Great Jobs Guaranteed! The 'Executive Marketing Firms

June 8, 2009

Sound intriguing? If it does, give your head a shake and forget about it!

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on the current challenges of finding executive jobs. It noted that many job seekers are turning to a new breed of professional executive marketing firms, executive agents and certified personal branding strategists whose sole purpose is to help clients win the very best of those scarce jobs. Sound intriguing? If it does, give your head a shake and forget about it! Let me explain.

David Werner International is a leading US-based executive marketing firm. They promise to radically redesign your resume, coach you on how to effectively position and market yourself, and then to carpet bomb your resume, sorry make that ‘market’ your resume to hundreds of great companies. Are they effective? Well, it’s going to cost you to find out. The company charges $26,000.00 plus a $13,000.00 ‘success fee’ when you get hired. Though they are certain they can help you, they cannot absolutely guarantee you will get that dream job that you covet. Fret not however for they are very confident you will get a job.

If an executive marketing firm doesn’t appeal to you, how about an executive agent? These people work just like a sports or Hollywood agent. They arrange introductions, counsel you through ensuing discussions and even coach you after you get hired. In exchange they ask for a $25,000.00 retainer plus 6% of your compensation. Now just because hockey great Alexander Ovechkin recently did away with his own agent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a Jerry Maguire of your own. If nothing else it has to be the ultimate in status symbols for the unemployed… ’just yesterday my agent was telling me….”

Perhaps what you need instead is a personal branding specialist. These experts have completed a 12 week course put on by REACH, a New York-based personal branding company. The ‘certified experts’ then charge you between $2,000 and $20,000.00 to teach you what they have learned about recognizing your unique strengths, determining your target audience and crafting a personal branding statement. Though they also can’t really guarantee anything, they will certainly get you better attuned to brand ‘you’ and that has to be worth something doesn’t it?

Still not convinced? Want guarantees before signing up? No problem. Remember Bernard Haldane and Associates the career management and counseling firm that ‘guaranteed’ to find you a job in return a ‘small’ fee paid in advance. Haldane had a global footprint, a long pedigree and a name that seemed to always pop up during stressful economic periods.

But alas, when I attempted to locate them online, I could not. I did however find reference to countless lawsuits for ‘misrepresentation’ as well as charges of ‘fraud’ spanning many jurisdictions. It seems that despite paying and playing by the Haldane playbook a lot of people did not find their dream jobs and were not too happy about it. But fear not, Haldane does still exist though it has been re-branded as BH International. And though a web site is hard to find, there remain many offices listed around the world all committed to helping you find that fulfilling job.

Let’s be clear. No consulting firm can guarantee employment unless they hire you themselves. They can help you become better attuned to yourself and your career choices, they can point you, they can kick you where you need to be kicked and they can motivate you. They can help you with your resume. They can coach you, and they can fire off your resume to everyone in the universe. But they cannot guarantee you will land a job, let alone a fantastic one. And while most of us know this to be true, it is always the most traumatized, confused, and vulnerable who are the most susceptible to such brazen promises.

No matter how seductive they may be, overly simple solutions rarely solve complex problems. There is no secret sauce or black magic to the process of finding a well-fitting job, only introspection, planning, focus, hard work and timing all mixed-in with a measure of luck. And while timing and serendipity resist our control, everything else can be orchestrated to enhance the odds of a positive outcome.

Need help? Forget the career charlatans who demand more than they can possibly deliver. Instead, reach out for the many, many less expensive, more reputable and ultimately equally effective resources readily available all around you. I guarantee that is your best bet…ok I am just extremely confident.