In yesterday’s blog review, I included a quote from Julie Walraven’s blog which read:
“The best thing a job seeker can do is make a smart buying decision based on whose personality, knowledge base, and strategies fit their needs best. All of us care about our clients, you can choose which one of us is right for you.”
I love the openness and the centeredness on the job seeker that comes from that statement.
It made me think of all that my husband and I went through to find an adoption agency when we decided to start our family. We conducted a mountain of research on organizations, considered international and domestic options, and attended informational sessions.
I remember one agency we talked with early in the process that left a bad taste in our mouths. We were so excited and ready to embark on the adventure that is parenthood, but the reception we received by the agency that hosted the informational session was not what we had expected. Yes, they answered our questions and said that they would work with us, but we felt a general sense of unease. After they dropped the ball on getting back to us a couple of times about questions we had, we pulled out. If this is what it was like now, what would it be like in the midst of an adoption process? Fortunately, the only thing we had lost in working with them was time.
As we continued the research into agencies, a friend of mine was working toward her own adoption. When I questioned her about the process and her agency, she raved about the particular social worker that she and her husband were using. So we called up this social worker and made an appointment to talk with her.
From the very first moment, the feel in the office was markedly different from the visit to that other agency. The social worker was gracious and inviting, and her statements spoke clearly of her focus on the individuals coming to her:
“I’m very protective of my families.”
“You need to make sure that this is a good fit for you… If you decide that there is another social worker you would prefer to work with, I understand.”
The second that my husband and I walked out the door, we looked at each other and said, “She’s the one.” And she was absolutely amazing! She made our dream of being parents a reality, not once, but twice.
If you decide that you want to work with a job coach or a résumé writer to help you with your employment search, you need to make sure that you don’t just randomly pick someone. There needs to be a good fit with you and the person you are partnering with to help you achieve your career dreams.
Here are some tips for finding the right person:
1. Before you even start to research professionals, make a list of your wants and needs. If you have a difficult time clarifying what you want to get out of your job search, perhaps someone with a background as a career coach might be a better fit to help you hone in on where you want to go with your next job.
2. Talk with others who have used the services of the people you are considering. If you don’t have a personal contact who has worked with the career professional you are evaluating, ask him/her for a list of satisfied customers who can speak to any questions you may have.
3. Check them out online. Read their website/blog, follow them on Twitter, Google them, friend them on Facebook. The Internet is a great source of information that will help you learn more about who they are and how they approach their work.
4. Ask the career professional for more information about their experiences, their philosophies, and their methods. If you find yourself nodding along with what they are telling you, chances are, it will be a good match. If their responses raise more questions or confusion in your mind, don’t necessarily check them off, but keep the information you obtain on file.
5. Have an open mind! The career professionals you seek out are just that: professionals in the field of job searching and career management. They do know what they are talking about. If you feel like you have concerns with every person you talk with, maybe you should ask yourself the question, “Is it them or is it me?” Maybe you are being unrealistic about what you can expect in terms of results or maybe you are trying to “control” the process too much.
6. Do a side-by-side comparison on your reactions to every person you consider. Getting the information written down so you can really compare apples to apples will help further refine what you are looking for.
It just makes sense to take the time to find the right person to partner with if you decide to go that route. After all, this is your career we’re talking about! You don’t want to cavalierly enter into an agreement with someone and find out after it’s too late that you made a poor choice simply because you didn’t exercise a little due diligence.