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Interview With Richard N. Bolles, Author of What Color Is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute Interview Covers Job Hunting in Tough Times


Interview With Richard N. Bolles, Author of What Color Is Your Parachute?
Photo courtesy of Ten Speed Press

How better to get career advice than to interview Richard N. Bolles, author of the job-search bible, What Color Is Your Parachute? Coming with the publication of an edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? on job hunting in tough times, this interview covers staying motivated and how job searching has changed in 40 years. You can also read about job hunt mistakes and work-life balance in a continuation of this What Color Is Your Parachute? interview.

How have you seen the working world change since you first published your job hunting book What Color Is Your Parachute? Do you think it's harder or easier to find your dream job?

You think I remember back that far? After all, we're talking about 40 years ago, versus today. Well, let's take a stab at it. It's easier to locate lists of vacancies now, than it used to be; that's because of the Internet, of course. The only avenue 40 years ago for finding vacancies was newspaper ads or employment agencies.

It's harder to use the telephone to contact employers than it used to be; that's because of voice mail and voice menus. ("Listen carefully to the following menu, and choose which number to press.") On the other hand, with the invention of cell phones in the past 40 years, you can locate someone much faster than you ever used to be able to.

And so it goes. What does it all add up to? Is it easier or harder to find your dream job today? That answer seems to depend on the level of your job hunting skills. If you only have rudimentary or limited job hunting skills, it's certainly harder. If you've taken the time to master up-to-date twenty-first century job hunting skills, then it's easier.

In other words, there's one nice thing about recessions, in the midst of otherwise unrelenting gloom: they force you to deepen your job hunting skills. People realize, in such a time, that rudimentary job hunting skills just won't do. And that has everything to do with finding your dream job. Because (to belabor the obvious) if you get better at finding jobs, you can afford to be more picky, and less desperate; and hold out until you locate a job that is your dream.

How do you stay upbeat and motivated during a job hunt?

There are two keys to this: one key is to be using more than one method of job hunting. There are 16 different job hunting methods. If you are only using one method, say, sending out your resume, you will lose heart faster than if you are using two to four methods.

The second key is: get into a group of other unemployed people, and meet regularly with them. These are called job clubs, or support groups.

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