WH A T C O L O R I S Y O U R P A R A C H U T E ?

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Chapter 1 It’s a Whole New World for Job-Hunters Chapter 2 Google Is Your New Resume Chapter 3 There Are Seven Million Vacancies This Month Chapter 4 Sixteen Tips About Interviewing for a Job Chapter 5 The Six Secrets of Salary Negotiation 1 21 43 51 81

Chapter 6 What to Do When Your Job-Hunt Just Isn’t Working 97 Chapter 7 You Need to Understand More Fully Who You Are 111

Chapter 8 You Need to Do Some Informational Interviewing 191 Chapter 9 How to Deal with Any Handicaps You Have Chapter 10 Five Ways to Change Careers Chapter 11 How to Start Your Own Business 211 231 247

The Pink Pages
Appendix A Finding Your Mission in Life Appendix B A Guide to Dealing with Your Feelings While Out of Work 266 289

Appendix C A Guide to Choosing a Career Coach or Counselor 298 Appendix D Sampler List of Coaches 315

The Final Word: Notes from the Author for This Edition About the Author Index Update 2015 Additional Helpful Resources from the Author

337 342 343 352 354

Recent Foreign Editions of What Color Is Your Parachute? 352

Chapter 3

There Are Seven Million Vacancies This Month
The Good News: The Job-Hunt Hasn’t Really Changed At All Since 2008
Yes, I know this contradicts what I said in the first chapter. But there you have it. Both things are true: the job-hunt has changed dramatically since 2008, yet the job-hunt hasn’t really changed at all since 2008. How can they both be true? The answer lies in the distinction between inner essence and surface behavior. The surface behavior of the job-hunt is always changing, often dramatically, as we saw in the first and second chapters. This, because job-hunt behavior at any given time is determined by technology. And when a new technology arises—think computers, think Internet, think smartphone, think digital resumes—job-hunting alters. On the surface. But beneath all surface change, the essence of the job-hunt never really changes. Job-hunting is all about human nature, and in its essence is most like another human activity that we call dating. Both shake down to: “Do you like me?” and “Do I like you?” If the answer to both is “Yes,” then it’s “Do you want to try goin’ steady?” In dating. In job-hunting. So, if you focus on essence rather than form, the job-hunt remains constant year after year. First question: “Do you like me?” In the job-interview that means “Hey employer, you are looking for someone who can do this thing that you want done, and can get along with you and the other people here. So, given that, do you like me?”



Chapter 3

Second question: “Do I like you?” In the job-interview that means “Are you going to give me a work environment that will enable me to be at my most productive and most effective level, where I feel useful and appreciated, and can make a difference?” Both questions are equally important, and permissible to ask. But that second question needs to be emphasized, underlined, and written in large letters because when we are job-hunting we are so prone to think all power belongs to employers. They have every right to ask their question. We have no right to ask ours—or so street-wisdom claims. But wait a minute. Meditate on why we have the word quit in our vocabulary, as in “I quit,” and you will realize that the job-hunt and job are always a matter of the job-hunter or worker asking themselves “Do I like you?” And if you conclude, “No I don’t really like you,” or “I really hate it here,” then eventually you quit. Your big decision is, do I wait three years to find out the answer to my question, or do I try to find it out now, during the job-hunt in general, during the job-interview in particular? The job-hunt is a conversation—a two-way conversation—wherein your opinion matters as much as the employer’s. That always has been true. Always will be.

