As an Employment Counsellor, it’s my full-time job to provide job search assistance to people during the day. In my case, those people I work with through my employer all share a common characteristic in that they are currently on Social Assistance. Outside of these clients, I want to share some recent news about others I’ve been helping on my own time in the evenings and on weekends that may give hope to and ideas for other job seekers.
Just last evening I had a text from a professional in the childcare industry who happens to also be a friend of mine. This woman brought me her resume and cover letter which together we re-framed, and went through an intensive mock interview and then broke down afterward so she’d be better prepared. The message I received last evening was that she successfully obtained the job she was competing for as the Supervisor of a brand new Children’s Centre.
Two days ago, a Linkedin connection of mine had the good manners and professionalism to share with me the news that she has successfully landed a job competition she was up for, and I had a small part to play in the process she went through offering thoughts, suggestions and words of encouragement.
Three weeks ago, another woman I was working with also met with me privately one evening and we also re-structured her cover letter, resume, and I introduced a structure to her mock interview that was lacking resulting in her obtaining increased confidence in her interview skills, and therefore being able to come across as more assertive, professional and ultimately the right person for the job based on the quality of her answers.
Let me quickly point out that this isn’t meant to be a self-gratifying exercise where I share MY successes, but rather I want to point out that each one of these three people – and I’ve a list much longer – made one important decision; they opted to reach out and get help. Each presented with an open mind, willing to accept any constructive criticism, and because of THEIR attitudes, I was able to impart some words of wisdom from my area of expertise, namely employment counselling.
Now I’m not trying to drum up business and get clients; really I’m not. What I’m trying to do is illustrate that the value in getting help from professionals who do similar work can translate into a shorter period of unemployment in a tough market. Can you still get a job without such help? Of course you can. But if you could increase your odds of getting interviews and job offers, reducing the time you are unemployed, and through that process reduce your frustration, anger, resentment, stress and ward off full-blown depression, why wouldn’t you?
You see here’s the point I’ve made over and over. You are the expert in YOUR field. Nobody is denying that you aren’t well-trained in your field, and know much more about it than the average Employment Counsellor or Job Coach. No one after all can be the, ‘expert’ in all fields. However, Employment Counsellors and Job Coaches are the ‘experts’ in their little corner of the world when it comes to job search strategies, career decision-making processes, cover letter and resume designs, interviewing well, and personal presentation. Combining your existing skills and knowledge with that of one of these people may just be the advantage you need and give you and edge over your competition.
Having said this, there is no guarantee that you will automatically get the first job you apply to after getting aid from one of these people. What you do succeed in doing though is increase your odds of getting interviews and job offers and if that’s important to you, then the investment of your time is well spent. Depending on the job you are looking for, the Advisor, Job Coach or Employment Counsellor you work with will need some short period of time to get up to speed with the requirements of your field and you as a person to know how to best help you out.
Some general advice when connecting with one of these professionals is to be entirely honest right off the bat when talking about why you are currently unemployed, what you are looking for, and any weaknesses or shortcomings. It may be embarrassing to say you’ve been fired and why for example, but a good Employment Counsellor is more concerned about moving forward and just wants the complete picture to see how best to help you learn from the past and perhaps answer any awkward questions in an interview.
Remember at all times it is you who should ultimately be in charge of your employment planning and job search strategy. You can definitely go it alone or put together a team of people to support you and help provide feedback and perhaps guidance.
Whatever you decide, may I personally wish you the very best of success in this transition period between the present and your future employment, whether it’s just around the corner or further down the road.
All the very best!