Should I Pay to Find a Job?


A note from a reader who saw me speak in 2010 when I used to be fun.

Based on a discussion with my boss, my position here will be terminated at the end of the month. I’m now in my mid 50s and still need healthcare for my family. I’ve been applying to jobs online (170 at this point) with little success/interest. Do you continue to recommend not paying people like TheLadders, LinkedIn, ExecuNet, ResumeRabbit?

I am sorry to hear about your job loss. Yes, I still say that you should never pay to get a job. That’s not a business model I would ever endorse.

In a perfect world and in a healthy labor market, people would pay you a bonus to work for them. It would be an honor and a privilege to hire you.

We are in a jacked up labor market, though, and it’s tough out there for white guys over 50. The single most effective way to find a job is through your network. I know you know this — but just because you have applied for 170 jobs doesn’t mean that you have really applied for 170 jobs. You submitted your resume into a database. It may not go anywhere. You need someone on the inside who can help shepherd it along.

Job boards do have a place in our economy. Sites like Indeed, Dice, LinkUp, Monster and Careerbuilder boast thousands of placements each day. Indeed even has a spot on its website where you can celebrate your new job. None of those sites require a membership fee. I would start there.

If you really want to spend money on something, hire someone to rewrite your resume. Go buy some new clothes. Pay for counseling sessions to help improve your confidence. Invest in improv classes.

  • If you still have money left over, donate to a local charity and get involved with your community.
  • If you still have some cash, get some ice cream.
  • If you still have two nickels to rub together, you can give them to me. And I’ll go buy more hats and have more fun with my life.

Good luck and hang on to your cash.

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