You Are Not As Powerless as You Think
If you’re currently out of work, and looking for a job, you have every reason in the world to think you are up against overwhelming forces and the situation you face is rather hopeless. You may have struck out, again and again. The media is always filled with bad news, about the unemployed, since 2008. But the situation you face is not hopeless. In the world today, you have more power than you think, even with all the bad news and these great forces that you are up against since 2008. It may not be a lot of power, but . . . well, let me tell you a story. Some years ago, when I was doing a lot of counseling, not just about careers, a friend of mine asked me if I would be willing to see someone

There Are Seven Million Vacancies This Month


he knew. Her name was Mary. She had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS. She had been to a wide range of medical specialists: neurologist, psychologist, internist, you name it. They all had declared there was nothing they could do to help her with the disease. My friend said, “Would you see her?” “Sure,” I said, “but I’m not sure there’s anything I can do.” The next day my friend brought her over. She walked very stiffly up the front sidewalk, came in, sat down, and after exchanging a few pleasantries, I got down to business. “Mary,” I said, “what is multiple sclerosis?” Mary’s and my discussion was a philosophical one. We both knew how the disease is generally described: a disease that attacks the central nervous system. My question to her was deeper, and I knew she understood what I was getting at: What causes MS? How much control do we have over its progression? What hastens or slows its rise and fall in the individual? Etc. “I don’t know,” she said, in a dull, emotionless voice. “Well then,” I said, “that makes us even; because I don’t know, either. But here’s what I propose. I’m sure that a huge proportion of whatever MS is, is out of your control. There’s nothing you can do about it. But that proportion can’t be 100%. There’s got to be some proportion—let’s say it’s even just 2%, or 5%—that is within your control. We could work on that. Do you want to begin that journey?” She said yes. Over the next few weeks she improved, and finally was free of all symptoms (typical of the disease for a spell, but this lasted for a very long time), and now—free of all stiffness—she became a model on 57th Street in New York City. 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 huge forces that are beyond your control, some part of it is within your control: maybe 2%, 5%, who knows? There is always something you can work on. Something that is within your power. And often, changing that little bit results in changing a whole lot. Maybe not as dramatic a change as with Mary; but change nonetheless. You are not powerless during the job-hunt. Maybe the employer has an overwhelming amount of power in the whole job-hunt. But the employer does not hold all the cards. That is what never changes.


Chapter 3

Of course, you will object, “Well, that may be true during normal times, but these ain’t normal times. I cannot afford to be picky. There are very few vacancies out there.” Where did we get that idea? From the media, that’s where. Two reports come out each month in the U.S., about the state of the jobmarket. One of those reports is usually hopeful. One of them is usually depressing. Both of them are put out by the federal government. The media choose to emphasize one of those reports, but not the other. The first report comes out on the first Friday of each month, with rare exception. It is typically called “news about the unemployment rate,” though it is more accurate to think of it as “the monthly measure of the net change in the size of the working workforce in the U.S.” Its technical name is the Current Population Survey.1 It said that in the month of February, 2013, only 236,000 jobs were added to the economy. With twelve million looking for work that month, that was not good news. But, there was that other report. It comes out about two months later. It’s called JOLT, which stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover.2 It said that during that month of February 2013, 4,418,000 people found work, and even so, 3,925,000 vacancies remained unfilled by the end of that month. You do the math. That’s a total of 8,343,000 jobs available in the U.S. during the month of February. And this is typical, in the U.S., month in and month out. What’s going on, here? Well, let me give you a parallel situation. Suppose I own a dress shop. You come in to visit me, and for fun you count the number of dresses I have in the shop. It turns out I have 100. You leave that day, and you don’t return for a month. You count, again for fun, how many dresses I have in the shop one month later. I have 95. So you say to me, “Oh, I see you only sold 5 dresses this month. Poor you.” “No,” I reply, “I added to the inventory during the month.” “How many,” you ask. “50,” I say. You stop, and calculate: “Oh, so you actually sold 55 dresses this past month.” I say, “Right.”

