BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Like hiring a career counselor, only cheaper ...

OK, right up front here I need to get this out: if this was a case and I was a judge, I'd probably have to recuse myself from hearing it, so I want readers to know that I had to struggle to a certain extent to give a fair review to this book. Why? Well, as long-time observers of this space may recall, I'm in the midst of my third major job quest in the past 10 years (one of the elements that landed me in The Job Stalker blogging gig on the Tribune's “Chicago Now” site), and had used various “career management” groups and “job coaches” in my previous searches. None of these turned out well, and I have some significant emotional “sore spots” when dealing with elements of that industry. So, please bear with me when I find myself having to “tapdance” around certain points rather than go off on a rant about why X, Y, or Z don't work for me. Oh, and for our ever-vigilant masters at the FTC, this was a review copy that I received from the good folks at Wiley, who seem to like keeping me in Social Media, Job Search, and other business-oriented books!

As you no doubt have surmised, Ford R. Myers is a “career consultant” and Get The Job You Want Even When No One's Hiring is his venture into systematizing a couple of decades' worth of experience into a generally-applicable book. His inspiration for this seems to be summed up in the following:
We go through 12 years of education, possibly four more years of college, and sometimes even two to four more years of graduate school, and not one day is spent on how to manage your career, find work you truly enjoy, and make sure you're well compensated for it. Not one day!
One gets the idea that he decided to structure the book along the lines of how he might handle a new client, going from the current economic realities on through the various processes and on into a new job and beyond.

The book has an odd, albeit effective, structure, with 80-some numbered sections distributed over five “parts”, plus a collection of "Career Resources" at the end. The sections vary substantially in length, with several being well under half a page, and others going on for many pages. One of the attractive things in this is the numerous examples of forms, letters, resume styles, check lists, etc. that he gives, all of which are available for download on his web site (, once you sign up for his mailing list.

While somewhat targeted to the mid-career executive who has found him- or herself out of work, Myers takes this from the beginning, with exercises that would be as applicable to a first-time job searcher as to a seasoned professional trying to find a new place in a less-than-optimal job market. In a dozen or so of these exercises the book walks you through figuring out what you ideally would like to be doing, how you'd like to be doing it, in what contexts/settings you'd like to be doing it, where that might be available, and coming up with transition strategies to get to that point.

Once this is determined, the focus shifts to developing “marketing” materials for one's search, from basics like the resume and cover letter, to suggestions for obtaining letters of recommendation, targeted networking (with various forms to track these contacts), and assorted extensions such as personal newsletters, web sites, and blogs. This is followed with sections on working with recruiters and others for getting to the right people at the right companies, advice for contacts and interviewing, and then into salary/benefit negotiations, the first 90 days on the job, and on-going career management strategies.

A very useful aspect here is the assorted “lists” of activities and action points to follow through a situation, be it across the job search in general, the “21 rules for negotiating”, or the most helpful thing in the whole book (to me), a list of 42 suggested questions to ask when an interviewer opens the discussion up for your questions (I have occasionally found myself at a loss of anything appropriate to ask in those situations, and a review of this list prior to the interview would have come in very handy).

As noted, there is a lot here which I “have issues with”, largely in terms of how the “generalized” advice applies to my particular case. However, for most people this is likely to be a very valuable walk-through of the job search process, and it is certainly going to save a lot of people the money they might have spent on a “career consultant” firm (and, trust me, 90% of what you'd be getting for the thousands of dollars those would cost are in this book, especially given the additional downloadable web resources connected with it).

Get The Job You Want is relatively new, dating from last summer, and so should be available at your local brick-and-mortar book vendor, but Amazon has it at 1/3rd off (with their new/used guys not having it for much cheaper, a sign that its pretty popular). Despite the fact that reading this took me on a rollercoaster of reactions, from enthusiasm, to anger, to depression, etc., it certainly gets my recommendation as a very useful book for the job seeker (especially those who haven't been burned by the process repeatedly already).

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Tags: book review
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