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What Color Is Your Parachute?
By Matthew C. Keegan
Please note: This review was written when the economy was just coming out of its worst funk. Obviously, things have improved dramatically, but the principles outlined in Bolles' book still should resonate with you.
Finding a job in today’s economy presents unique challenges that did not exist even two years ago. That is why Richard Nelson Bolles’ 2003 version of his acclaimed job hunter’s bible, “ What Color is Your Parachute?” is so relevant. Taking into consideration the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 21, 2001, and the subsequent NASDAQ meltdown, Bolles’ guide encourages the reader to implement time tested as well as new strategies in finding meaningful employment.
With a subtitle of, “A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers”, Parachute emphasizes the necessity of finding one’s “mission” in life in order to obtain meaningful employment. Not to be content with simply drawing a paycheck, Bolles encourages the reader to uncover those areas of personal interest that can be translated into a rewarding as well as relevant career. For example, if you have been a secretary and you also love to write about animals, maybe your desire is to become a contributor to nature magazines instead.
Bolles lists several reasons why a job search might include a change in career. Some key components to consider when deciding a change are:
In addition, Bolles persuades the job searcher to not rely exclusively on old strategies for finding work, i.e., sending out résumés and waiting for a response, but to utilize what he has determined to be some of the more successful and proactive strategies including:
Concerning job hunting methods, Parachute contains one notable surprise. In his very detailed research Bolles reveals that the Internet, with all of its job search capabilities, may actually provide the least successful method in finding work. Too often, Bolles alledges, job seekers rely exclusively on job boards to post their résumé to and then they wait for their employer of choice to call them about an open position. Unfortunately, according to Bolles, the internet alone only offers a 4% success rate in finding a job when it is used as the exclusive job search method.
Bolles also guides the reader through the process of starting a business instead of working for an employer; shares interviewing tips for smarties; lists the seven secrets of salary negotiation; and discloses the secret of finding your dream job. Bolles folksy and friendly writing style has endeared himself to over seven million readers since the initial publishing of Parachute in 1970. Revised annually, I recommend you read the latest version of his book as it speaks to the current nature of the job market.
Finally, Bolles has a companion web site called the Job Hunter’s Bible [http://www.jobhuntersbible.com]. The site contains a collection of articles written by Bolles and two other experts. Overall, Parachute is an informative and even fun book to read. The reader may want to skip around the different chapters instead of reading the book straight through as it is reads more like a guide, not a novel. Combined together, the two resources should go far in helping the job seeker in his or her quest for their “dream job.”
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