It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes only one individual to land a job — and that individual is the job seeker. If this concept seems elementary, as the old song goes, “It ain’t necessarily so.” Recently downsized job candidates as well as those who have been pounding the pavement for a while are subject to a natural, albeit counterproductive anxiety.
If you are a victim of your own worries, take steps to ensure that you are nobody else’s victim as you conduct your job search. Protect yourself against those hoping to con you out of whatever may be left in your bank account.
1. Don’t yield to the heavy-handed tactics of all-purpose resume writing-slash-recruitment firms. Not all, but many of these companies, tread the tightrope of legality and have already pitched themselves headlong over the ropes in terms of morality and genuine accountability. Most will actually promise to find you a job within a certain timeframe. Unless they themselves are empowered to offer you a job and are willing to pay your salary, don’t fall for this one; realistically, no one can make that claim in today’s economy.
2. Said all-purpose firms will offer to create a dynamic resume for you, adding that their team of “experts” will put their heads together to write something that reflects your individual qualifications and accomplishments. Should you get as far as actually sitting down with that group, think “snake oil salesmen.” If a group of people truly needs to collaborate on your resume, rest assured that no single one of them has a true handle on the nature of your job, nor how to accurately portray you through your most critical career document.
3. The all-purpose firms will support their claim above (1.) by designing an email blast campaign for you. This means that they will blindly shoot your resume off, via email, to several hundred employers either within your target geographic area or nationally (and they’ll push for nationally to hedge their bets).
While this strategy may, at first, appear to be a sound prospecting tactic, it’s not. Employers are already besieged by resumes that they have solicited; they won’t bother to scan the resumes of hopefuls bold enough to try to sidestep the normal procedure — which is, to respond to a job posting.
4. The price tag for this all purpose service will knock you back on your can, prevent you from paying your mortgage for at least the next two months, and prompt your spouse to walk out on you. The usual and customary charges, for the actual work involved, are unsupportable. These services must justify the salaries of that group of resume writing-cum-career experts, and that’s why they can cost as much as $10,000 and even higher!
5. That spouse we just mentioned? His or her name will be raised by the all purpose services, in tandem with a not so subtle guilt trip. You will be told that you have the opportunity to discuss your investment (read: rip-off) with your spouse and that you have 24 hours in which to make up your mind. The last time I looked, this was still America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Be brave enough to walk away and you’ll find yourself home free.
6. Refuse to use the services outright or after that 24 grace period, and be prepared to be peppered with all manner of insults, much as if you would have taken advantage of two days in the Bahamas and refused to buy into that timeshare. This is a particularly insidious and wicked stance, as the service reps know full well how vulnerable you are and how desperate to find a job quickly. Think about it. Would anyone who is truly reputable seek to cut you down to size and rob you blind in your weakest state?
7. Your best job hunting strategies are both are time-honored and fairly new. Seek out a resume writing service of integrity; one that has a long history of satisfied clients and an expansive base of knowledge concerning various industries, job titles, and job functions. Use the brains that God gave you to network socially and professionally, and to cull the Internet, posting and searching for jobs that reflect your actual skills and accomplishments.