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Spotlight: Interviewing a Career Coach

by Mary Galioto

A Hopewell Borough resident will be teaching his 5th class, starting October 28th, at the Princeton Adult School entitled “Learn to Re-enter the Job Market.” Alex Freund is a career coach and owner of Landing Expert Career Coaching.

The concept of the class really resonated with me, as a lawyer who has “re-entered” the job market in a way that I could not have imagined upon “exiting” the job market when my first child was born.  “Re-entering” the market is an exciting, precarious and sensitive time in people’s lives and Freund shared that he understands these challenges.

We had a chance to interview the interview expert and came up with a few insights about the career-searching market in the area.

100How long have you lived Mercer County? I’ve lived in Mercer County for 11 years.

How long have you done the work you do? I’ve been doing career coaching for eight years.

What brought you to live in Mercer County? I was moved to Mercer County by my employer at that time, Tyco International, which is headquartered in Princeton.

What brought you to your career of helping people with their careers? I’m an extrovert, which means I get energized by interacting with people. While in transition, I always found ways to help others find a job. During that transition, I worked with a coach. One day my coach quit, and the owner of the company where she worked offered me her job! After two weeks of training, though, I ended up not taking the job. I couldn’t stand the dishonesty at that particular company. And that’s when I decided I could do this on my own.

Do you see a particular challenge working with individuals in this area? Mercer County’s unemployment rate is just about the US average, which is 5.9 percent. Mercer is a rather affluent county with a heavy concentration of well-known companies—not to mention Princeton University. The primary challenge I see in working with people living in this area is age discrimination, which is a known challenge everywhere else. The second challenge is an absence of the very specific skills companies are looking for.

How long have you taught at the adult school, and do you teach other career-related classes?
This month I start my fifth semester teaching at the Princeton Adult School and was already asked to teach the spring semester as well. In addition, for the past five years, I’ve taught at Trinity Church in Princeton a three-hour workshop known in the area as the FREE résumé tune-up and LinkedIn profile workshop. I conduct this free event for the community twice a year, with as few as 45 people and as many as 90 in attendance. In the past, I was also commissioned by the Princeton Public Library as well as the West Windsor Branch of the Mercer County Public Library to teach a class similar to the one I teach via the Princeton Adult School.

What other groups do you work with in the community? I’m active in several other local job search networking groups. Occasionally, I’ve been asked to present at the Princeton Public Library at meetings of a group called the Professional Service Group of Mercer County. The group meets regularly once a week, with the objective of helping people ease back into the labor market. I’m also active with a similar group in Hamilton Square. And I’ve presented at the Hopewell Public Library.

Have you ever taken a class at the adult school? Yes, I’ve taken several courses: one on classical music, one about sleep, and another one about the brain.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Hopewell? I absolutely love living in Hopewell Borough. My wife and I came here from Randolph, in north Jersey, after 20 years. We thought Randolph was quite elite but only until we arrived in Hopewell. Where else could I walk a few minutes from my house and see [live] cows? How about being recognized by name at the post office or the Hopewell Pharmacy? I love that it’s a five-minute walk to get a haircut and that there’s a wide array restaurants all over the place. We’re 15 minutes’ drive from downtown Princeton and 75 minutes from either New York or Philadelphia. Can you name a better place?

Who do you know or want to know? We, at MercerMe, love to meet our neighbors. Send us your info and maybe you’ll find yourself or a friend in the “spotlight!”

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