The original manual for practical job hunting and career changers by Richard Bowles is a refreshing read after years from its original release. The book covers a gamut of stories, tips and techniques that a would be job hunter or career changer could use to find their ideal career.
Just when you think that you are unemployable, Bowles pleads with you to put down your strengths and your aspirations on paper to guide yourself out of the hopeless pit.
He offers direction and varied commentary that comes from a place of understanding having viewed the hiring process from behind the curtain. The fundamental theme of the book is this:
In order to be hired one has to feel that they are worthy of being wanted.
As cliche as it sounds, its impossible for another to appreciate you, unless you appreciate your self.
Other strengths of the book include:
His perspective is grounded in data, outcomes and his religious background that views a calling in one’s career.
While the book offers many tangible useful facts and techniques it falls short in the survey as the official manual for job hunters and career changes, here’s why:
A career changer is not a job hunter.
He begins his book by telling you that if you are unemployed or career changer or a college student aspiring to figure out what your major is this book is for you.
A career changer is often someone with a thorough resume that needs to be migrated into a new enterprise. This is vastly different than a brand new college student with no college career experience. On a side note, the market is still short of an effective strategy for veterans who are making the transition out of the military and into a career.
Bowles like many career authors subscribes to the notion that by aspiring and describing your dreams and hopes you can achieve them in an ideal career or job.
Very often our jobs consist of tasks that are boring and routine regardless of the title or industry. Jobs by their very nature requires strenuous effort and at times tedious tasks.
He offers free personality tests to begin your search but often it can more restrictive to the job hunter.
Never mind the idea that Myers Briggs or any test can match your career profile. It is when a person stretches themselves and goes beyond their prescribed formulaic character that you discover new aspects of who you are and finds a career that you can live with.
A career does not have to be your calling.
But your ability to make even a poorly paid hazardous low esteemed job a calling speaks more to your character than the fundamentals of the job. Bowles hints that one’s economic status is tied to one’s career fulfillment. The reality is most people take on careers and jobs in order to provide for themselves and their families. If along the way they can carve out a role for themselves that utilizes who they are as Adam Grant, the organizational psychologist, would tell you, they can make a difficult circumstance suitable for their present needs.
Something akin to what Milton wrote that “a mind can make a hell of heaven and heaven out of a hell”
Increasingly companies hire specialist for their lower tier jobs and generalists for their upper echelon positions. It is by grit as Angela Lee Duckworth would tell you and timing that one wins what is viewed as the ideal job.
Being willing to try a different roles, a new unknown career, and stick to it when things get difficult, tests the character of the individual and decides their economic future.
Veterans need less a parachute and more a clear strategy for success before they even get on the plane.
This book while trying to be everything to everyone cannot offer that.
But Bowles finest point about getting a career coach or counselor is on the money and not often told.
It is impossible to be successful alone.
He would agree with this proverb that asks you to
Seek guidance to wage war...
victory is won through many advisers.
Regardless of what point of life you are in or what your present circumstances are, by seeking guidance and listening to advisers, you can pack your parachute in confidence, knowing that wars are won and lost by the strength of one’s team.