What Color Is Your Parachute?

A Practical Manual For Job-Hunters And Career-Changers

About the Author

Author: Richard N. Bolles Publisher: Ten Speed Press Date of Publication: 2004 ISBN: 1-58008-541-5 Number of Pages: 411 pages

Richard N. Bolles
Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? the most popular job-hunting book in the world. Acknowledged as "America's top career expert," by Modern Maturity, and as "the one responsible for the renaissance of the career counseling profession in the U.S. over the past decade, by Money Magazine, Bolles is universally recognized not only as a best-selling author, but also as a master teacher. Bolles is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in chemical engineering, Harvard University, in physics (where he graduated cum laude), and the General Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in New York City, from which he holds a Master's degree (he has been an ordained Episcopal priest for the past 50 years). Over 20,000 people a month purchase "Parachute" which is revised and updated annually (the new edition appearing in November each year).

The Big Idea
The best-selling job-hunter's bible for decades, this indispensable resource is a complete handbook for people who are on a quest to find their mission in life, or at the very least, the next good job that will put food on the table. Whether you are a fresh graduate, never finished a degree, or are searching for your deeper calling after many years of work, this is the book for you. You may need a temporary job, but the book strongly suggests a major life-changing one! There are basically two types of job searches: the traditional, and the life-changing. The former requires the usual resume-matchedto-the-employer-formula. The latter begins with a weekend of honest soul-searching and really deep thought. The actual lifechanging job hunt may take much longer. You must have adequate reserves of energy and determination to go on this hunt. But the result of the long search is well worth it. Why? Because the search for the “job of your dreams” is really the search for your true happiness…and you have every right to seek this happiness. You may enlist a family member or a good friend for encouragement and support in this major type of job search. This person will be your taskmaster, the one you can trust to follow up on your weekly progress, and will firmly reprimand you whenever you lose focus or give up too soon.

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What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

1. What Are You Looking For?
The Five Best Ways To Find A Job · · · · · Through your network of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Walk in to a place that interests you, regardless of whether they have a vacancy posted or not, and talk to the person with the power to hire. Skim your telephone book’s Yellow Pages and note the companies or organizations that interest you. Organize a group of job-hunters and skim the phone book together for organizations that interest you. Go on the life-changing job hunt! *

*Why do people want to go on a life-changing job hunt? For several reasons: they suffer from burnout. They need time to smell the flowers. Some need to set their career path, after straying from their original plan, some want to earn more money…but the best reason is they are searching for their mission in life or raison d'etre. As people mature they start searching for meaning more than money. The advantage of doing the life-changing job hunt is obvious: it makes you rethink your goals, really think about what you want to accomplish in this life, and it's about getting in touch with who you really are. It requires time, effort and a lot of deep thought. The traditional job hunt has 3 simple steps: · Prepare your resume · Post your resume on several Internet sites that use a search agent or jobmatching software · The program searches while you sleep, looking for the keywords in your resume and in an employer's resume, then it e-mails you about any possible matches…much like those dating websites. Sounds very mechanical? Well, actually it is. And it doesn’t work very well. Only 4 out of a hundred job-hunters turning to the Internet for a job, actually find it. A life-changing job hunt has different pathways and elements to consider: · You can try to accomplish it in one move. · You can choose to tackle it one step at a time. · You will need to do your homework on yourself to define exactly what you want to do. This book provides the exercises for you to work on so you get to draw a complete picture of the type of job you want and the skills you have to offer. · Think hard: What do you have to offer the world? · Use your list of contacts, and that includes everyone from family members to old high school alumni classmates and ex-coworkers, even ex-boyfriends! Contact people to find out more information about organizations that interest you.


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

2. Job-Hunting at Warp Speed
Suggested resume-writing resources are: · http://www.garywill.com/worksearch/reswri.com.htm · No-cost research: Go to a good search engine such as http: //www.google.com · Ask friends who have gotten jobs because of their excellent resume-writing skills to help you write yours. · Pick up a copy of Kate Wendleton's Through the Brick Wall, available from Career Press/New Page Books, 3 Tice Rd., P.O. Box 687, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417, and Donald Asher's The Overnight Resume, from Ten Speed Press Box 7123 Berkeley CA 94707. · Your resume should be a summary of relevant work accomplishments, citing what tasks you were responsible for, what obstacle you had to overcome and what you did to solve the problem and what the results of your actions translated into in terms of profits, savings, etc. · Remember you are offering to do some service to them, and don't keep revising until kingdom come. At some point you need to send it off and stop revising it. · Go where the employers go: www.monster.com, www.hotjobs.com, www.flipdog.com, and www.eurojobs.com are just some sample sites you could look at. · The Internet has made job-hunting at lightning speed possible. Of course, you may not even get a nibble. On the other hand, If you post your resume on Monday, you could get a phone call by Wednesday and perhaps even get interviewed in person by Friday of that very same week! It is that fast. The kind of job you get may not be your life-changing one, but at least you are using the optimum time-saving communication tool to find your next job.

