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Home > Blog: Job Seeker Tips > The Reality of Hiring a Career Professional

The Reality of Hiring a Career Professional

Say you’ve been laid off for a while now and are just not getting many “bites” on your resume. Or you’ve decided, now that the economy is starting to pick up, you’ll see what opportunities are out there. Have you wondered if hiring a career coach, a resume writer, a career consultant, or an interview coach could help you?

Here are a few misconceptions that come along with hiring someone to improve your job search:

1. Assuming you don’t have to do anything: It’s fairly common for people to think: “I’ve hired someone to write my resume/figure out which jobs would be a good fit for me, so I can just kick back and wait to hear from them.” Definitely not!

The professional you hired is only as good as what you give him/her. You need to be prepared to do a great deal of work to uncover and flesh out your career story. This can be an arduous process – a point you didn’t think was very important could be a key element in the career professional's opinion, and you you'd have to come up with details to make it a highlighted accomplishment or a key career moment to discuss in your interviews. It will be especially challenging if it’s been more than a couple of years since your last resume update. Or, if looking at various directions to take, the details of what you’ve done in your entire career will be helpful—think beyond your resume.

Also, you never want to hand over control of your job search; this is your life and your career–retain the ownership of it! While the person you want to hire has expert advice that will greatly benefit you, the fact remains that you know yourself best. If they suggest something that doesn’t resonate with you, communicate your concerns. Really hear the explanations they have for their choices, and decide if that works for you.

2. Expecting it to be a “silver bullet:” This is more insidious than the first assumption. With this, there is this idea that “If I have a professionally written resume or an expert guiding my job search, I’ll get a job in no time!”

While a well-written resume, good answers to common interview questions, and a strategy that targets positions and companies are important parts of a job hunt, they don’t magically get you a job. You still need to network, develop rapport, show how you can enhance a company’s ability to meet its goals and fit in with the existing team, etc. What it boils down to is this: Even if you have the best resume imaginable and the perfect answers to interview questions, they won’t hire you if they don’t like you.

3. Not doing enough research to make sure you’re hiring the right person: Once you’ve determined that yes, you want to hire a career professional, you then have the task of deciding who to hire. That can be rather overwhelming. Some criteria to consider are:

  • Credentials/degrees of the professional
  • Their membership in a professional organization
  • Your preference for a practitioner who focuses on one specific aspect of the job hunt (e.g. resume writing, interview preparation) or someone who can work with you through every part of the process
  • Your preference for someone who specializes in a particular field or demographic vs. someone who provides services for an array of clients, fields, and industries

And then there is the “personality” factor – how well do you connect with this person who is crafting your professional history and giving you advice? If it’s a poor fit, you’ll end up second-guessing everything the person says and does, and likely, rejecting the work done. Not exactly a good use of time and money, is it?

Before making a commitment, talk with the career professionals to get a feel for personality and the processes they use. See if they have recommendations and samples of completed, successful work. Ask if it’s possible to talk with past clients. And, remember to read the contract carefully so you know exactly what the parameters of the agreement are.

Hiring a career professional can be a positive experience if you know what to expect from it!

About the Author

Melissa Cooley is a career consultant with a passion for helping people develop strategies to reach their goals and maximize their potential. As the founder of The Job Quest, she assists individuals who are seeking employment or facing the confusion of navigating a career path. Melissa provides a fresh perspective and other resources on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn.

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