BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

An AWESOME book for the job search!

Wow. As regular readers of this space know, I've been involved in various job searches over much of the past decade, and I'm amazed that this book (despite having gone through many on the same subject) never came to my attention before now, in its 6th edition. Frankly, had the good folks over at Ten Speed Press not sent me a review copy out of the blue, I'd likely have not found this on my radar now. However, Mark Emery Bolles (with his father, Richard Nelson Bolles, of the “Parachute” publishing empire) has written a truly amazing book, What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Job-Hunting Online, Sixth Edition: Blogging, Career Sites, Gateways, Getting Interviews, Job Boards, Job Search Engines, Personal Websites, Posting Resumes, Research Sites, Social Networking (yeah, I know, that's one big honking title!).

As regulars also know, over the past year and a half I've been writing The Job Stalker blog over at the Chicago Tribune's “ChicagoNow” blogging site, a vehicle that's focused on the view of the job search from somebody enmired in same (and I've just passed my 24th month in my current job search). My focus, since taking over the blog in late 2009, has been on using on-line resources, and this book would have been a godsend on those weeks when I didn't have much of anything to write about! I suspect that my “wrangler” over at ChicagoNow would have loved to have had this guy writing that blog instead of me … as this is chock-full of all that good information that had managed to escape my notice.

One thing that I'm excited about is that this is “brand new”, having just officially debuted less than two weeks back, so the info in here didn't have any of those “temporal cringes” that so quickly creep into books about the web … yet, at least. I am, however, somewhat chagrined at how much of the stuff in here I had never heard of. There I am, dispensing opinion on things job-search related, and all this stuff is out there that I totally didn't know. I mean, I sort of do now, but geez. While much of Job-Hunting Online is “list oriented”, it's not all endless entries of places to go (although, Bolles does provide this very handily in the companion web page: which already has a couple of dozen updates as of a 5/1/11 posting), but there's a lot of job search “philosophy”, interesting data, and wry humor involved.

One of the more shocking (if one stops to think about it) figures he presents in an early chapter here is that the average job only lasts three and a half years, while the average job search takes 33 weeks (with those looking for more senior positions looking at a one-to-two year search). This would mean that the “average worker” has to figure on having a job search for more than a half a year out of every four year period of their working lives … and how many folks are putting 1/7th of their income away for that likelihood?

Bolles has a particular dislike for the “big boards”, assuming a level of dependence on these that I, personally, have not been tempted to nor seen in various networking with other job seekers. However, he constantly revisits the figures for getting employed via these … which range as low as .4 and as high as 4% (although some claim 10% results). One of the more interesting things here is his reporting on the success rates for various approaches. Given that “using the major sites” had such a low success percentage, the following (in the introduction to a thing about “Job Clubs”, which I'd never previously heard of):
Here's an interesting little tidbit: one of the most successful ways of find a job is by picking up the phone book, calling around to the businesses listed in the fields you are interested in, and asking if they have any job openings. This method of job-hunting is listed as having an 69% success rate (meaning that out of a hundred people who use only this method in their job-hunt, 69 of them will be successful). Now, this is the interesting part: if you do exactly the same thing, but you do it as part of a group of people who are all job-hunting this way, the rate of success jumps to 84%.
Amazing, eh? Not only do the numbers suggest that “cold calling” has success rates 17-21 times that of the big boards, but that Bolles assumes that some people still have and use yellow pages (and he does highly recommend the actual hold-it-in-your-lap dead tree yellow pages)!

Job-Hunting Online is arranged in several chapters, each with a wide array of sub-sections, the main ones are: Skills, Resumes, People, Research, and Job Boards, with additional material in the introduction and chapters labeled “First” and “Last”. Again, there is so much in here that I could be blithering on for pages, but suffice it to say, I was blown away by this resource.

Obviously, if you are looking for work, or know somebody who is, I'd enthusiastically encourage you to go out and buy this book. As far as I can recall at this point (having just finished reading it), this is the best book I've encountered for charting one's path through the job-search, especially utilizing the internet. The depth and breadth of content in Job-Hunting Online is truly amazing, and the on-line book mongers have it discounted to under ten bucks. This is definitely one that everybody looking for work needs to have sitting on their desk!

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Tags: book review
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