3. But What If That Doesn’t Work?
Don't worry. There are other ways to find jobs than on the Internet. Use your contacts. Study the phone book, or take a walk around your neighborhood. Most of the time, people don't get a job off the Internet anyway so it's always best to be referred to an employer by a good friend or colleague. The three enemies of a successful job hunt are: · Hype - the Internet is a tool but it can also be one of the most ineffective ways to job hunt because you are relying on a software that is simply a mechanical data-matching system. · Rejection shock - resulting in low self-esteem. · Misplaced energy -or spending energy looking for a job in all the wrong places. So where to look? Try the web search engines, the local newspaper, a private placement agency or search firm, an employer's friends, an employer's desk, a country club with lots of employers as members, an employer's current workforce…there are always vacancies. Sometimes a job is created out of thin air just as easy as it can vanish. Do something


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

different if nothing else is working! Other effective tips on how to get a job: · Do not mail out resumes at random! Ask for leads from family members, friends, friends of friends, your high school or college, your community… · Knock on the doors of the places that interest you, whether they have a known vacancy, or not. · Use the Yellow Pages to identify fields of interest to you in the city or town you are living in, and then call up those employers to ask if they are hiring. You may also do this in a group with other job-hunters who will do the same. · Try the life-changing job hunt…but do use more than one of these methods! · The difference between success and failure in a job search is the process or the way you go about your job hunt. The best method is still the life-changing job hunt. · Change your strategy if it isn't working. Get help from a friend. · Change your strategy and go face to face with potential employers. · Don't let the HR department screen you out. Go to smaller organizations of 20 employees or less and talk to the boss directly.

4. How Employers Hunt for Job-Hunters
Face it. Employers absolutely hate going through hundreds of resumes. One smart job-hunter simply went over to the place that put out an ad, and she immediately got the job. How? She didn't answer the ad, but by going directly over to the address and observing where employees went (to the basement offices) she was able to see the person-with-the-power-to-hire, and offer her services. She was saving them the trouble of going through all these resumes. The less work the employer will have to do to find you, the bigger the chance he'll hire you. Study what employers do, go where employers go, and adapt your behavior to theirs. Some employers will hate your resume, others may love it…the problem here is you are just praying that your resume style will appeal to the employer you are sending it to. Truth: Resumes are for screening out rather than hiring. Truth: Most employers eliminate job-hunters based on the way they behave during the job hunt, thinking this is how they will most likely behave on the job. A lack of initiative, or a lack of attention to detail (i.e. a dirty mailing envelope or cover letter) or lack of persistence is a turn-off to most employers. Employers like it when you: · Find their job ad on the Internet or on their web site. · E-mail your resume immediately. · Mail a professionally laid-out paper copy to the employer's mailing address on the same day. · Make a follow-up phone call within the week to see if both copies were received, and to inquire about an appointment for an interview.


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

An extra tip: If you do get interviewed, send a thank-you note immediately after the interview. Employers remember you better when you send a thank-you note. If you are not persistent, you may be seen as lazy and will be eliminated in the screening process. Employers may evaluate you based on: What you know · · Your skills · Persistence · Who you know · Years of experience · Persuasiveness · Initiative But these factors depend on the nature of your job. For example, as a fashion publicist, your contacts in the industry are the key to success, but if you are a software engineer it is your knowledge and experience, or what you know rather than who you know, that will spell the difference. If you want to find a job that answers what you want, focuses on what you need out of life, and what you can offer the world…then we highly recommend you try the LifeChanging job hunt.

