I'm in the business of dishing up job search advice. So what I'm about to say may appear near blasphemous. But I'll risk it, because this topic has been searing a hole in my brain of late and I have to get it out here.
When you are seeking employment, whether you're unemployed, underemployed or just dreaming of taking your career to a new or different level? Be aware:
Job search advice can work against you.
Not only can it work against you, it can make your head feel like it's -- with near certainty -- going to blow off your shoulders in grand Mt. St. Helens style. And that is not good.
You need that brain for strategy, research and willpower when you're in the thick of a job search.
One problem is that, unlike companies specializing in law, financial advice, food service or the medical care, there are few standards, regulations or policies surrounding such jobs as career coaches, resume writers and job search supporters. Pretty much anyone can, today, throw out a shingle and say,
"Voila! I'm a job search advisor. Come and get some, world!"
Many of these advisors are excellent. They have deep experience in human resources, staffing or other business areas that surround the hiring process. They know their stuff, they care about those they serve, and they will be an invaluable ally to you throughout the process.
Others just flat out suck.
They proclaim expertise over the subject matter when, frankly, they've just read it in a book, on a blog, or haven't really studied the topic much at all. They hire college kids to write the resumes they're charging you $750 to craft (and then turn around and pay the college kids $200). They know they're often dealing with people who are at their absolute wit's end, and they prey upon them. Easy moolah.
So if you are considering professional job search counsel, you must. And I mean MUST. Do your homework. Understand what that advisor's background is, and how they've acquired their expertise. Ask for referrals. Make sure your personalities line up. Make sure you have a good gut feeling.
Because friend, your gut is very rarely wrong.
Another way in which job search advice can work against you is when you ask too many people for input. Ay yay.
Trust me, EVERYONE is ready to dish out advice to the people around them. So if you ask 10 friends and loved ones to review your resume or weigh in on what job you should pursue, guess how many variations of advice (much of which will contradict what the others have just said) do you suppose you'll get?
Probably about seven or eight. And now you get to figure out who's right. And who's not right. And sometimes, all of this gets very, very confusing.
Bottom line is this...
This is your career, your livelihood, your life. Use your gut as your compass.
But if you don't understand how to construct and execute an effective job search, or if you're confused about how to prioritize or network or utilize social media or be creative? Don't beat yourself up. This is really challenging for a lot of people. Many struggle with job search for weeks or months before they really start clicking.
If you need help, by all means... Stop spinning your wheels and go find it.
Just don't ask 20 people for their input (especially those who have a personal stake in your career choices -- you will likely get a biased answer), and don't hire a "professional" without doing some homework first.
Else your brain my well explode.
Photo by: Me. Pretty magnificent, huh?