The first question is, Why do you need help to start with? After all, in the past, you were always able to find jobs. Well, today things are different. There aren’t many open jobs to begin with, and the competition for those few is fierce. So, let’s think about good reasons to get assistance.
- Your efforts for the past several months have not produced job offers.
- You’re confused as to what step-by-step approach you should take.
- You’re ready to create a specific plan that incorporates your skills and interests.
- You want to maintain a reasonable level of self-accountability.
- You may want to speed up the process by consulting some experts.
- You could learn how to negotiate a job offer, which in most cases would cover your expenses severalfold.
The foregoing might be good reasons, but they don’t represent all of the reasons. Yet each job seeker is unique and has unique needs and circumstances. Some people are by nature do-it-yourselfers who believe they can get the results they want; others believe in getting expertise from professionals. No one approach is right or wrong.
In principle, job seekers can get assistance in four different ways.
- Group help via a state unemployment office or volunteer-based job-search networking groups
- Books, e-books, seminars, Webinars, Webcasts, video courses
- Career coaching one-on-one
- Career marketing firms
The first option is free most of the time. The second—if there are fees at all—is most often inexpensive. The third one could be a bit pricey, especially if the job seeker has no money coming in. And the last one typically costs many thousands of dollars. So, which one is for you? In general, select the plan that is the most personalized for your own circumstance and is the least costly. That doesn’t mean you should refrain from the other opportunities.
Another dimension clearly evident but rarely written about is the time element. Every week without income is a lost week, and only under miraculous circumstances could income be recovered—even partially. To recover one week’s lost income, the following week needs to generate double, which is a 100% increase. Sorry, not in this job market!
Access to information about how to find a job is available and ample. In fact, there’s so much of it and it’s so easily accessible that it’s simply overwhelming job seekers. This is where a (hopefully, recommended) career coach can be very valuable. The reason is that such a coach can guide you to the essential information, since the coach has already sifted through it and eliminated the fluff. If you decide to get assistance from a career coach or career marketing firm, here are a few caveats.
- Do your due diligence to check up on the prospect. LinkedIn is a good source. Also look at the content and not the looks of the coach’s or firm’s Web site.
- Be clear on what you’ll get for your money. Stay away from high-pressure sales gimmicks.
- Work only with people or firms that have been highly recommended by a number of sources—not just one.
- Beware of signing contracts and especially of paying fees up front. Does your doctor, lawyer, or plumber charge you for future services?
- Be wary about testimonials that sound too good to be real. They may not be genuine.
- Your gut should be the final judge. Once you’ve done an examination and you’ve learned the implications of your decision and you feel good about it, go for it.
Wishing you all the best luck with your job search.