Job Hunting 101: Resume Writers? Career Coaches? Are They Worth It?

This article recently appeared on the Consumer Media Network.

Job Hunting 101: Resume Writers? Career Coaches? Are They Worth It?

May 30, 2012 Posted by Meredith Deliso

When you’re looking for a job, the last thing you want to do is spend money beyond the essentials. That makes job services such a debatable expense: Should you spend upwards of hundreds or even thousands of dollars on resume writers, recruiters, career counselors, or subscription job boards to give yourself a competitive edge? Or should you just use the resources that are already available to you – often for free – to get the job?

The short answer is, career professionals can often provide a service that people sending out hundreds of resumes without a bite don’t know how to do – market themselves effectively.

“The truth of the matter is, if anyone could promote themselves, then PR agencies wouldn’t exist,” said Lauren Milligan, founder of the Chicago-based ResuMAYDAY, a professional resume writing company. “People are good at doing a lot of these things for themselves, but that doesn’t mean they’re good at selling their story the right way.”

There’s no shortage of these job consulting “PR agencies,” with services ranging from resume and cover letter writers to headhunters, career coaches, image consultants, and job search seminars. These services are nothing new – headhunters even date back to World War II – but the extensive layoffs in the intervening years since the stock market crash in 2008 helped put a spotlight on the industry in a big way.

“The recession really brought them to light because more people were looking for work and trying to find that edge,” said Miranda Marquit, a blogger who specializes in finance and career advice at Planting Money Seeds.

Just about every recruiter or paid employment service will tell you upfront that they do not guarantee they’ll find you a job, but that edge could lead to landing a job faster, advancing up the ladder, getting paid more, or finding greater job satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean people always take advantage of these services. In fact, Milligan said her biggest competitor isn’t other resume writing companies, but people who don’t think they need the service.

“My competition is the job seeker who thinks they can write their resume themselves, or who doesn’t want to invest in career advancement services,” said Milligan.

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One common counter argument against spending money on these services is that so much is already available to job seekers online – often for free. LinkedIn and Twitter can serve as your headhunter, providing networking and self-marketing tools. You can consult message boards, articles, and other web resources for career advice. You can attend job workshops through your local community or religious organization. You also can have friends, family, and colleagues read your resume for you. If you can spend the time, you can learn the tricks of the trade.

” With time and effort, you can perform nearly every function of a job service on your own without spending a dime,” said Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance. “Several years ago, I spent nearly $3,000 for an employment service, and although it did help, I later realized that I could have performed nearly all of the provided services myself.”

Of course, for those who don’t have the time to spend on an effective job search, that’s where job consultants can come into play.

“There are so many elements involved in the skill of job search that most people find themselves up against a wall,” said David Muir, Jr., founder of GigSpire, a job training workshop based in Virginia. “Sure, there is plenty of information available for free on the Internet, but there are so many sources and conflicting opinions it can confuse the reader.”

Another counter argument against using resume writers, headhunters and the like is that they may be preying on people’s desperation in a down economy and not providing a legitimate service. With that in mind, we’ll walk you through each job service available out there, what they do, and what you should keep in mind if you’re looking to invest in one.

Career Counselors

Resume writers may be the most strongly recommended job service, but there are other professionals that can provide similar services for those who are not having success finding a job, as well as seeking career guidance. Career counselors do more than just give personality tests – they can help you write your resume, develop interview and salary negotiating skills, figure out which skills are going to be most useful in your desired field, and, if you’re unhappy with your job or want to make a career change, help you through that process.

“The big picture is definitely to find satisfaction and fulfillment in one’s career,” said Rachel Eddins, a licensed professional counselor in Houston. “We’re going to have 10 jobs in a lifetime. The more you know about yourself, feel confident about yourself, and have the skills to make effective decisions, the better off you’re going to be in the long term.”

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Career Counseling Services We Offer

If you’re interested in working with a career counselor, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Our career counselors have worked in other industries as well as in career centers, where they’ve interacted with employers from a range of industries. We can help you get started with career direction or making a career change as well as job hunting and career management. Contact us to find out how we can help you create your best-fit career. Read more about career counseling.

Find a specific resume and cover letter example that matches just what you are looking for! Eddins Counseling is pleased to offer access to career related resources and premium resume templates. Click here to access our Searchable Database of Resume & Cover Letter Examples by Industry, Job Title & Experience Level. 

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Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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