Sunday, July 3, 2011

Good advice for job seekers

I've never had much trouble putting together a great resume or doing well in an interview. Some things I learned in classes many years ago, and others just by going on interviews. But I've been out of school for a number of years and it's been a while since I changed jobs. And it's a very different economy and job hunting situation now. Not only are jobs more scarce but there's a lot more competition in this down economy. And while I've only been looking passively for a while now, I find it's not as easy to even get interviews as it once was.

Job hunting can also be more difficult in this highly computerized world. Resumes go into databases and may not even be reviewed by a person unless the computer selects them. Knock 'em Dead 2011: The Ultimate Job Search Guide by Martin Yate discusses ways to get your resume selected by using important keywords and how to figure out what they are - and his method will take some real effort. He talks about how to deal with the interview and difficult questions, and how to negotiate when an offer is coming. He also leans heavily upon the old practice of networking - something I've never been very good at but which has worked since the days of Benjamin Franklin! He even follows up with information on what employment areas are in demand right now.

While this is a very good update of an old standard, it's not perfect. The writing can feel a little dense at times and occasionally it seems like a topic is over-covered or gets repetitive. The approach might look similar to the "Idiot's Guides" or "... for Dummies" books, but this one is a lot more serious. It also took me a while before I realized I probably didn't need to read every single part of this book and it can be treated more as a reference. I also wish there had been a little more detail on the format of resumes or how to do a cover letter instead of having to consult the author's other publications.

But this is probably the very best place to start your job search, especially if it's been a while or if you're a recent graduate. I'm really not a fan of the "self-help" type of books, but I'll make an exception for this one - this one just might be essential. (I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers blogger program.)

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