You hear water dripping from your ceiling and realize there is probably a leak in your roof. Now you need to figure out how to fix it and you do not know the first thing about leaks or roof repair. You call around for a referral and find the best and most affordable roof person. The roof person comes to your house and determines where the leak was coming from and the problem is fixed in a short period of time. You did not really want to spend the money, but recognized that this was no time to DIY the project; it was time to bring in the pros.
So how about when you are looking for a new job? When is it time to ditch your DIY plans and bring in the big guns? When is it time to hire a career consultant? Here are five such instances:
1. You are Stuck
If you are feeling that you are at an impasse and unsure about how to get yourself out of the muck and back on track, stop right there and bring in a professional.
What type of pro should you engage? This is an important question, because not all coaches are alike, personality-wise, process-wise, or core area of focus-wise.
If you have a decent idea of what you want to do next, but simply are not making progress in your job search, consider someone who specializes in job search strategy. Career experts in this arena will typically look at what you are doing, and what you are not doing. They will review the “paperwork” you are using to market yourself (resume, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and then help you build or fine-tune a game plan and revise your materials to line up with your desired direction.
Allowing yourself to stay in stuck mode for too long can be damaging to your mental and physical health, and detrimental to your long-term career. Hire an expert to help you move forward.
2. You’ve Sent Out Umpteen Resumes Without Success
I worked with a client who hired me after applying for 500+ jobs in six months. She received all of three replies. You can imagine her mood and level of frustration by the time she got to my doorstep.
I was able to quickly decipher what was going wrong. Her resume was not updated appropriately from her last job search 5 years ago, her resume was not aligned to her target market, she was not sending personalized cover letters, and she was not doing any networking through the search process. I helped her construct a new strategy and plan. As a result, she landed interviews within a few weeks of our initial meeting.
If this sounds remotely like you, stop what you are doing and think about enlisting a consultant who understands how this works. So many job seekers do not understand how, specifically, the process works today.
A career consultant, particularly one who understands the recruitment process inside and out, can help you understand the game and implement a solid strategy.
3. You are Attempting a Career Pivot
Making any sort of job transition can be challenging at best. Making a major career pivot? Oh boy! These sorts of moves can drive even the best of us bonkers!
Rather than winging it through a big transition, search out a career consultant with experience in these types of moves. You want to find someone who can help you talk through the rationale behind your desires, evaluate how realistic the move may be, construct a strategy, and likely a new resume and cover letter to support this new direction.
4. Interviewing Paralyzes You
If you are making it to the point at which potential employers are inviting you in for interviews, that is great. This is a big accomplishment considering how cutthroat the competition is for a lot of positions.
If you are someone who goes numb upon seeing a hiring manager in the flesh or on video, bring in a professional to help you ASAP. Find someone who will conduct mock interviews with you, walk you through the process, and help you strategize on how you will deal with each step and potential scenario. There is no point in hustling your rear end off to capture an employer’s interest if you are going to freeze the second you are faced with an interview. Get help.
5. You Prefer Anything but Networking
Networking is hard for most people—so hard that plenty avoid it and, instead, just apply to job after job via an online application.
To accelerate your search, you need to get comfortable engaging your network. You need to learn how to cultivate new relationships with people working at the companies you have your eye on. You must understand that most hiring managers will look at the resume of someone who has been referred long before one that comes in among the big group of other online applicants.
And if this concerns you, this would be yet one more instance in which you need to hire someone who understands and is good at networking/navigating LinkedIn.
You may have people around you who insist that you can do all of this by yourself. A few may even imply there is something wrong with you if you cannot pull it off on your own. And every now and then, it is going to be your own inner critic making you feel ridiculous for needing help in the first place.
But, if one of the above scenarios is yours, ignore them all. Some projects just are not meant to be a do-it-yourself production. Remember, you are not a roofer and you hired the expert to fix your leaky roof. Know your capabilities, know your limitations. Strategize accordingly and hire an expert.