“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Remember the last time you randomly asked someone for directions to get to a place? Remember how they told you to go down there a couple of blocks, then turn left at the light, go a couple miles that way, make a sharp right and that should do it? Remember how you did that and ended up more lost than ever?
Reminds me of bad directions for a job search. Unfortunately, I have heard quite a few bad directions from job seekers who tell me that their well-intentioned neighbor, friend, cousin, roommate, or stranger told them how to write a resume or told them this or that about finding a job. Some would argue that it really doesn’t matter who tells you what, as long as it works to find new employment.
However, if the counsel you have received doesn’t, didn’t or hasn’t worked for you and you have been between jobs for six, 12, 18, 24, 30+ months or longer, perhaps you might consider the accuracy of the information you’re getting. While it is important to reach out to people to support you, guide you, help you and be by your side in your quest for new employment, it surely doesn’t do you much good if you wind up at the rest stop of the job search trip because you took an exit based on bad directions and/or just because they were free.
If the directions, free advice, free counsel, and job hunt input you have been given by countless caring people simply isn’t working for you, here’s some more advice and yes, it is also free:
Ask five people for the name of a career management professional in the community / country that (in their opinion) has a good stellar reputation in the industry. If you do not get any names, ask five more people and keep asking until you get a name.
Go to LinkedIn and see if that person has a LinkedIn profile. Read about them. Read their recommendations. Contact someone you may know listed in the pro’s recommendations; call them and listen closely to their response when you ask them the following questions:
- What did you like best about your experience in working with So and So?
- What, if anything, did you not like about your experience in working with So and So?
- Would you still recommend So and So and would you work with him/her again if you had a career need?
- On a scale of 1 – 10, what number would you give So and So with 1 being very poor and 10 being over the top good?
- Is there anything else about So and So that would be of value to know?
Call the pro(s) whose name(s) you have been given and ask the following questions, well before you ask them about their professional fee structure. (Something to consider: Would you call a brain surgeon if you desperately needed brain surgery and start the conversation with: “Hello there, how much do you charge?” Probably not, though it happens frequently in the career management industry). Instead, you could engage the pro by asking the following questions before inquiring about their respective fees. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to run through the questions listed below and it could save you precious time (and money) in the long run.
1. What is your background?
2. When did you get started in the business?
3. What population do you serve?
4. What qualifies you to dispense career information?
5. What is your level of success?
6. How will we work together: via phone, IM, in office, Starbucks?
7. What can I expect from you and your services?
8. Why should I choose you over Brand A and Brand B?
9. Help me understand your fee structure and payment requirements.
If you find yourself sitting at a career crossroads still contemplating which road to take next, how about the possibility of seeking professional help, guidance, direction and support? To discover more information about how to find a career coach/counselor in your area, consider reading Appendix B: A Guide to Choosing A Career Coach or Counselor in the book What Color Is Your Parachute – Pages 288-303 in the 2011 Edition.
“The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten.”