Have you ever reached that point during a job search when you start to think that you must be missing out on something…that someone, somewhere, must have the answer for your troubles?
I mean, if you could just unlock the secret…find the holy grail…swallow the miracle pill, do the happy dance…whatever, the phone would start ringing, the offers would flow in, and you would have the career you have always dreamed of.
If you look hard enough (actually, I don’t think you even need to look that hard), you will definitely find someone willing to sell it to you…they have the answer, that secret two-page document that will make you excel at every job interview, that full-proof approach that has you bypassing the resume entirely, or that high-level coaching course that unlocks the mystery to attaining career magic.
As a career coach, I always love these offers because I, too, would like to know what the right formula is so that I could bottle it and pass it along to all the job seekers who ask me, “Why is this so frustrating? Why is it taking so long?” I would give anything just to say, “Here, swallow this miracle job hunting pill, and it will all be over.”
When you take a good look at many of these approaches, what you often find is that they come back to the same old advice just repackaged with a shiny new bow.
The secret two-page job interview secret is that you should show up knowing as much about the company as possible and wow the hiring manager with your ability to talk the company’s language and step right into the position.
The full-proof, resume-free approach is really just another take on networking. If you network well, you may not even need a resume, “they” say. Just hand out a bio or something.
The high-level coaching course is nothing more than instruction on how to navigate your job search (and your career) through a sales life cycle.
So at the end of the day are these services offering bad advice? Not necessarily. In all of them is an element of truth. Even more importantly, however, none of their concepts are all that new!
Remembering that a job interview is more about fitting in and looking the part than about answering all the questions correctly is good advice. Using networking as the backbone of your job search is also good advice (although I contend that at some point someone is going to want to see a resume, not just a bio). And taking a sales perspective to your job search and career is good advice too.
But, again, these are not new ideas, and they certainly are not the answer to all your prayers.
What job seekers really need is to keep their feet on the ground, apply common-sense principles, and establish the proper expectations. To help them accomplish that, they should really invest in job search coaching services.
Why? Because unless you are on a perpetual job search (meaning that searching for a job is what you do for a living), you do not stay up-to-date on the latest opportunities, techniques, and job market trends. Your job search strategy from 2, 5, and definitely 10 years ago is not the job search strategy you should be applying today.
Furthermore, frankly, a job search is an emotional process, no matter what the reason. You are putting a product out there on the market to sell, and that product is “you”. There is no way you can look at yourself objectively. And I hate to tell you this, but your colleagues, significant other, friends, family, and so on, they don’t look at you objectively either.
So you need someone who can give it to you straight.
The recruiter can’t, because he or she is just trying to fill certain positions to make a commission. The recruiter can only evaluate you in light of those positions. And the resume writer’s focus is really on the resume and how it matches up with the competition.
That’s where the job search coach comes in. That’s the person you need when the going gets rough and you get stuck.
Why isn’t the phone ringing? How do you decide between two different offers? What’s the best way to bring up that sensitive topic to your new potential employer? How do you weigh the advice the recruiter is giving you?
A wise person seeks wise counsel. He or she doesn’t try to find it in a miracle pill or top secret document. So don’t be fooled by the shiny new bow. Invest those valuable resources where it can help you the most!
So who am I anyway? Why do I think my advice is so valuable?
My name is Stephen Van Vreede. My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I have spent 15 years on both sides of the corporate hiring experience.
The short story is that I have an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. I am a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). As I mentioned, I paid my dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and I have spent the past 7 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.
In February 2009, I launched a new group job hunting networking site: NoddlePlace.com. It is absolutely FREE to join, and you have access to everything on the site. Come check it out at NoddlePlace. You can also follow me on Twitter.