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Book Talk: What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers (2013 Edition) by Richard N. Bolles

What Color Is Your ParachuteBy Eileen Ramos

Richard N. Bolles’ 2013 edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual Job-Hunters and Career- Changers stands out from the rest of the career books with its conversational style, color, cartoons, and graphics. It also contains an appendix that directs you on how to find your Mission on Earth, if you are one of the 91 or so percent of believers in God.  I never came across a book that involves religion and the job hunt so it was rather interesting to see how Bolles relates the two in a separate chapter.

The first chapter you come across is “How to Find Hope,” an intrinsic trait that all job-hunters must have in order to secure a job.  Bolles encourages you to focus on the big or small bit that you can change in your favor:

“So it is, that in any situation you find yourself, no matter how overwhelmed you may feel, no matter how much you may feel you’re at the mercy of things that are just beyond your control, some part of is within your control: 2 percent, 5 percent, who knows? There is always something you can work on. And often, changing that little bit results in changing a whole lot.” (page 3)

He teaches you that you should look at yourself and your options in at least two ways in order to maintain that hope. It is with his warm reassurance that he guides you along the process of discovering not only your dream job but yourself as well.  Moreover, he points out to you by percentages, the worst and best ways to look for a job. One of the worst is to rummage through the job postings online (only 4% – 10%) and the best way is to do extensive homework on yourself (86%). Yes, it surprised me as well.

How you begin to discover yourself is through the flower diagram which breaks down into seven parts:

  1. your favorite knowledges or favorite interests
  2. what you can do
  3. your favorite working conditions
  4. your preferred kinds of people to work with
  5. your goal/ purpose/ mission in life
  6. your preferred place to live, and
  7. your preferred salary, level, and responsibility.

The exercises are extensive and will definitely show parts of you and your life that were hidden from view.

Bolles also teaches you how to overcome your shyness when it comes to interviews through the P.I.E. method (practice for pleasure interviews, informational interviewing, and the employment interview).  The section even provides a number of resources and websites f to help you capture that dream job.  There’s a chapter on how to conquer the interview which reminds you that the interviewer is human just like you and only wants a great job candidate.  Bolles offers the “the 50-50 Rule” which provides a format in which you and the interviewer speak an equal fifty% of the time giving you a greater likelihood of being hired than those who didn’t follow this rule.

There’s an immense amount of helpful information to help anyone improve their chances of being hired. I can’t believe that this book was revised thoroughly 41 times and I admire how much time and effort Bolles has put into all versions of this book.  It’s no surprise that 10 million people have this book on their shelves. And I know the next graduation gift that I’ll be giving.

Eileen Ramos is an enthusiastic introvert who has a fervor for words.  She loves collecting them and seeing how they fit in, and expand, her world.  She’s a writer by day, sleeper by night (well, sort of) and she can’t wait to see what title she earns next. For more information or to link with Eileen, check out her LinkedIn profile.

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