Category Archives: Headhunters

PART 2: Do You Need Professional Career Help? Coaches, Résumé Writers, Recruiters

Do I need Professional Help

Professional Résumé Writers

Let me start off right away with this: I am not a proponent of having someone else—a résumé writer, for example—document your professional skills, knowledge, and experience for your career strategy. Your mileage may differ if you’ve had a positive experience. No doubt there are truly skilled and knowledgeable résumé writers who understand how to best present your experience in a favorable light based on the information you provide them. But rephrasing your verbiage using a thesaurus and reformatting your content in a pleasing template will not necessarily garner the interest of a hiring manager.

Many résumé writers are freelance writers who perhaps specialize in business writing or business communications. Some may have certifications such as Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach, Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Nationally Certified Résumé Writer (NCRW), while others may have little or no experience in career counseling or in human resources – or even have years of experience vetting candidate résumés. Entrusting someone who does not have near the knowledge of your own experience as you do to write your résumé can be a risky investment.

What about using a Certified Resume Writer?

A “certified résumé writer” obtains certification by paying a fee to first joint a national association, pay another fee to have résumé samples reviewed, pay another fee for a certification review/exam, and if any part of the exam is failed, pay another fee for re-examination six or more months later. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are awarded for books published on writing résumés and cover letters, and for other education participation.

That’s all well and good and serves to provide some degree of competency for those who wish to become certified résumé writers (there are checklists and study guides available to help along the way).

A word about “guarantees” from anyone offering career help for money. No one can offer a guarantee that you will find a job with their personal assistance as there just are too many other variables beyond any one person’s control that influence one hiring manager’s decision to hire. Changes in hiring practices, job market fluctuations at different times and in different regions of the country, the overall up and down gyrations of the economy, even your likeability factor dictate to varying degrees decisions to hire. Beware of anyone making any kind of guarantees of finding you a job or career and requiring an upfront payment. The only guarantee that can be offered realistically with a résumé writing service is that you are satisfied that the résumé someone else wrote adequately reflects your skills, knowledge, and experience. If you aren’t satisfied, you’ll probably receive a free rewrite (something you can do for yourself).

But the question remains: who is the expert on your previous experience, skills, and knowledge? Who is the expert on what it took to help the organization achieve some higher strategic objective or revenue goal? Whose fingerprints should be all over the documents that attest to your expertise? Who knows best the long hours, the endless meetings, the challenges you met and overcame for every bulleted item on your résumé? I think you know the answer to those questions.

Next Post: Why YOU are the Best Option for Writing Your Résumé and Cover Letter

P.S. Many thanks to the folks who have recently elected to follow me on Twitter!

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Do You Need Professional Help? Coaches, Recruiters, and Résumé Writers

 Do I need Professional Help

 (This is the first of a 3-part blog post. The comments represent my own experience reinforced by nearly 30 years in various hiring manager positions where I have reviewed over one thousand cover letters and résumés, conducted hundreds of job interviews, and hired and managed countless technical/scientific, marketing, and communications professionals. Comments also reflect my experiences with hundreds of career strategy clients showing them how to shape a career strategy from the hiring manager’s perspective.)

In my May 2013 post on “Coaching” I related a story about participating in a panel discussion at a national conference with an HR representative, an executive coach, two professional recruiters, and a certified life coach.  We were asked to answer a variety of questions about the job market, résumés, cover letters, interviews, job and career strategies, and so on. But that experience revealed that not all career professionals are created equal. Refer to that post for the details.

Recruiters and Headhunters

Some companies use recruiters to screen résumés from applicants while others may use HR personnel (or internal recruiting subcontractors) for the task. Throughout most of my experience, hiring managers provide HR or a recruiter with the necessary requirements and prerequisites for the available position based on the overall team need.  When working with HR, they establish a competitive compensation package to start with. HR or the recruiter forwards to the hiring manager’s attention only those résumés that meet the job criteria. This approach streamlines the process for everyone involved and is an efficient way to determine which candidates deserve additional evaluation.

I have worked with internal and external recruiters in the past—some great; some not so great. The very good ones listen to what I need in a candidate and forward ONLY those résumés that meet that criteria. They also help candidates put a polish on certain elements of a résumé to better address job prerequisites. The not-so-good recruiters often forward résumés to me that reflect their own assessment of the candidate’s expertise, regardless of my stated requirements. But here’s the thing: a recruiter can forward to me a résumé that meets every single item on my “needs” list, but I, as the hiring manager, still have the final word on who gets called in for an interview. I need to get an in-person “feel” for a candidate not only through structured interview techniques, but also to gauge that candidate’s “likeability factor.”

Given that, Ladders.com reports that the average recruiter (not the hiring manager) spends six seconds scanning a résumé, looking at the candidate’s name, current and past titles, start and end dates of positions, employers and education. Hiring managers when first scrutinizing résumés spend about 10 seconds on the upper 2/3 of Page One. When recruiters are involved in the hiring process, résumés of people who meet the specific criteria as set by the hiring manager are forwarded on to the hiring manager for further evaluation.

While the use of recruiters can expedite that aspect of the hiring process, the organization must respond with expedited offers to qualified candidates to realize efficiencies and effectiveness. I’ve had many great candidates who were first vetted by recruiters become lost to competitors because the organization was slow to respond with a job offer, and any perceived cost savings associated with recruiters in the hiring process went out the window.

Using recruiters works for some and some folks steer clear of recruiters for many reasons. Just be sure you understand how the process works, and remember that the person who knows your career expertise best is you.

Next post: Résumé Writers

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