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Who's on First?

A job seekers guide for knowing which players can help with the search and where to find them.

Most people rarely think about career development professionals until they’re pursuing a job search. If this is where you find yourself, here is an overview of the types of career development professionals you may look to during career transition:

Executive Recruiters (a.k.a., “Headhunters”): Executive Recruiters act as an agent of various organizations to identify candidates with specific skill sets to become employees.

Who do they work for? (i.e., Who pays the fee?): The Employing Organization (Fees can range from 15%-40% of total first-year compensation of the “placed” candidate).

What should you expect? If you are a fit for a position the recruiter is trying to fill, he/she will help you to prepare for the interview.

You need to know… Most headhunters work on contingency…that is, they’re paid only when they find the right candidate. If you’re not a fit and communication drops off, it’s not personal. It’s business.

Employment Agency (Private): Employment agencies often “place” candidates into positions for which they are qualified.

Who do they work for? (i.e., Who pays the fee?): This will vary by agency. In some cases, the Employing Organization pays the fee; in others, The Job Seeker pays. (As with Executive Recruiters, these fees can be steep…25% or more of your first year compensation.)

What should you expect? It depends on your skill set. Highly-skilled people are easier to place. Candidates whose skills are not actively sought may have fewer opportunities.

You need to know… BE AWARE! Ask to see the fee agreement up front and don’t sign anything until you fully understand your financial obligations. If you get an offer, you may owe the fee (even if you don’t want the job).

Career OneStop (Government Agency): The government’s interest is helping unemployed persons enter the workforce.

Who do they work for? (i.e., Who pays the fee?): Your tax dollars foot the bill for this government program.

What should you expect? OneStops have classes and job search materials. Usually, there’s a database of open positions, as well.

You need to know… Don’t expect a lot of individualized attention. Instruction is provided in community classes or online. Resumes are boiler-plate.

Career Consultant/Career Coach/Career Counselor: Career coaches are focused on helping their clients identify appropriate career paths and effectively market their skills to potential employers. They work with clients who are experiencing or anticipating career transition.

Who do they work for? (i.e., Who pays the fee?): The Job Seeker (sometimes sponsored by an educational institution, former employer, spouse’s employer, or other interested entity).

What should you expect? The consultant will assess a client’s needs, identify goals, then guide the client in reaching those goals, which may include determination of college major/continuing education, resume development, employer research, networking, interview preparation, and job search correspondence.

You need to know… If you want to make a significant change in your life’s work, or are going through a transition, Career Consultants/Coaches and Career Counselors (who, in addition to understanding career development, may also be trained in mental health) are best equipped to help you do this.

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