Word of Warning: Snake Oil Career Revitalizer Tonic! (Part 1)


It’s no secret that the professional career advice field overflows with tips, suggestions, strategies, and methods that run the gamut from the banal to the brilliant. Part of the problem lies with the nature of the employment process and the many variables that do lie beyond the control of applicants and employers alike. The global economy, the Fed’s influence on interest rates, government regulation, health care costs, competition from foreign markets, political instability overseas, the list is a long one.

And then there are some variables where candidates do have control over their career direction. One of those controllable variables is how you choose to get help with various aspects of your career, be it cover letter, résumé, job interview skills, building brand equity, or overall career strategy. For example, if you enjoy reading, there are career strategy books written by a dating expert from The Millionaire Matchmaker TV show, by two psychologists/personality experts, by an ex-Wall Street management expert-turned-career-coach, a former fund manager and stock broker, the president of a global consulting firm, an occupational therapist, and several from prominent names in academic leadership development. The applied value of books by such authors for getting hired or charting a career I leave to be determined by the reader.

Similar situations can be found with the plethora of different coaching titles and certifications that can be had in 3 days for as little as $795 as this Google search shows.

certified coaching google

The Universal Coaching Institute offers certification in, well, just about any conceivable area you can think of. The IAP College offers a part-time online Career Coaching certificate for $97 where they promise the course can be done in as little as four weeks. How confident would you be with someone who earned an online career coaching certificate in one month helping YOU with YOUR career you’ve spent years developing? I’ve worked with some outstanding career strategists who have spent years honing their skills in corporate positions before venturing out on their own. Their experience and knowledge has been tested in the crucible of time, and as Indiana Jones once said, “It’s not the years, honey….it’s the miles.”

There are comedians, storytellers, and TV reality stars performing career coaching and résumé services that advocate making résumés more interesting or unique for hiring managers who are bored to tears reviewing typical résumés. Some of those folks have a few happy, satisfied clients.  “It’s about taking your brand to the next level,” some claim, by using narrative and other rhetorical devices. But they miss the boat when it comes to why hiring managers are uninterested and what’s needed to stimulate their interest.

In Part II of this post, I’ll explain why it’s the hiring manager and not the career coach who determines the criteria for “taking your brand to the next level.”

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.


 Donn LeVie Jr. is a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and has worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). He is the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).  He leads career strategy seminars and “Talent Spotting” programs for hiring managers at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. 

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information.

Don’t miss out on his blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.




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