The Job Hunter

By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger

When people hear the job hunter’s tale of frustration, after he tells about the résumés sent out that got no response, they often suggest, “Why don’t you talk to so-and-so? He helps people get jobs.” The frequent sad, frustrated response is, “I did, and he couldn’t help me.” This is a really depressing situation, because if even the experts can’t help you, you must really be a hopeless case. Avoiding this frustration requires some understanding of the “help people get jobs” field, and what the people who are in it do.

Whether it’s called employment, human resources, talent acquisition, or any other fancy name, there are a few basic types of professionals that are found in this field. One type is commonly called a headhunter, or in more polite company, a recruiter. These people work for employers. They receive a list of skills, talents, and experience that the employer is looking for, and they earn their fee by doing shadchanus, that is, finding someone with a matching résumé. Of course, often the match is not perfect, and the headhunter will help out by editing the résumé and adding interview preparation and other types of coaching. Recruiters or headhunters may help people find entry-level positions or high-level executive positions. The key thing to remember is that they each serve specific types of businesses. So if you speak to one of these fellows and you are not in the field that he serves, he may offer you résumé-writing, interview prep, and other generally applicable skills that he has available. But he can’t find you a job.

At the other end of the field is the job counselor or job developer. These professionals work for the job hunter. They may be paid by the hour or require a retainer. Either way, they offer several services. First, they assist in choosing a career. They may use standardized tests that measure personality traits or aptitude tests. Once they establish what the job hunter should be hunting for, they teach the client how to use job boards, perhaps social media like Facebook or LinkedIn, or other resources to find what jobs are available.

They may offer interview prep and other guidance. They may also have contacts with some employers so they know of jobs that may fit their client’s résumé. But if their testing suggests that the client would make a great speech therapist, and the client says that’s the last thing on earth he would want to do, the process can grind to a halt. Similarly, if the client is looking in a field where the counselor has no connections, then he’s back at the want ads, and I’ve already talked about that.

All of these professionals can be very helpful for some people. But they ultimately present a limited list of options. Because these options don’t fit the needs of many job hunters, working with these experts can be a major source of frustration. So where can a job hunter go to open new possibilities, to learn the best ways to find the job they are really looking for?

The best option is to find a job counselor or coach that is a disciple of the 40-year bestseller What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles, also known as “the job-hunter’s bible.” Parachute is an extremely valuable resource that can help anyone think about their future in a more organized, effective way. It is the guidebook for everything that Pathways to Parnassa does. I will explain how that affects the job hunt after I deal with a few more frustrations in upcoming articles. v

Rabbi Mordechai Kruger is the founder and director of Pathways to Parnassa, an organization providing job-search and career coaching to our community. He can be reached at

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