Tweak Your Biz » Management » Careers Coach – Job seekers poll

Careers Coach – Job seekers poll

Since January I have been conducting a job seekers poll, asking them what they really would like to get from a career advice expert. I conducted my poll through LinkedIn, Poll Daddy, Facebook , my own Blog and in person. The poll results are based on the views of 100 job seekers.

Here is what they were asked.

As a Job Seeker what assistance you would like to get from a Career Guidance expert?

  • Help with your cv or resume
  • Help with confidence and self belief
  • Advice on what type of job is suitable
  • Interview preparation and techniques
  • Networking and Proactive job seeking
  • Other – Please state

Only one answer could be selected.

The Results:

  1. Networking and Proactive job seeking  – 37%
  2. Advice on what type of job is suitable – 21%
  3. Help with confidence and self belief – 17%
  4. Help with your cv or resume – 10%
  5. Other – 9% (Help and advice on starting up a business 6%, Advice on education and up skilling – 3%)
  6. Interview preparation and techniques – 6%

So what do you make of the results?

I was surprised at how few respondents chose cv and interview help. After all that is the main focus of many Career Guidance companies.  Many job seekers I spoke to felt disarmed by the current economic market, they did not feel in control of their search and were frustrated awaiting feedback from companies and agencies. Most people I talked to had become very aware of the importance of networking, but genuinely had no idea of how to go about building a network.  They could see how networking could aid their job search, but the very thought of actually networking sent shivers down their spine!  On reflection “Networking and Proactive job seeking” may have been too broad a choice. Many respondents chose it because they physically did not know how to network, whilst others were thinking social media as the networking and proactive tool they wanted help with.

Many people have lost their jobs having worked in the “boom industries” of yesterday.  Job opportunities are “scarce” in certain industries for example construction and banking. Many job seekers are forced to change careers, but find themselves unsure what type of job is suitable for them. As one gentleman said to me during this study – “A cv is the least of my worries, I have no idea which direction to look in for a job”.

I was also very interested that 17% of respondents openly stated that “confidence and self belief” was what job seekers wanted from a Career Guidance expert the most.  This is something every one of us can help job seekers with.  We should all spend a bit of time spurring each other on and offering encouragement during these challenging times.  People I spoke to had received the exact opposite and been greeted with “doom and gloom” stories when talking to recruitment agencies and career guidance experts.  Now I am not suggesting we mislead job seekers with”pie in the sky” optimism, but that we offer support, hope and most of all listen.

One of the first things I ever learned when I studied marketing was “find out what the customer wants and then give it to them” – Valuable advice. So do Outplacement companies, Career Guidance counselors, recruitment consultants’ etc .really know what help job seekers want? Or do they just offer what they have always offered?

Maybe the time has come to change?

The Author:

Greg is a Social Media trainer and workshop facilitator with the Digital Marketing Institute. He has also delivered lectures and short courses for leading organisations including SureSkills, and The Michael Smurfit Business School. Greg also works with the Ahain Group as a Social Business Consultant. He believes that in order to make social media work for your business you must have a clear business goal, a clearly defined strategy and make sure that everything you do is measureable. Specialities include: Social Media Training | Personal Branding |Social Business Consultancy | Social Strategy Workshops | Interview Techniques | Psychometric Profiling | LinkedIn Training | Facebook Training | Twitter Training | Blogging | Online Video and You Tube Training | Emerging Social Media (Pinterest, Foursquare, Instagram, Google+ etc.) More information at: and

Add Your Comment

  • Interesting post Greg. I would have definitely guessed that more than 17% of job seekers would need “confidence and self belief” support… especially in times like this. Could they be in denial?

  • Anonymous

    I think there is a possibility that denial is a big part. Looking back to my life there were times when my confidence and self belief had taken a battering, however I never really consciously was aware of it. I may have covered it up with beliefs such as I was unlucky etc.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Hi Greg, Only 10% feel they need help with preparing a cv, I recently helped a client in Limerick recruit a sales person. Of the approx 20 or so cvs received, only one in my opinion was up to scratch. Because of this, I short-listed and interviewed 10 people to keep my options open and at least 7 were significantly better that their cvs promised. The worst culprits appeared to be some of the people with the most/best experience??

  • Anonymous

    Very true – very often the best candidates often have the worst cvs and often loose out because of it.

    It is worth pointing out that the study only allowed job seekers to pick one option. Many may also feel the need to improve their CV, however it is not their number 1 need.

