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How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

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How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Mar 03, 2016 12:11 pm

Hello Forum:

I've recently seen the promotional materials for another website that offers the usual career advice, but at great cost. This one is called Ivy Exec and it purports to offer "mentoring" via some online membership that costs $250. Then, you get an introductory call and from there you can pay and keep paying. Like another site, with a goofy name that might as well be BrashScientist.com, this operation has operatives, called "affiliates" that spam the world that they work in to gather new recruits for the paying "advice."

First off, I'd love to know more if anyone here has experience with the Ivy Exec people and process. But my bigger question is this . . . Why do people fall prey to the "charge the job seeker" websites? What is there about paid advice that is different or better than the free advice you can find from sites like this, or the sites of your favorite scientific or engineering trade association? I'm just baffled by how people can throw away money at sites like this. Advice for years, not just here but in books and from most career consultants, has always seemed to run along the lines of "Whenever someone tries to charge you money for some service in the career area, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction."

Has something changed? Is the lure of promises in print on a website somehow more attractive today than in the past?

Dave
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Dave Walker » Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:39 pm

Ugh, just thinking about these programs makes me fume. I never knew anyone who bought their services, but I did interact with affiliates from them and other post-PhD "certificate" programs in my graduate years. I can say that among my peers, mentors and career counselors nobody's red flags went up (except for mine). The "certificates" in particular were thought to be a legitimate career strategy, which I attribute 100% to marketing.

Job-seeking academics are suckers, I'm afraid. And the price is not too high to scare them away.

More seriously, I think the only way to beat them is at their own game. The sources of good information you mention (trade associations, sites like ours) just don't reach job-seekers like the above companies do -- their marketing is top-rate. Of course, they have a financial interest to do so, and trade associations have broader responsibilities.

***

By the way Dave, I found the puppeteers behind the site similar to "BrashScientist.com" on LinkedIn, and their profiles are all formatted in an identically obnoxious way. This includes calling their site "An ingenious association that equips academics with the tools to successfully transition into industry positions via high-quality training and networking opportunities."

I at first thought they were all fake, but now I assume they all drank the same Kool Aid.
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby D.X. » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:17 am

I'm not familiar with These specific Services/companies mentioned here, but I think the gap Job seeks are looking to fill, is that in the absense of a Network and accessible Mentor, combined with fear to ask questions of those who are perceived as non-Outsiders/future networkers (fear of being perceived as "dumb").

Many are looking for a 1:1 Coach to help with either CV presentation or interview prep, so called Personal Coach. So they go for it. I think that is a Limitation of Forums and free stuff on the Internet, its the lack of 1:1 Coaching. As an example, I've mentored many in the past - a few from the Forum, voice calls are out for me but I do emails - most are looking for the individualized Attention. That Attention is hard to get from busy Folks to be honest, probably many are still left with questions and probably need for additional Attention that I can't give beyond an email Response (ie. how do i address this question or how do I Position myself in xxx). So I see the Need and I see the gap. Also probably many in the academic world probably are not getting the advice they Need, they go to other academia Folks in general - so what do academia folks know about job seeking and interviewing outside of academia? Probably not much really, we all know that academic mindset is good for academia, not good for other areas.

So probably alot of those agencies are going after Folks who don't have Access or may Need additional Attention? Just a hypothesis based on my experiences on mentoring and where potential Needs are.

I think its hard for many Job seekers, especially those in the Transition from academia to non-academia to really spend time networking getting personal Attention -mainly because its uncharted Areas for them. Contrast to us seasoned Folks who have a Network and a Professional Buddy list who can pick up the phone and get some 1:1 Coaching from relvant Peers as Routine practice.

Just a couple thoughts...maybe one Service that can be provided for free is a list/network of avaialbe Mentors who are willing to dedicate time to help in this area? Criteria must be that Mentors are willing to dedicate time at Minimum on the phone/Skype (not just email).

