Most of the job-search workshops I deliver have a main thread in common, obviously I try my best to adapt it to my target audience. However, it´s normal we find ourselves delivering a workshop where a diversity of professionals or students are present. So, you may say that what we do is to standardize and to give advice that can be useful for everybody. But is this approach successful?
Ilana Gershon is an anthropology professor from the University of Indiana. She decided to research the way job-hunters found work and she published her research on this book: Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today.
During 2013 and 2014 Gershon interviewed 165 job seekers, career counsellors, hiring managers, recruiters, HR managers and people recently hired, she also attended 54 workshops that taught job-seekers, many of them 50+:
1. How to use LinkedIn & Social Media
2. How to write resumes
3. How to develop their personal brand and network
4. How to interview
So, some of Gershon´s conclusions may come as a surprise for HR & Career experts as they challenge the career advice given by professionals:
- Personal Brand was not very useful.
- Cultivating “weak ties” on LinkedIn was not very useful either. 61 % got jobs through workplace ties and 17% through weak ties.
- The black hole of applying for work and not hearing back is also a subtle way of age discrimination.
- Employers rarely find out how well job seekers would do in a job.
To summarize Gershon´s opinions when interviewed, she considered that candidates were not going to be evaluated for great Resume & LinkedIn profile writing. She also highlighted the following:
Workshops were open and free to everyone, so they had to have a common denominator of advice for every industry. A lot of issues for people looking for work are industry specific. Part of the problem with job-search advice now is that it’s too standardized.
You can read the full article here:
My objective by sharing this article is to debate about how effective we are when delivering our training or teaching. I have found that it is almost impossible to fulfill people´s needs in a standardized workshop, but that is what you end up doing. Is not that I feel it´s not useful, but I agree with Gershon´s point of view, that more specific and industry targeted workshops would be a greater way to help job seekers.
Having said that, I partly disagree with Gershon as I don´t consider teaching and training job-seekers as a waste of time. When I finish my career program with clients, they are grateful to see how much they have learnt. It has helped them to get a new job and they can understand the benefit of acquiring this knowledge as a part of a long-life career management expertise.
I need to reflect that we have other options like hiring a Professional Resume & LinkedIn Writer and a Personal Branding & Social Media advisor. These professional will need to become real partners, going through your career story and identifying the best you can offer connected with the industry or job market you would like to work for.
In addition, there are also representation services that can help you to get interviews and to put you in touch with key decision makers. It´s clear that these type of personalized services will have a greater cost for clients but in my experience the rate of success will be much higher than a general standardized workshop approach.
What do you think? Are professionals ready to pay for these services? Do Career Services at Business Schools and Universities understand the need of a personalized job-search approach?
If you are starting your job-search now don´t hesitate to read: