If you want a healthy job search, don’t keep consuming Chicken McNuggets

Salty, crispy and decadent – that’s what this quick, inexpensive mystery-meat-treat is about…

We all crave instant gratification once in while and grabbing fast food is the perfect example of how we satisfy that impulse. McGrub in moderation is fine and dandy and of course mighty tasty! But just like any other guilty pleasure, you get what you pay for and you may not feel so nourished or fulfilled later.

Conducting constant research on all aspects of the employment market is something that I’ve engaged in for quite a few years – well before working in HR or having any direct involvement with talent acquisition. Part of this ongoing research entails — amongst myriad other activities — attending workshops and presentations and reading material prepared by staffing industry experts, analysts and assorted specialists dealing with related subject-matter. One constant over the years has been the abundance of information and the continuous evolution of how things are done when it comes to matching jobs with job seekers.

Even in the pre-Internet world there was no shortage of content, it just perhaps was not as easily and quickly accessible as it is now. As with anything, this category contains a blend ranging between brilliant and ridiculous ideas, advice and opinions. Due diligence and in-depth awareness is always critical to distinguish high quality data from the rest. Being clued in to subtle nuances, having common sense and general business acumen is always crucial to cull what works from what doesn’t.

While there are countless ways that we all have been impacted by the prolonged economic downturn, a few unfortunate trends have emerged causing undue complications. A particularly concerning phenomenon is the ease in which a number of individuals have taken it upon themselves to slap on a self-appointed status of career expert.

Many of these people are simply regular folks from any number of occupations such as software engineer, project manager, sales person or web designer; who within the past couple of years wound up amongst the swarms of unemployed. For some reason, quite a few of them have decided to label and market themselves as career experts and have taken their show on the road.

In some cases, these people are preying on the uninformed job seekers in need of direction. Sure, there are some who have benevolent intentions, but despite their well-meaning efforts, they have inevitably regurgitated and spread outdated, ineffective and just plain absurd advice to the very people who need a diet of solid guidance and career nourishment rather than the junk food equivalent.

Before this aptly named great recession, those who built credibility in the career or job search advice arena did so through concerted efforts to “actually know what they were talking about.” As one wise person described, “they would be seen as professionals whose insights, opinions and advice were based on years of applicable experience.”

These days due to so many overnight reinventions to executive coach, career coach, job market / job search strategist, LinkedIn trainer, social media guru, branding specialist, resume expert, etc., the average person struggles to decipher the difference between those offering legitimate value and those selling false hope.

The collective voice of the self-proclaimed experts has gotten much louder and they’ve been given a bigger stage to spread their message. Personally, I’ve been disgusted and embarrassed on a number of occasions over the disturbingly bad advice and blanket generalizations these people are putting forth as valid expertise.

Proving how incredibly out of touch they are with contemporary, competitive job search strategies and construction of customized career marketing / branding materials, some of them go as far as recycling and repackaging the stale, generic content prepared by the unemployment office.

Thinking it was only me observing this taking place, I’ve inquired with a few credible, respected “in-the-know” people to confirm what I was finding. One of them shared the following comment, “I have always seen them as opportunists that lack clarity, intelligence and integrity.” That sums things up quite well!

Just to emphasize what this might look like in action. Here are few greasy Chicken McNuggets I identified from multiple recent workshops facilitated by such “experts” as well as personal conversations with professional level job seekers in the community.

Call employers to follow-up even if the posting says: “no calls, please”

Tell people what you do in a slick catch phrase, tag line or slogan in your elevator pitch

Start blogging and do it often

Apply multiple times to the same job: online, fax, mail, email, etc. – that way the employer is sure to know your name

Invite everyone you meet at networking events to have coffee so you can build relationships

Have a Twitter account

Make sure you have an “objective” statement on your resume

Ask people “how you can help them” when you meet them at networking events

Make and post a video resume

Mail special brochures / pamphlets to hiring managers – so they pick up the phone and offer you a job

Don’t bother with a cover letter – just submit or send your resume

Answer questions on LinkedIn (Q&A) so you can get a star for best answer

Feel free to use the resume templates that come with your word processing software

Inform people of business problems you have solved when introducing yourself

It is fine to name your hobbies and interests on your resume

Create a personal website

List on your resume activities while a “stay-at-home-mom” or during other gaps

Leave a degree – in progress off of your resume

Order some biz cards with a logo to build your brand

Taken out of context it may not be obvious why any of the above could possibly be considered inappropriate courses of action. That is exactly the point…

You can get some decent sounding cooking tips from the person frying up Chicken McNuggets or you can treat yourself to a delicious and nutritious menu of gourmet cuisine tailored to maintain the proper and productive dietary balance in your job search.

Article authored by Kelly Blokdijk, Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks – “Creating a Voice for Talent” TalentTalks partners with job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling professional branding materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative and customized human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts job market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!



  1. hassan k. said

    usefull great post, thanks for sharing !

  2. Good article! I’ve often wondered about the qualifications of unemployed people who suddenly decide they’re career counseling experts. Obviously some of their advice can be dangerous. But some of the greasy nuggets listed above don’t necessarily sound wrong, such as using Twitter and creating a personal website. For a Technical Writer like myself, creating a website proves you know how to use the tools that Technical Writers are often required to use. But for many other types of professionals, having a personal website may be nothing but useless fluff. Maybe the main point of the article that everyone needs to use a highly personalized approach to their job search plan.

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