Alumni Spotlight: Eric Cole Dedicated His Career to Helping Others Find Theirs
Though Eric Cole comes from a long line of psychologists, he never expected the same for himself. Calling himself the “black sheep” of his family, Cole explained he decided to go down the business path, earning his BS in Business Administration from Skidmore College.
For nearly 30 years, Cole worked in various senior management roles, mostly at Fidelity Investments, where he spent much of his career conducting interviews, recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees. Realizing his talents in (and passion for) the hiring process, Cole decided to start his own career coaching company.
“For me, the transition to career coach really wasn’t that different from what I was doing my whole career,” said Cole, adding that he considers finding, developing, and retaining talent a “superpower” of his.
Eventually, Cole left Fidelity to pursue his coaching career full time. Now, Interview IQ provides one-on-one consultations, group sessions, and guest workshops for colleges, career centers, and classrooms. Cole’s clients include career changers and those getting back into the workforce, but his primary focus is helping college graduates get their first job.
This group, Cole explained, are often paralyzed by the process of job hunting. “Just because you're smart doesn't mean you know how to find a job,” he said. “Finding a job is a job. It's hard, frustrating, overwhelming. Part of my job is to help diminish that."
He lists three questions to ask yourself in order to find and secure the perfect job for you.
- What do I want to do? Think about the skills you have and are good at as well as the things you actually enjoy doing.
- How do I find a job doing that? Do your research, look at job descriptions in the field you want, and network with others in similar positions.
- How do I actually get that job? This is the step where you will want to perfect your job application, including revising your resume or cover letter and practicing your interview skills.
Cole has helped a lot of people on their career journeys, but that hasn’t stopped him from prioritizing his own. As someone who has always challenged himself intellectually, Cole was finally inspired to go back to school after the onset of the pandemic.
After taking a few courses elsewhere that seemed too focused on academics and not enough on practical experience, Cole discovered the William James College Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology program through a previous mentor and current WJC faculty member, William Hodgetts, EdD.
“I had always toyed around with going back to school,” said Cole. “For me, it was really about the fascination with what motivates people.” He didn’t need the degree to advance in his career, but rather wanted to dive deeper into the field of organizational psychology.
In fact, Cole found one of the highlights of the program was the ability to validate or contextualize some of the work he was already doing in his coaching practice. “To be able to intellectually put a reasoning behind it or philosophy…was one of the things I got out of [the program],” he said.
Now, as a graduate of the organizational psychology program, Cole has found a way to combine his family legacy of psychology with his own coaching career. He continues to draw from his 30 years of experience and the training he received at William James College to make a difference in the lives of job seekers.
“It’s not just coaching, it’s the people piece,” Cole said. "A lot of what I'm doing is helping people tell their story because everyone has a story.”