Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reinventing Career Counseling

In each WashingtonPost.com column, The Big Idea, I get to propose a disruptive solution to a big problem.

This week, I'm disrupting my own profession. It's on reinventing career counseling.

Perhaps surprising, it's a field that, net, hurts society as much as helps it. I like to think that what I propose fixes that. HERE is the link.


Leonard Crane said...

I can particularly relate to Dr. Nemko's worries about possibly unethical behavior. The reason I gave up one of my most frequent jobs - that of copy-editing dissertations for foreign-born graduate students whose skills in producing English prose were virtually nonexistent - was the ethics factor. It was (as I eventually perceived) collusion on my part. Numerous kids, who literally could not write a solitary English-language sentence without embarrassing mistakes, were obtaining academic qualifications on the strength of my wholesale rewriting.

Grace said...

I do not feel unethical creating resumes and giving job search tips to underqualified applicants. While I may be presenting their skills in the best light, I can only work with the information they give me. Resumes generate interest but I do not believe they get people hired. A smart employer will require a demonstration of skills in their own application process or interview.

That said, some of the people I work with have come to me with resumes full of fabricated dates or qualifictions. Why did they do it? A Career Counsellor told them to. Sad.

Marty Nemko said...

Grace, the problem is that most employers use a resume as an initial SCREENING tool. A candidate, too honest to hire a resume writer, will too often been screened out because of it. As I said, employers appropriately use resumes as an indicator not only of one's job history but one's ability to organize thoughts and communicate effectively. Those attributes are critical on most jobs. If someone else is writing the resume, especially a professional resume writer, the honest candidate that did their own work, would be unfairly penalized, just as it would be unethical for an applicant to college or graduate school to hire someone to write their essay.

Anonymous said...

I think though that part of the problem is how employers screen resumes in the first place.

From my understanding the first person to see your resume is in HR. 99% of the time that person will not have a degree in or have little knowledge of the field you're applying. Especially in the engineering and science fields when I've met the HR person they have little clue about the technical details of the position. They rely on "key words" provided by the hiring manager in the job description when they screen for resumes. I've learned to try to incorporate those "key words" in my resume.

I understand that the hiring manager is most likely swamped with work and doesn't have time to filter resumes. But still I spend on average at least an hour or more tailoring my resume and preparing a personalized coverletter for the position. I should at least be given the respect of having someone who understands the verbage scan my resume.

In that sense then, is it so wrong to use someone to help tailor your resume to get past an HR person who knows little about content anyway?

Ethical Career Consultant said...

Yikes! to Grace's comment. Just yesterday I turned down a potential resume client because they just didn't sound like a winner to me. Refugee from an industry that suffered severe downturn. He has been at it for 4 years trying to get back into it and working low-level job in transportation and logistics. If you can't manage your own career (seeing that it's time to change industries), why should an employer hire you to manage their business? I had to pass. I will not help an underqualified person with their resume.


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