Richard Bolles * Ten Speed Press * August 12, 2014 * 368 Pages
What Color Is Your Parachute? 2015 has been an invaluable resource for me and for my husband during his job search. I can’t believe how difficult the process has been this time around, and I was feeling incredibly discouraged. (Of course, he was, too.)
This book really helped us both start to feel hope again, and it also offered extremely practical and useful advice for getting through periods of unemployment, finding a career counselor, discovering personal skills and preferences, networking, interviewing, negotiating a salary and better benefits, among so many other things.
The book also has a pretty extensive Myers Briggs-type personality exercise (the Flower Petal exercise) that helps you figure out what jobs you like doing, who you like to work with, where you like to work, the salary you want, and what your overall mission or goal in life is.
Some examples of good bits of advice and insight:
- There is no such thing as one big category of “employers.” They are all unique. And the process of finding a job–and especially the process of interviewing–is such a subjective experience. Sometimes it just won’t make sense. Sometimes you will do everything right, but the interviewer may not like you. You just have to find that employer that you “click” with–and don’t feel bad when you don’t click with someone you interviewed with; it happens.
- Always, always write a thank-you note. This is advice we’ve all heard before, but I couldn’t believe how much of a difference this one small act made.
- Employers are primarily concerned about risk. They worry that you don’t really have the skills the job requires. Or they worry you will quit too soon, and they will lose money on you. Or they worry you will make them look stupid to THEIR supervisors. Or they worry you will cause office drama. And the list goes on. The point is, employers have anxieties, too–and you help yourself if you acknowledge these anxieties exist and then do what you can to reassure the interviewer that you will be the solid, dependable employee who makes your boss look good.
- It’s important to notice the time frame of the questions you are asked in an interview. If the interviewer starts asking you questions about the present or immediate future (What kind of job are you looking for? Where do you see yourself five years from now? When can you start?), you can assume the interview is going well for you.
- Good questions to ask during your interview: What characterizes the most successful employees in this company? What significant changes has this company gone through in the past five years? Who do you see as your allies, colleagues, or competitors?
Overall, this is a magnificent book with so much good advice. I can’t recommend it highly enough.