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Book Review: What Color Is Your Parachute?


What Color is Your Parachute?
Reviewed by: Matt Keegan
© 2003, Matthew C. Keegan, LLC

Finding a job today presents unique challenges that did not exist five years ago. That is why Richard Nelson Bolles' 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, the subsequent NASDAQ meltdown, and the globalization of the world's economy, 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 secretaryand 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:

∙ We made a bad choice when we first chose our career, and now we've decided to set it right.

∙ We've been asked to do the work of three, and we feel stressed out, angry, exhausted, burnt out, and grumpy?

∙ We've decided we want to go into business for ourselves.

∙ All we wanted in the past for a job was money, now we want a job that has meaning?

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 hehas determined to be some of the more successful and proactive strategies including:

∙ Directly targeting those companies you desire to work for.

∙ Join a job hunter's group to share leads, receive and give encouragement, to fine tune your résumé and search, etc.

∙ Discipline yourself to make phone calls to companies [determine who has hiring authority and avoid the Human Resources department as they exist solely to screen you out!]

∙ When sending an e-mail résumé, follow it up with a hard copy and cover letter, followed by a telephone call the next week to the contact person.

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 theywait 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 other experts.

Overall, Parachute is an informative and even fun book toread. 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."

Matt is the administrator of the Aviation Employment Board at http://www.aviationemploymentboard.com


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