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- Brian Cormack Carr "Author of 'How To Find Yo... - Outstanding resource for the serious jobseeker**THIS REVIEW RELATES TO THE 2014 EDITION of What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers**
I credit the 1995 edition of this book with setting me on the path to becoming a career coach and writer. As a practical guide to moving into the right career, it's hard to beat. At 384 pages this latest 2014 edition is also pretty comprehensive. Some may be put off by its length, but the great thing about it is that it's possible to "dip in" to find the information that most suits at any given time.
It's divided up pretty logically:
CHAPTER 1 - Outlines the key things that job hunters and career changers need to know about the world of work today, including being aware of the dramatic recent changes which have resulted from today's economy (like growing conservatism in the workplace, and the increased length of time of the average job hunt).
CHAPTER 2 - Covers the importance of the Internet in the job-hunt, and why "Google is your new resumé" - lots of important information here, particularly for those of us who take our online activities for granted and could do with being reminded to take care of how we present ourselves in cyberspace!
CHAPTERS 3-5 - Give a comprehensive outline of the job-hunting process itself, including how to find vacancies, tackle interviews effectively, and negotiate a decent salary.
CHAPTER 6 - Provides information on troubleshooting for those times when the job-hunt isn't going the way you want it to.
CHAPTER 7 - Focuses on an approach to understanding yourself and what you need from a satisfying career (and includes instructions on how to build up The Flower - a diagram of your possible work. This is one of the key features of the book, something that's unique to 'What Color Is Your Parachute?').
CHAPTER 8 - Covers how to carry out "informational interviews" to find out details of potential careers and job opportunities.
CHAPTER 9 - Deals with personal handicaps and potential obstacles.
CHAPTER 10 - Describes several options for changing careers.
CHAPTER 11 - Sets out how to start your own business.
As usual, the Appendices - the now-famous 'Pink Pages' - are an absolute goldmine of information and good sense, and cover such key topics as 'Finding Your Mission in Life', 'A Guide to Dealing With Your Feelings While Out of Work', and 'A Guide to Choosing a Career Coach or Counsellor'.
I particularly appreciate the focus the book gives in guiding readers to build up a detailed picture of the work they're equipped to do. It's an approach I now take with my own career coaching clients, and I've found it to be extremely effective. In the face of a difficult economic climate, it's still a very good idea to make sure that the career we're chasing is the right fit for us - otherwise we're going to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get out of it. 'What Color Is Your Parachute?' sets out a very effective process for doing just that. It's not an easy quick fix, however - it does require the reader to do some work! That's as it should be, given the important topic we're dealing with here.
This is still one of the few career guides (apart from my own!) that I prescribe as required reading for my clients and students. One last thing - I also recommend it to anyone who thinks they *might* want to find a new job or change careers at some point in the future. Why wait until the situation has reached critical point? Follow the steps in the book now - the information you'll unearth will be fascinating and deeply useful for the future.
Despite some repetition in later chapters and a few minor glitches with diagrams in the Kindle edition, I still think this classic guide deserves five stars. By the way, this is a book that works best in hard copy anyway. You'll want to scribble notes in the margins!
Review by BRIAN CORMACK CARR, author of How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love
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