This is a report on the last edition of book "What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career Changes" by Richard Nelson Bolles. On 265 pages the author presented methods of identifying best jobs for each person and best strategies of getting hired on them. In this report I present facts about choosing a career field and job searching from this book that seem to be most important and elaborate on what should be improved.
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The author argues that the ultimate purpose of one’s life consists in using his\her talent while working in special places and settings and serving special purposes. These places, settings, and purposes are the ones that are most appealing to him\her. Therefore, this book is not about finding a job and changing a career but about becoming happy. To live a purposeful life, the first thing that we need to do is to switch to the following attitudes: focusing on what we can change, having alternatives to everything we do in relation to job hunting, being attentive to ourselves and our surrounding, rationalizing routine work, job searching in a group, looking for better options. The first attitude means that when we encounter a significant difficulty, it is a good idea to break it in parts and solve first those that depend solely on us. The second one implies that we should diversify our job search in all possible ways. For instance, we need to identify several acceptable job titles, career fields, job search tactics, etc. As for the third one, observing our surrounding we can identify unsatisfied needs of the community we are living in. Having sufficient starting capital we can launch our own business with the aim of satisfying these needs. On the other hand, analyzing our favorite skills and our knowledge we can come up with a new job title for our job search. The fourth one means that very often simple things can stop working at some point. To move further we need to rationalize. For example, during good times responding to Internet announcements is a good tactic for a job search, but during recession it simply does not work. To rationalize we need to think about the easiest way for an employer to fill in a vacancy in his\her organization. The best strategy for us in this case is to use a bridge-person during our communication with a potential employer. Doing a job search in a group implies obtaining much more job leads comparing to doing it on one's own. Finally, the last attitude can be justified by the fact that bad things are very often all to the better. For example, if you quit a job, then it means that this job is not the best one for you. In this situation you should look for the ideal one. Surely, such the search could be broken in parts. After switching to these attitudes, we need to identify our talents, work places, work surroundings, and purposes to serve that are most attractive to us. Such identifying assumes analyzing ourselves and interviewing people who have side looks on us. The author described a bunch of methods that can be used in this process.
This book also contains useful suggestions about composing your resume and your behavior on a job interview. Since there is a lot of stuff about you on the Internet, you do not have too much discretion over your resume. Therefore, the best you can do is to remove any information that discredits you from the net. Besides, it would be nice to participate in forums that discussing your area of expertise and to have your updated professional profile in social networks that have very good reputation such as LinkedIn and Plaxo. If you get invited on a job interview, then it is very important not to say anything bad about your previous employer. Your job interview is a good time to negotiate your future salary. It is important to ask about your wage only after employer's making the decision to hire you. If the interviewer has stopped asking you questions about your past, then it is a good sign for you.
The process of job hunting and career changing described in this book assumes a lot of information gathering. Very often, this gathering takes the form of interviewing complete strangers whose sharing information with you may be unwelcome by their employers. For example, the author advices to ask possible future colleagues about their salaries to come up with your acceptable salary range before going to a job interview. Ideally, there should be independent sources of such information in the form of various manuals or tests. Partly they are listed in this book. In my opinion, the author should work on expanding this list. On the other hand, I am fascinated with various techniques of identifying job seeker's favorite areas of expertise, people environments, working conditions, and so on that are presented in the Flower Exercise. Similar methods could be applied to identifying cultural differences between us and representatives of other nations and characteristic features of the different societies. Since International Studies deals with contemporary societies and cultures (“International Studies”, 2012), I would recommend this book to those who is majoring in this field. One thing that I have learnt from this book is the following. Doing job hunt you need to make a list of your future possible employers that contains about ten names. If you are living in a city, then the number of possible work places is much greater than that. Contrary, if you are living in a town, then you will be short of possible work places. Hence, in the first case, you use the geographical factor to reduce this number, while in the second case, you use this factor to expand your list by means of including in it work places that are within a commuting distance from the place where you live. Since I am living in the town, this is meaningful to me.
Thus, the ultimate purpose of your life consists in using your talent while working in special places and settings and serving special purposes. These places, settings, and purposes are the ones that are most appealing to you. Therefore, you can identify them analyzing yourself and interviewing people who have a side look on you. A bunch of methods are developed for such analysis, and they are presented in this book. Besides, it contains very good suggestions about composing your resume and your behavior during a job interview. Since very often information gathering needed for successful job hunting and career changing assumes a great amount of uncomfortable interviewing, this book can be improved by providing more sources of information that is necessary for the process being discussed.
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