improvements, interviewing, interviewing follow-up protocols, and other tips for branding and showcasing yourself successfully to hiring managers.


Career Coach 

  • What is a career coach? 

A career coach helps you determine the ideal work for you and a path to get there. Career coaches focus on their client’s success, not the agenda of their client’s employer, friends, or family members.  

  • How can a career coach help me? 

A great career coach enables you to understand your purpose, strengths, and skills, figure out roles that align with those things and develop job search strategies. Some career coaches focus purely on job searches. Others focus more on the “what do you want to be when you grow up” part.

  • How do career coaches work with people? 

Career coaches work with clients in a variety of settings. Typical options include individual coaching, group coaching, live and digital classes, and online communities.

  • What else do I need to know about career coaches? 

Career coaching is NOT the same as therapy. Therapy typically involves looking back and processing the past so that you can move forward, while coaching is more centered on the future. 


Resume Writer

  • What is a resume writer? 

A resume writer focuses specifically on writing and optimizing resumes. Resume writers may also craft cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Some resume writers also work as career coaches, but not all career coaches offer resume writing services.

  • How can a resume writer help me? 

An excellent resume writer crafts a baseline resume that positions you well for your target role. They know current resume trends, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and how recruiters screen resumes.

  • How do resume writers work with people? 

A resume writer meets with you to discuss your skills, experience, and target companies and roles. Then they craft a resume and will edit it based on your feedback.

  • What else do I need to know about resume writers? 

If a resume writer promises to create an ATS compliant resume that will always pass the ATS, you need to RUN AWAY. Great resume writers understand how to improve your ability to score high on ATS algorithms, but every system is different, so nobody can promise they can always pass an ATS.  


Author: Diana Alt, Career Strategy Coach

Diana is a connector, problem solver, and career strategy coach who uses the skills she’s gathered throughout 20 plus years in corporate product development roles to help people manage their careers and business. Diana helps people get out of their own way by building confidence, setting boundaries, and casting a vision for an awesome life. She lives by the principle that work should feel GOOD, not like a long slow march towards oblivion.

You can reach Diana at [email protected] or via LinkedIn. You can also join her Facebook community.