Is it worth the investment to hire a genuine expert? In many cases, hiring an expert represents long-term value. How many DIY home projects have you seen gone awry at your home or for one of your friends? My favorite is a friend who saved $50 on the connection of a new refrigerator only to flood his entire downstairs, costing him a $1,000 insurance deductible and two weeks of downtime for the clean-up and new floor installation. We all have those examples. Yet, we fall into these traps to avoid an expense.
I truly admire those with the gift to do certain things without hiring a professional. Personally, I love to cook. It gives me great pleasure to cook beautiful meals for groups of friends, as well as my family. I would not dream of hiring a caterer. However, I certainly use professionals in many other aspects of my life. For example, I wouldn’t even consider trying to fix my gas fireplace or install wrought iron to extend my serving space. I see disaster spelled all over that!
When it comes to your career, do you need an expert?
I can answer that by asking you these questions:
- What is your résumé’s response rate? If you have been actively marketing yourself with your current résumé for six to eight weeks and you are not getting a response, it is time to consider a professional résumé writer.
- Have you been interviewing and are not receiving job offers? If so, it is time to seek interview coaching.
- Are you completely confused when it comes to designing a job search campaign? A professional can help.
How do you know your expert is qualified, reliable, and knowledgeable of current trends?
- Verify the professional’s industry certifications and college education. These are minimum qualifications for any résumé writer, interview coach, or career counselor.
- Years in service matters. I would not consider a professional with less than five years of experience. That may seem harsh; based on my observations many with less than five years are working in a larger company or college campus. They earn their experiences while ‘on the job’ and some move on to become entrepreneurs. My feeling is that there are enough professionals in the marketplace that you can easily find someone who has extensive experience – someone who has worked in business and has also established a significant amount of credibility with their own network of private clients.
- Ask about industry and occupational experience. Writers and coaches are trained to support individuals spanning all occupations. If you are in a specialized field someone who understands your industry will better serve you. Don’t expect that person to have worked in your industry. They need to know enough to market and advise you – not actually perform your job.
- Review the website carefully. If you find their website to be unprofessional or ridden with typos, this is not the best professional your money can buy!
- Ask about sample work and examples of past success stories. It may not be reasonable to expect contact information for client references. Many clients don’t want to be bothered. Personally, I would not want to trouble my clients by asking them to talk to prospects. Oftentimes professionals will have testimonials on a website. LinkedIn can also serve as a great place to review recommendations.
- Trust your instincts. After a phone interview with a professional, you will have a good sense as to whether they are qualified and if your engagement with them will be valuable.
Consulting an expert allows you to leverage their skills, knowledge, and experience. They can be objective about your résumé, your job search campaign, and your communication skills. You may not be able to identify issues independently. Your peers may be biased or reluctant to give you honest feedback. Consider my examples at the top of this blog. The biggest reason to consider hiring an expert is that they can save you money over the long-term. Career experts can shorten your job search time significantly and can help you attain a position with increased compensation.