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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Nate W. » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:32 pm

I second Dave W. thoughts on this site. Somehow, I started receiving solicitations from Ivy Exec. This site claims they have a private database for Ivy League graduates. They also offer law school admissions consulting services at $5000-10,000. What a rip-off!

To add insult to injury, their website is often infected with viruses. I clicked on their website links once and a worm was downloaded on my computer. Avoid these guys; they are probably hackers.

There is also another scam known as Cheeky Scientist.
Last edited by Nate W. on Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Rich Lemert » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:48 pm

I think it's an issue of visibility/marketing on the one side and fear/panic on the other - possibly coupled with certain preconceptions.

As noted above, sites/groups like this have an incentive to advertise, and as long as they can attract job seekers they will continue to have the necessary resources. Sites like ours tend to be volunteer efforts that are secondary to the sponsoring organization's main interests.

On the other side of the coin, candidates are seeing that the job market is very tough, and they worry when they don't immediately get a job. They get desperate to find "the quick fix", and that's just what these sites offer.

I suspect there is also an element of 'conditioning' (for lack of a better word) involved in this. People are used to hiring out expertise they don't have. For medical issues you call a doctor; legal issues, call a lawyer; tax issues, a CPA. Why not hire a job search 'expert' for you job search needs.

Job hunting, as we all know, also requires a skill set that is not commonly taught and that doesn't come naturally to many people. Some people probably don't believe they can develop these skills, while others don't see the 'need' to do so ("If I can just get this first job I won't ever have to do another job search in the future - I'll either work with this place for life, or I'll be recruited by someone else.")
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby PG » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:38 am

I agree with Rich and think that the main driver in this is people being desparate for a job and willing to do a lot of different things to get one. This is probably also the link to the other thread about lying.
Paying some firm x USD is a realtively easy step to take. In some ways this can be compared with various companies and individuals offering non scientific treatments for various diseases. Around here that is actually illegal for critical diseases just because the fact that they are earning money on people who are desparate to test anything.
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:49 pm

I just found (this morning) two new businesses now advertising like the one I mentioned, trying to pull PhD's into their "community" with ridiculous claims and promises of rewards after their advice. It seems as if suddenly people have discovered the wonderful riches available to them by preying on the numbers of job seekers trying to transition into industry.

There's just no reason whatsoever to pay anyone for ANYTHING in the way of "career assistance." Don't do it. Don't be tempted -- it's a sure sign of sleaze. You'll end up losing money and feeling like you wasted your already limited resources.

Dave
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Tom M. » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:00 am

Dave, thank you for addressing this issue. I have become very concerned with the growth of these companies and their aggressive marketing strategies. Worse, I think some of the advice offered in the "free articles" that are used to bait potential customers can actually be harmful.

One would assume that highly educated individuals would be able to see through thinly veiled marketing. However, as we have seen in the recent political elections, fear and anxiety often overwhelm reason. I believe that scientists are drawn to these services by a compulsory need to do everything possible to find a job. Its similar to PhDs and postdocs who submit hundreds of blind resumes. Even though this strategy yields zero results, it satisfies the inner voice in that says they just need to work harder at finding a job.
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Andrew » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:11 am

Dave Jensen wrote:..

There's just no reason whatsoever to pay anyone for ANYTHING in the way of "career assistance." Don't do it. Don't be tempted -- it's a sure sign of sleaze. You'll end up losing money and feeling like you wasted your already limited resources.

Dave


Gonna have to disagree with you there. There are people that have been in business for many years doing career marketing and adding value to people's job searches. I used one of them a long time ago. He restructured the resume I'd had since school, moved the emphasis from technical achievements to business accomplishments, coached me on things to do better on interviews, improved the follow up and Thank you notes I was sending. I paid $3,500 and never regretted it. Its not the sort of thing I'd ever recommend new graduates do, but sometime mid career professionals can benefit from this sort of thing.
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Re: How is it that people pay large sums for such advice?

Postby Dick Woodward » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:39 am

Actually, a lot of professional organizations offer the same sort of thing - either rolled into the price of membership, or even for free.

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