When people lose their jobs, one of the last things many want to do is spend cash on a career coach.

That's the view of Kathryn Jackson, who has just written a book to help people see the light at the end of the unemployment tunnel.

Jackson, who has a degree and a postgraduate diploma in human resources and workplace motivation, says people who have lost their job are often reluctant to spend money on something they perceive as an unnecessary expense. Particularly when the next job might be hard to come by.

"In one way it is a no-brainer," she says. "If you break your leg you go to a doctor - you get help. But people don't think like that when they have lost their income and their career is broken."

One reason people are reluctant to spend money on a career coach, says Jackson, is that even a basic coaching programme, which would include a CV review and three to six coaching sessions, can cost upwards of $1000.

Jackson has been a career coach in New Zealand since 2006 - moving here from Scotland after being made redundant.

When she first started helping people, most clients were looking for professional development - either paying their own way or having coaching fees paid by their employer. However, in March last year Jackson noted a change in the reasons people were asking to see her.

"They were going through the same career coaching process I had given previous clients. But these people were in a panic," she says.

"There were lots of tears because what was happening to them wasn't what they wanted. They were not choosing to leave their career - they were being told to.

"I also noticed common themes and trends with the people I was working with. Many of them thought they were the only person who was feeling unhappy and desperate and almost apologising for crying during coaching sessions. Yet, there were other people who came to me and said being made redundant had given them a wonderful opportunity."

Jackson says because so many people were reluctant, or unable, to spend money on a coach, she decided to write a self-help book

How to keep your cool if you lose your job is a 164-page paperback full of solid advice that Jackson hopes will help readers take a good hard look at themselves and make rational decisions about their future. It is based in part on her experience of being made redundant, on stories of people's employment woes sent to her via her CareerBalance website and requests for stories on redundancy posted on social networking forums.

"I think the book is a resource that will help people feel a bit more 'normal' about their situation as they come to terms with their new circumstances," she says. "It will also provide a bit of a gap filler for people who can't afford coaching - but still need somewhere to turn.

"Some employers are not offering outplacement programmes, so paid support for their staff - from a career coach - is a non-starter. It may be the smaller firms that are not able to afford coaching for their staff, or even consider coaching as an option for the people they are letting go."

Jackson says people who have read her book, which was released last month, like it that she gets straight to the point.

"I didn't want my book to replicate and regurgitate what is already out there," she says.

"I think mine is different because it is much more interactive than other books and is clearly focused on career planning during redundancy.

"The book helps people turn negatives into positive, identify achievements to pump up CVs, helps readers prepare for job interviews and encourages the unemployed to chase every possible lead for a job."

Jackson hopes her book will also encourage people to think about career coaching more regularly - rather than just when they lose their job or find themselves lacking direction.

"I hope the book helps highlight that there are some terrific career coaches all over the country waiting to help people enjoy going to work," she says.

"There's an opportunity for employers to tap into that and have staff who enjoy what they are doing - they then become more productive workers and are less likely to resign."

Jackson, who had to make her team redundant while working for a British bank, qualified with the Oxford School of Coaching in 2006. She has learned a lot about people during the past three years.

"Everybody survives redundancy and it is highly unlikely that your present job will be your last, there's always an opportunity to be found - even when things are really bleak."

Ultimately, says Jackson, companies are always restructuring.

"We are all just seeing more of it at the moment due to the economy," she says. "And the employment landscape in New Zealand is going to get worse before it gets better."

CV ESSENTIALS
* Be truthful
* Have a stunning front page
* Be concise
* Tailor your CV to the job
* Highlight your achievements
* Avoid gaps
* Avoid jargon
* Check spelling
* Present your CV on quality paper
* Not sure you can create a cracking CV? Seek professional help
Source / Kathryn Jackson
How to keep your cool if you lose your job, by Kathryn Jackson, is published by Longacre Press and costs $32.99.
Contact Steve Hart at www.SteveHart.co.nz