Top positive review
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Single best job-hunting/career management guide
on 27 March 2006
I've known about this book for years, but always disregarded it because I've been fortunate enough to do work that I love. I'm now with an HR consultancy that includes amongst its offerings outplacement programmes. As this is a new area for me I thought I should become familiar with the 'industry standard' - Parachute.
This is a brilliant book, not just for job-hunters; but for anyone who'd like to take stock of their career.
Bolles' 'life-changing job hunt' process is a well thought out, practical and effective methodology for finding a role that you love. It's best summed up using a metaphor he's borrowed from travel writers. They say: lay out all the clothes that you think you'll need and all the money you think you need to take. Now pack half the clothes and take twice the money. Bolles suggests taking all the information you think you'll need about the job market and all the information you think you'll need about yourself, and finding out half that information about the market and twice that information about yourself.
His writing style is homespun wisdom like that of Dale Carnegie. Given that Bolles has revised the book every year since 1970, and has sold over 8 million copies, I think he's entitled to some eccentricities. I think other reviewers' comments about his Christian views and his quirkyness are short-sighted. The conversational writing style reads like advice from a favourite uncle, and as with such advice, you don't have to take all of it.
The front cover says the 2006 edition is "stunningly revised". Not having seen any previous editions, I can't comment on what those revisions are, or whether they are stunning. I can comment on what I liked about the layout. Printed in red and black ink, the red is used for titles, subtitles and highlighting - much like you'd use a highlighter pen. I found much of the red highlights were exactly what I would highlight myself, so useful for future reference.
The book also contains dozens of old pen-and-ink drawings, the subjects of which don't seem to bear any relevance to the surounding text. They do serve to break up the 400-odd pages (which at first can look intimidating) and communicate something of Bolles' unique character, which is quite endearing. Don't take that to mean that this is an old fashioned book - far from it. This seventy-something author (I'm guessing) is perfectly at home writing about Coldplay, Blackberries and recent events like hurricane Katrina and the economic resurgence of China and India.
Whilst Bolles acknowledges his international readership, one slight disappointment is the US focus on all the web references. However, the overall content is excellent.
After some great context setting and research findings about job hunting, Bolles job-hunt methodology starts off, logically enough, by posing the question 'Where on Earth do you want to live?' He then works through the process to identify your favourite interests, people environments, working conditions, values, salary, level of responsibility and skills. Throughout, there are plenty of diagrams, exercises and grids to complete, to help you identify what you need to know (so I don't know what the '...Parachute Workbook' offers in addition to this).
There's a great section on 'Identifying Who Has the Power to Hire You for the Job You're Looking For', along with 'Ten Interviewing Tips' and 'Six Secrets of Salary Negotiation'.
Regardless of whether you're thinking of looking for a job or a career change NOW, this book is valuable for getting you thinking about all the possible career options you have ahead of you. If you are currently looking, I would say this book is far more valuable than all the 'Create a Great CV', 'Great Answers to Difficult Interview Questions' and 'How to do an Internet Job Search' books put together.