    Thanks for the comment.

  • What a valuable piece of research Greg! In a way it’s not so surprising that CV preparation is down the priority list when there is such great uncertainty about what kinds of jobs are available. With many people having to re-invent themselves career-wise, it’s now a case of finding the opportunity first and then tailoring the CV after. Also the days of ‘one-size-fits-all’ CV’s are over. Every CV now needs to be an original work of art. Maybe that message has not sunk in yet!

    Interesting that networking should come out on top of the list. It might be very worthwhile to take your question on networking and proactive job-seeking and chunk it down in a further survey to help identify the specific sticking points or hot-spot challenges that really concern job-seekers. That would make it easier to identify how career coaches can re-target their service offering to help them I feel.

    Your early lesson in marketing has certainly served you well in this instance. I think very few people would have anticipated the job-seekers’ order of priorities.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, I realised about half way through my research that I should investigate further the job seekers needs within networking and proactive job seeking. I will be looking at that in more depth over the coming months.

  • Anonymous

    A very interesting snapshot of a big problem. Are you thinking of developing and broadening the research? Maybe let people rank a variety of factors? I felt you got the results that I would expect, although I was surprised that more people didn’t consider that they may need to change/improve their skills to meet the emerging needs that employers may have as a result of changes in their work, technology, markets etc.

  • Hi Lewis, check out the FB page, your post made the top 10 over @Bizsugar

  • Anonymous

    Hi Niall. How did I do that!? Thanks for letting me know!

  • Hey Lewis, cause it’s a great post! :)….We submit all @bloggertone posts to @Bizsugar on your behalf (a fringe benefit of been a bloggertoner)

    Bloggertoners have made the top 10 on a number of occasions (including Greg above) Have a great weekend!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks again Niall. You have a great weekend too. I think I’d better get off Greg’s post now. Sorry Greg about this private conversation on your great post!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comment as always. I will definitely have to take a more in depth look at people’s needs in the next poll.

  • Anonymous

    PS. Well deserved making BizSugar’s weekly top 10. Have a good weekend.

  • Anonymous

    Greg – Thanks for sharing your findings.

    My reply is a bit long 🙁

    I am very surprised at the poll findings!! This doesn’t mirror my experience working with jobseekers on a daily basis. If I use the example of the recent monster career fair we were at. I spoke to well over 200 jobseekers that day and 90% were asking about CVs. One chap told me he had his CV redesigned by two different professional CV services and he was still asking me about his CV – crazy!!

    For me the question should not be “Do Outplacement companies/Career Guidance counsellors/ recruitment consultants really know what help job seekers want? BUT rather “Do jobseekers know what help they need?”

    Below is a recent email communication with a jobseeker to highlight the point.

    EMAIL FROM JOBSEEKER —- “I saw your details on xxxx website. I have been unemployed now for months and I am wondering if you can have a look at my CV and give your opinions and a time and cost quote. I have attached same.”

    MY REPLY —- “Had a look at the CV and there are improvements I could make. Personally I think the CV is ok as it is. Certainly not the worst I have seen by a long shot. Have you seen jobs advertised for which you met the exact requirements and are not getting called for interview?”

    JOBSEEKER —- “Thanks for the honest feedback. I have been looking for jobs but a lot are based around xxxx experience. It seems to be my lack of xxxx work experience that is not getting me called for interviews. Some of the other numerous jobs that I have applied for, I have not received any feedback. As regards to exactly fitting my criteria there have been few but some jobs would match my experience albeit some noting that I am “overqualified”.

    In this example the CV is not the problem BUT the jobseeker thinks it is. I have hundreds of similar examples. Jobseekers requesting CVs but have no idea about what career direction they will take. Jobseekers seeking interview coaching but are not actually landing interviews. Jobseekers seeking new career direction when their passion is the current career and they haven’t actually exhausted the full job search possibilities.

    You are right in that the initial question service providers should ask a jobseeker is “how can I help?” BUT the real value Career/Outplacement etc can offer is to challenge the reply because as with the above example jobseekers know what they want BUT it is more often not what they actually need.

    If anyone is still reading – fair play to you 🙂

    Love to get the findings if you do the more detailed questionnaire Greg. And thanks again for posting these finding.


  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comment Paul. I was also relatively surprised with the poll findings.

