Getting Professional Job Search Help – Finding A Professional Without Getting Ripped Off

I think many candidates are so afraid of getting ripped off that they don’t engage a professional to help them with their job search. I know there are many rip-off artists out there just waiting to take your money. I have written about this and even posted a video on YouTube in an attempt to expose these vultures.

But in this case, a few bad apples don’t ruin the whole barrel. There are many outstanding resources for candidates to engage. I firmly believe these pros can dramatically shorten your time searching. The ROI for hiring one can be as good as mob rates. For a few dollars you can be making a full salary a lot sooner. It seems like a small price to pay given the cost of unemployment.

So what are some of the things you should look for to make sure you don’t get ripped off? Here is my list, and I’m sure there are more, but if they qualify here they are probably a good choice ( I welcome your additions to this list).

  1. First and foremost, Do they tell you or imply in any way that by working with them they will get you a job? If this is even implied RUN. Nobody can get you a job but you. This is a common tactic that is used because they know if they don’t tell you this, or simply imply it as most do, you won’t give them your money. This is where most people get ripped off. An example of implying includes, “X % of the people that work with us find a job in X months.”
  2. Did they call you on a cold call? Most of the unethical, so-called professionals contact you first. They find  your resume online and then try to sell you. The top professionals live off of referrals and never (repeat never) call you. I have never made a cold call to a candidate for a coaching assignment. All of my assignments come from referrals. So if someone calls you, don’t listen to them.  HANG UP.
  3. What are their credentials? Although this doesn’t guarantee anything, at least you know they have some training. Check out the organization that provided the credentials. Make sure it is a real organization with a real program.
  4. Have them state in writing exactly what the outcomes will be once your time together is over. I’ll bet it doesn’t include finding a job in the agreement. You should know exactly what to expect. I always ask the people I work with this question, “What will you need at the end of our time together to consider it a raving success?”  Then I listen carefully to their answer. If I can’t deliver what they expect, I don’t take on the client. For example, if they reply, “A job.” then it’s over. See number 1. Does the person  you are thinking about working with ask you this?
  5. Prior to even contacting a professional, you should crystallize in writing exactly what you expect from the person. You should have your list of expectations. Then compare that to what they claim to provide.
  6. Prior experience and performance. What real world experience and track record of performance do they bring to the table? For example, just because a person is a Certified Resume Writer, doesn’t mean they are the right CRW for you. It only means that they are certified. PERIOD. That is all it means. Don’t read anything more into it. What you want to know is, how many times have they sat across the desk from a hiring manager in your field and had the hiring manager drill them on a resume?  This is how one learns what is important on a resume. How many times has a hiring authority told them what they want to see (and not see) on a resume in your field? If they have this level of experience there is little guessing in what a good resume is for your field. If they have never had this experience then how can they help you? This isn’t just for a CRW, it goes for all career coaches, and especially for what I call “job search” coaches. How can someone help you in your job search if they haven’t been on the other side of the table in the hiring process?

The best way to ensure that you get the right help is to hire the right person. A top professional may cost  you a few dollars, but getting back to work one month sooner can save you thousands.

I encourage you not to be so focused on the pennies that you lose the dollars.

Start out by first evaluating your job search effectiveness. Download our free Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. Find the strengths and weaknesses of your job search. Then look for someone to improve  your weaknesses. CLICK HERE to download.

One source is your LinkedIn profile. You must have a great profile. Download our free LinkedIn Profile Assessment. This will help you build a great profile that makes you the expert in  your field. CLICK HERE to download.

Finally, join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It is free and provides its members with a wealth of articles and great discussions. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your thoughts and comments

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.

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