by Rick Gillis

Why you can’t trust job search experts over (or under) 30

Apr 16, 20153 mins
CareersIT JobsLinkedIn

Get the take on job search from someone who has been "in the trenches," and at the same time learn the latest, greatest techniques available to you. Explore the value in both ways before going all in.

When it comes to job search, don’t trust anyone under 30

As an “old” guy I have come to suspect anyone under 30 professing their expertise in job search. My reasoning is pretty simple: A professional — regardless of the profession — needs the benefit of time to visually see and feel the nuances associated within their field of choice. 

I have written several books on job search and, although the fundamentals will never change, long-term subtleties will, and do, change based on factors such as the economy, environments, business forecasting, hiring needs and perspectives. In short, the long view.

One of my personal problems with the job search information I find online is the lack of credibility. It appears to me that anyone who has ever served in an HR position or worked in a staffing company deems themselves to be an expert — regardless of how little time they may have actually put into that position. I also see too many “Certified Resume Writers.” What is a certified resume writer? Is there a college diploma in resume writing? Colleges don’t even know how to write a resume. But I digress.

HR is a highly specialized field. There are benefits and compensation experts; specialists in diversity and the legal issues associated with HR (EEOC for example). My point is that there are a lot of specialized professionals who work in HR who may have never recruited a soul. Anyone offering advice that doesn’t have at least 3 to 5 years of active recruiting experience under their belt you may want to consider suspect.

When it comes to job search, don’t trust anyone over 30

As an “old” guy who studies and teaches job search I find that anyone over 30 — myself excepted, of course — is generally not current when it comes to job search technology or social media. In my opinion too many are still teaching what they were teaching in 1995 or, worse, 1985. Things have changed, you know?

A few years back I was speaking for a highly respected job search group and couldn’t help but notice how several attendees appeared to be kowtowing over one particular individual. Turns out this person had once-upon-a-time been the senior vice president of HR for Blockbuster Video. (Google “Blockbuster” if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Google “VHS” while you are there also.) The problem I quickly learned was that nobody had ever bothered to challenge him on the quality of his information. I did.

I asked about his preferred social media platforms for job search and he went blank. I followed that question by asking him how long he had been out of HR. He had been retired and out of the business for 10 years.

If you want to size up an “over 30” job search expert, ask a couple of questions about the No. 1 search tool (currently) out there: LinkedIn. Ask their opinion on the value of recommendations in your profile or their take on the use of keywords on LinkedIn. If you don’t get a response that speaks to their expertise and what you already know about LinkedIn, keep shopping.

So, what do you do?

If you should decide that working with a job search pro is in your best interest interview a few before going all in with any one individual. Ask questions you already know answers to. See how they respond. Repeat as often as necessary.

To your success!