I've been out of work for six months. I've always been good at search, and have been resourceful enough to find out the best techniques. Yet . something's not working this time. I've been told over and over that I should find a good career advisor to help me, but I hate spending the money during this time, and don't quite know what to expect.
This one is always a bit uncomfortable to answer, because it's tough to avoid appearing totally self-serving. Obviously, I think seeing an advisor is a great way to help you get through this difficult time; otherwise, I would've chosen a different career. (Although there have been times when I have told prospective clients that they might benefit more from consulting with professionals in another field.)
Okay, that's out of the way, and I'll be as objective as possible.
My major reason for suggesting a career advisor is an emotional one - search is isolating. You've been separated from your routine, from a part of your identity, and from people you may have liked. Left on your own, you ruminate. You try to interpret every single aspect of the search, i.e. Why is this person not calling back? Why isn't my resume working the way resumes should? Why is it five days since they said they'd call and they had promised three? Have I made the right choice in what I'm seeking? Maybe it's time for a radical change? And, my favorite: Why are so many people so incredibly rude during this process?
You go round and round in these thoughts (among many others about this process), don't get anywhere, and start to over-think every aspect. Some people end up reworking their resumes 10 or 12 times, almost always a colossal waste of energy. Sometimes, the result of all the rumination is to make bad career decisions, just to avoid the anxiety of the process itself. If you have a significant other or family or both, that will probably add to the stress, no matter how supportive friends and family may be.
What's lacking here is perspective, and I think that's where the experienced listener and advisor plays a most critical role. It always amazes me that at the end of a successful client experience, one of the comments I have heard the most over the years is, "You really understood what I was going through." It's not usually about the technical aspects of the transition, even if we spent two or three entire meetings reviewing pitch and networking technique.
Of course, an experienced consultant will be knowledgeable about the (over-hyped) resumes, will help with interview presentation and content, will teach the value of high-touch relationship building, and, I hope, will understand and show the value of social media and social intelligence in the process.
As for the money, if it helps, it's worth it. Think about the big picture.
To find answers to your questions on job search and career transition, get your copy of In Search of the Fun-Forever Job: Career Strategies that Work