Job Search Economics 101

By Tracy Laswell Williams, CPRW, President, CAREERMagic

For those of you who want to find your next job in a day or two, for $29.99, I have a question. What are you thinking? The quality of your next job directly affects your quality of life! Why is it then, that so many people want to find that next job without taking the time to consider their options and launch a well-planned approach? Why not get professional help?

As a career services professional, I've witnessed these inappropriate fits of thriftiness time and time again. Ironically, most folks don't have a problem dropping several hundred dollars on interview attire, but seem to think that a thoughtlessly prepared resume and perhaps a form letter is all that will be needed to get those interviews. If that's all the more prepared they are, I would say that they had better be looking really good in those interview duds.

Of course I'm not advocating that you spend thousands of dollars on a job search. But it is wise to plan on spending some time and money on your job search. With the right career services firm, this is an investment that will pay for itself many, many, many times over, considering the following benefits:

You'll be looking for the most lucrative job for which you're qualified
You'll significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to land an interview
You'll interview more effectively and get more offers
You'll negotiate compensation more effectively (for people who are at the beginning end a career, this translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years)
You'll suffer far less anxiety than the average do-it-yourself job seeker

Before you stiffen with fear of sticker shock, let me explain something ñ a high-quality, reputable firm will not charge you more than a few days' wages to prepare you for an outstanding job search . Not a few weeks' wages, not a few months' wages. There, feel better? And there truly isn't a better return on investment anywhere.

A final point. Most career consulting firms are small operations. Why? Because career consulting is largely a one-to-one service. Each job search is different, and therefore the strategies employed by the career consultant differs. This type of service simply doesn't lend itself to international franchising. There are few economies of scale that consultants can take advantage of and overhead is relatively high. Large firms can't charge less than smaller firms, and in fact, typically charge much more for less personalized service.

Whatever you're paying a consultant, be it $75 or $200 per hour, please remember that you're paying for your piece of the operation (professional development, association fees, telephone service, computers, office leases, furniture, advertising, and even paperclips). Consultants sell their expertise based on a limited number of hours, and while they are intrinsically motivated by your career success, they can't give the service away, and they can't sell it at a loss either. To find the right firm for you, look at credentials, years of experience, mission statements, and performance guarantees. Consult with a few firms before hiring one so that you can make an informed decision. You'll be very glad you did.

© 1999-2016 Tracy Laswell Williams. All rights reserved.

Tracy Laswell Williams
Tracy Laswell Williams is an accredited resume writer and career consultant who works with a diverse client base nationwide. She built her company CAREERMagic five years ago on the premise that "great minds think differently." Visit the company website at