1. www.bls.gov/cps 2. www.bls.gov/jlt

There Are Seven Million Vacancies This Month


5 vs. 55. You get the one figure, as the net change in the size of the inventory in my shop, with visits a month apart; you get the other figure as the actual change in the number of dresses sold, during the month. It’s the same with the two government reports. Not 5 vs. 55, but 236,000 vs. 8,343,000. Of course, the question for us when we’re out of work is, “If there are typically seven or eight million jobs available each month, why didn’t I get one of them?” More importantly, this wipes out the impression that things are so bad, it doesn’t matter what you want. Nonsense! The job-hunt is always a two-way conversation. That never changes. What the employer wants, matters. But also what you want, matters. Certain other facts about the job-hunt in this country never change. Here are ten of them, that have remained the same since the first edition of this book was published, and throughout the forty-two yearly editions since. 1. You must take charge of your own job-hunt, and determine not to conduct a traditional job-hunt (“this is the way it has always been done and must be done”), but rather, a creative one. 2. To do a creative job-hunt, there are three questions you must find out the answer to: they are What, Where and How. WHAT are your skills that you most love to use? WHERE would you most love to use these skills? (In terms of field, purpose of the company or organization, location, style of working, kinds of people you work with, etc.) And finally, HOW do you go about finding such places? 3. You must devote as much time to your job-hunt as you possibly can. If you want to devote as little time to your job-hunt as possible, then fine; try it. But if that doesn’t lead to a job, then you are going to have to devote more time to it. 4. If your job-hunt isn’t working, then you must take the time to find out as much up-to-date information as you possibly can about the job-hunt itself, and not just about the job-market. Effective job-hunting techniques keep evolving.


Chapter 3

5. If your job-hunt isn’t working, then you must take the time to do a thorough survey of yourself before you do a survey of the jobmarket (like, finding out what are “the hot jobs”). 6. You must approach organizations, companies, or institutions that interest you, whether or not they have a known vacancy. Go after smaller, newer companies in particular. Sometimes vacancies develop in a day and a night, and do not immediately get advertised or published. 7. Job-hunting is not a science; it is an art. Some job-hunters know instinctively how to do it; in some cases, they were born knowing how to do it. Others of us sometimes have a harder time with it, but fortunately for us in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, there is help, coaching, counseling, and advice—online and off. 8. Job-hunting is always mysterious. Sometimes mind-bogglingly mysterious. You may never understand why things sometimes work, and sometimes do not. 9. There is no “always wrong” way to hunt for a job or to change careers. Anything may work under certain circumstances, or at certain times, or with certain employers. There are only degrees of likelihood of certain job-hunting techniques working or not working. But it is crucial to know that likelihood (see chapter 6). 10. There is no “always right” way to hunt for a job or to change careers. Anything may fail to work under certain circumstances, or at certain times, or with certain employers. There are only degrees of likelihood of certain job-hunting techniques working or not working. But it is crucial to know that likelihood, as we just saw. Job-hunting always depends on some amount of luck. Luck, pure luck. Having advanced job-hunting skills doesn’t mean absolutely, positively, you will always be able to find a job. It does mean that you can get good at reducing the amount that depends on luck, to as small a proportion as possible. As I said, some things about the job-hunt have not changed since 2008. In fact, they have not changed since 1970.

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This is an annual. That is to say, it is revised each year, often substantially, with the new edition appearing in the early fall. Counselors and others wishing to submit additions, corrections, or suggestions for the 2015 edition must submit them prior to February 1, 2014 using the form provided in the back of this book, or by e-mail (dickbolles40@gmail.com). Forms reaching us after that date will, unfortunately, have to wait for the 2016 edition. PUBLISHER’S NOTE This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional career services. If expert assistance is required, the service of the appropriate professional should be sought. Copyright © 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1975, 1972, 1970 by Richard Nelson Bolles. All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.com www.tenspeed.com Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc. Jacket illustration copyright © iStockphoto.com/alexm73. The drawings on pages 141, 143, and 211 are by Steven M. Johnson, author of What the World Needs Now. Illustration on page 20 by Beverly Anderson. Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60774-362-0 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60774-363-7 eBook ISBN: 978-1-60774-364-4 ISSN: 8755-4658 Printed in the United States of America Cover design by Katy Brown Back cover design by Colleen Cain Interior design by Colleen Cain 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Revised Edition

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