    2 quick points –
    1. The job seekers who were asked to vote in this poll, could only choose one answer. So their cv may still be important to them, but not their no. 1 concern.
    2. May I suggest that the reason that over 90% of people you talked to at the Monster Career fair talked to you about cvs due to the fact that – the stand you were at was very much set up as a CV clinic and that you also delivered a very interactive and inspiring speech on CVs?

    Great point regarding do job seekers really know what they need. I have had similar experiences of job seekers thinking their cv is the problem, when in fact it is another issue altogether.

    Saying that we must never be too complacent to think we know what our customers want and constantly listen to their needs.

  • Anonymous

    Greg – promise to keep this response shorter 🙂

    I think we are actually in agreement. I believe job search should top the poll but just surprised that it did because my experiences working with jobseekers (including first 6 weeks of 2010) would indicate otherwise.

    1–One choice in the poll could explain the results but still think most jobseekers gravitate towards the CV the root problem.
    2–Just took Monster fair as an example as it was a high volume of jobseekers under one roof. If we leave Monster out of it – my day to day biz would be the same with many jobseekers asking about CVs when this is not the actual problem. Used my email conversation example in previous post to highlight.

    Can’t be complacent as complacency = out of biz. We must respect the customer but it is important to challenge, probe and make recommendations.

    Have a good weekend P

  • Hi Greg & other commenters,
    When a coaching client comes to me about work or job seeking, they will talk about interviews and CVs, but ultimately the issues are with them themselves. A CV is easy to produce literally – it’s how it is interpreted and presented that matters. Like Interviews – we can show them all the tricks, but if they do not believe that they deserve the job, or if they have low self esteem (often confused with self confidence) – no amount of practical work will help – the client needs to look at themselves more and not focus on external factors like luck, bad CV, grumpy interviewer etc.
    Great post Greg – thanks for sharing your findings, agree with Miriam – would be interesting to see what networking and similar activities means to job seekers 🙂

  • Wow there is no way I’d even consider interview a sales person who couldn’t sell themselves through there CV. I’d forgive it in other professions but not sales

  • I take your point but it is something I have seen many times before with salespeople, particularly across certain industries. In this instance, I was called into help late in the recruitment process and had to do the best in the circumstances, shortlisting less rather than more would have increased rather than decreased the risk.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks all for the great comments and debate that this poll has thrown up.
    @Elaine – I will without doubt look at what networking and proactive job seeking means to job seekers in my next study. Will be an interesting study.
    @Paul – Thanks for your reply. I agree, think we are on the same page.

  • Greg, results show the growing importance of networking and, particularly, social media networking. I see this as vital to my success going forward and I’m spending a lot of time getting myself positioned correctly with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Buzz and the calender scheduling tool Tungle.

    A great read & some good work Greg

  • Education is #1. Tackling the economy and creating jobs is very important, but when the time comes for individuals and they donu2019t know how to interview it wonu2019t do them much good because they wonu2019t get the jobs that are being created. nnWhen someone is taught how to interview they feel empowered, they become so much more confident, they become inspired and motivated, they feel they can accomplish something that was unreachable.

  • Education is #1. Tackling the economy and creating jobs is very important, but when the time comes for individuals and they donu2019t know how to interview it wonu2019t do them much good because they wonu2019t get the jobs that are being created. nnWhen someone is taught how to interview they feel empowered, they become so much more confident, they become inspired and motivated, they feel they can accomplish something that was unreachable.

  • Sian – every small business or start up should read this. I see so many businesses who spend a lot of money on different items and don’t collect receipts.

    A lot of great points here and I’ll definitely share this.

    Take care,

  • Samantha Clooney

    Sian, I’ve shared this with every group I’m involved with!! It’s so important for people to see this! I totally agree on the office equipment!! It’s not always the best idea to go for the cheapest!! Oh I learned this the hard way!!!

  • Thanks Samantha – I’m so glad you’ve shared it with people and it will hopefully be a help

  • Thanks Denise for sharing and hope it helps some people. You won’t believe how many people forget to keep receipts. I personally look at them as money – the business expense and the vat back. Like throwing money away.

  • Thanks Elish. I have done a post on keeping accounts “tidy” for the accountant but can’t remember if in TYB or mine. I shall dig it out 🙂

  • I think Sian did one of those blogs somewhere 🙂 I did “Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Books” here last year

  • Nice practical post there Sian – the One-4-all cards are a great way of paying a small tax free bonus, I’d forgotten about that, thank you!
    ~ Helen

  • Here’s the one I did – I also linked to yours, Helen, in my post as it’s really helpful