I know the process of job search is hard.
People ranging from your mum to the supervisor at work and the friend-of-a-friend who is a manager will give advice that ranges from outdated and absurd, to the cutting edge. I also know it is confusing. The fact is, you can show your resume to ten different people and you will receive ten different pieces of advice—much of it contradictory.
The reason for this is obvious.
Humans are involved! Yes humans. You know, people with frailties, flaws, different preferences, likes/dislikes, rules and personal biases. Job search consultants, coaches, resume writers and hiring authorities can be your pesky neighbour, your hot-tempered brother-in-law, and the guy at work you never liked.
The fact is, no one person has all the answers and a guaranteed, rolled-gold, three-step solution that will get you a job instantly. Like the fairytale, you will have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, and it’s not necessarily going to be easy or fun. You’re going to be confused at times, frustrated and angry. You’re going to have to wade through the volumes of advice and decide who speaks your truth; a person with the type of approach that resonates with who you are and how you like to operate.
Then you need to look at that advice and see where it is coming from and whether it is worth taking. Aggressive career professionals will pop up now and again, tell you how everyone else is wrong and how they spend time fixing up the errors of other professionals. They come into the industry with a swagger, brash self-confidence, a six-week old Twitter account, a five-article blog and blanket assurances of your complete success. No-one has all the answers because the job hunt is a “people” business. Nobody can provide the definitive assurance that your experience, presentation, resume, or personal style with be an instant hit with John Smith: Company Director, Melanie Brown: Recruiter and Lois Johnson: Human Resources Officer.
As a job seeker you need to look past the cool website and guaranteed rolled gold solutions to job search success. Your choice is entirely your own of course, but here are a few things to think about.
- There is a lot to be said for experience and knowledge. While nobody can claim to know it all, professionals with industry longevity, a commitment to ongoing professional development, and a verifiable track record of satisfied clients over a prolonged period, are obviously doing something right. When you’re looking for someone to coach you or represent your strengths and skills, look at all of those things. While certifications may not be everyone’s cup of tea, belonging to a professional association that requires its members to remain current and relevant is going to be a better bet than someone making a whole lot of noise with no supporting foundation. Would you use a surgeon who wasn’t accountable to a professional body or spurned new developments? What about an accountant or a lawyer?
- Are you looking for bargain-base professionals to help you? Consider this. Why would someone devote thousands of dollars in association fees, certifications, training and more, and then willingly accept the same hourly rate as a part-time store clerk? Does this ring warning bells for you? Someone willing to cheapen services to such an extent may well be revealing their true value to you through their pricing.
- Are you being realistic? Can you look at yourself and your skills and, with complete insight and honesty, confidently say that you are qualified for the job you have just applied for or missed out on? Many jobseekers are encumbered with the burden of blinkers and insufficient personal insight. You really do need to be qualified for the job. It’s not always the recruiter who doesn’t get it, or the resume that’s not selling you properly, or the coach who’s a downer.
We’re all human. Wanting it all, and offering it all, fails to serve anyone’s interests if neither can deliver.