Free Career Services: How Wendy Blew Thousands of Dollars

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Free career services. Like many things that seem almost too good to be true–they often are. There are a lot of free and low-cost services available. Universities have them for alma mater. Many church and community groups offer them as well. But beware.

[To be fair, the quality of services varies considerably. Some universities and community groups do great work. We tend to hear from people who had bad experiences].

Wendy loses a job offer  

After setting a meeting with us, Wendy found that a neighborhood nonprofit offered services free of charge. She promptly cancelled our meeting, especially since people advised her to never pay someone to help find a job.

Mostly, the organization offered workshops on topics like networking, LinkedIn profiles, and job interviews. She learned a few things. So far so good.

She also was assigned a volunteer coach. He examined her resume and had a few suggestions. But she found her coach wasn’t helpful when her networking broke down. For some reason, no one was referring her to others.


Mostly, they offered workshops on various job search topics 

Later, when she wondered if she was going in the right direction in her search, the coach wasn’t sure.

When she finally got an offer, she remembered how one of the presenters had encouraged women to demand fair pay. Wendy made a clumsy push for what she thought was fair compensation. Unfortunately, she priced herself too high. The boss told her she was arrogant and retracted the job offer. Ouch!

It took her six expensive weeks to get another offer.

David attends a church-based career ministry

I overheard David, an astute executive from Kenilworth, talking to some other executives at a job support group. He said, “If you can afford it, I recommend hiring a personal coach. It was worth every penny.”

I asked David about this, and he raved about his coach (a colleague with another company). He said before he hired her, he had gone to a church-sponsored career ministry. An extremely-low fee entitled him to meet with a coach for one hour a week. It seemed like a no-brainer, so he paid the money and soon met with his first coach.

David was impressed. The coach understood David and his issues and they had a great rapport. Since the meeting was limited to an hour, they didn’t get a lot done, but David was excited about this coach.

Unfortunately, when he asked about setting another appointment, this coach said he was very part-time —and a popular coach—so he wouldn’t be able to meet again for four weeks.


David frowned. That seemed like an awfully long time, but he made the appointment.

David gets passed from coach to coach

While waiting for that meeting, David scheduled a meeting with a second coach. He spent most of the hour repeating what he’d said to the first coach. The advice he got seemed formulaic and irrelevant to his situation. David decided to try a third coach for the following week.

Again, most of the first meeting was spent covering the same ground. That was frustrating, but he thought this third coach was reasonably good, and scheduled a second meeting. But a freeway accident held up traffic and he arrived almost 30 minutes late for this meeting. Consequently, he only got a half hour meeting.

Finally—the First Coach Again

David was looking forward to meeting with the first coach again. Sure enough, the coach delivered. He found the time extremely helpful.

But then, the coach let him know that because of vacation and a heavy workload at his regular job, he wouldn’t have time to meet for six weeks. Not only that, but David found there was no coach available to meet with him the next week.

David calculates his losses
David sat down to evaluate what he was doing. Yes, he saved a few thousand dollars. On the other hand, he had been making very good money—well over the six-figure mark. Every week he was out of work cost him more than $2,500.

He decided to forego the church ministry services and hired a coach to help him.

Here’s what David said about the benefits of hiring a coach:

  1. Access. The coach was available to meet with me on a regular basis and didn’t limit meetings to one hour. Together with this coach, I got my job campaign moving.
  2. Customized advice. Instead of formulaic advice, I got customized and pertinent advice.
  3. Continuity. Instead of revolving-door coaching, I consistently met with a woman who understood me and my needs.
  4. Expertise. My coach wasn’t just a well-meaning volunteer. She was a professional who kept me on track and assisted me with some difficult issues.

In summary, a less-than-stellar job campaign can damage your self-esteem, professional credibility, lead to immense frustration, and cost you a lot of money to boot.

If you want to talk about coaching, contact us today. Ask about our Career Action Plan Meeting—a 2-hour, low-cost meeting to examine your career as a whole and your immediate situation and develop a plan.  847-673-0339


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Steve Frederick and Jack Chapman of Lucrative Careers have helped thousands of professionals to find work they love with great compensation. [/author_info] [/author]

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Lucrative Careers

Our Career Action Plan Meetings advance healthy careers and heal the wounded. Give us two hours, and we’ll get to the root of your career issues and come up with a plan to fix them. Call today: 847-673-0339.

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