5. Twenty-Three Tips For A Successful Job Hunt
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. No one owes you a job. You have to go out and look for it. Your success is directly proportionate to your effort. Be willing to change your strategy. Ask successful job-hunters what they did. Think of yourself as already having a full-time job, your 9-5 job from Monday to Friday is that of job-hunting (working for yourself). You must spend at least 35 hours a week searching for a job. Start your day at 9 a.m. and end your day at 5 p.m., just like everybody else. This will give you a proper routine to follow. (Even freelancers or people who are self-employed and work at home follow this normal daily schedule so as to be “in synch” with the rest of the working world). The shortest job hunt still lasts between two and eighteen weeks, depending on a variety of factors, even if you work full time at it. Persistence is the name of the game. Persistence means learning to work without a mental quota in your head like say, “If I send out 100 resumes I'll probably get 10 good offers…” You will not find the same exact job you had before, so redefine yourself. Forget what is “available” and go for the job you really want. Once you are clear on what you want, you need to tell everyone to keep a lookout for that type of job opening. If you own an answering machine, tailor your opening message to communicate your ongoing job hunt, “Hi, this is Rex, I'm not home right now

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

because I'm out looking for an accounting job in an auto sales company. If you happen to have any contacts for me please leave your name and number after the beep. Thanks!” 12. Join a job-hunter's support group in your area. If you can't find any, create your own or see your local church leader, career counselor (they can be found in an adult education center, community center or college) or enlist a friend, partner, boyfriend or sister to be your disciplinarian or taskmaster. (This edition of What Color is Your Parachute? has a resource Sampler section/appendix plus helpful websites) 13. Go after several organizations at once. 14. Go after any place that interests you regardless of whether there are vacancies or not. 15. Concentrate on organizations that employ 20 people or less. They are more likely to hire you than larger organizations with HR departments that are there to screen you out. 16. Go see 4 potential employers a day. If you are using the telephone, call up 40 a day. 17. Use the phone and the Yellow Pages to call up places of interest and ask if they are hiring. Write an outline or script so you communicate your key points. Stand up when you make your phone calls and make sure to call before 8 a.m., before lunch or after 5 p.m. when the person-with-the-powerto-hire you is most likely to be around, not her secretary. 18. Go to places where you would like to work and knock on their doors. 19. Look for full-time, part-time, contract jobs or temporary jobs and other types of jobs: job-sharing, working for yourself, etc. 20. Forget about your handicap, whether real or imagined… 21. Don't become depressed if you encounter several rejections. It is normal. 22. Treat everyone you meet with courtesy, even if they don't hire you they might know someone who will. 23. Write a thank-you note to those who gave you their time that day.

6. How to Start Your Own Business
The Art of Self-Employment or Working for Yourself The 3 major problems of home businesses are: · Home-based workers earn less than their full time office equals. · Home-based workers find it difficult to balance family and business needs. · Home-based workers are on a perpetual job hunt. But if you really are determined to join the legions of freelancers/independent contractors, first: · Read up on the home-business you want to put up · Dream on. Dig up your childhood dream. What is your passion? · What does your community need that you can offer? · Consider mail order businesses · Consider telecommuting or “working at home for others” · Consider a franchise


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

· · ·

If you've invented something new, make a business out of it. Find similar home business concepts that are outside of your community or city and interview the owner to see how they got started, and what their current situation is like. Take a day job while putting up your home business, it could be part-time or temp work, or a stop-gap job (a job you can easily get and will pay the bills for now)

7. The Secret To Finding Your Dream Job
Exercise no. 1: Draw a picture of your ideal life. Exercise no. 2: Pick your ideal job from some list. Exercise no. 3: Whose job would you love to have? List down what you like about that person's job. Figure out how you could talk to this person, and then go talk to him! Exercise no. 4: Take tests that tell you what type of career you could get into. Desperately Seeking Serenity? “The search for a dream job is the search for happiness.” The way to serenity is achieved through adopting the correct attitude. Many a highly qualified worker has lost a job opportunity because of a “lousy attitude”. You might have to work on being more positive, likeable, or amiable. You will know you have found your dream job when you are excited and happy to get up in the morning…when you stay up late doing your work, and you never care to check your watch. That is when you realize you've found work you enjoy…and then you will be one of the lucky people in this world, the ones who are not bored to death with their jobs! Remember, “Work is Love made visible.”

8. When You Lose All Track of Time
How do you identify your dream job? · What are my transferable skills? (Remember we are talking about actual Skills, and not your personality Traits) · What are my fields of fascination? · Draw a picture or in this case, The Flower diagram we use in Parachute, to have a picture of your new career. · Give it a name. Go find a person who is already doing it. · Interview that person for information, to find out what the job is really like day in and day out. · Research organizations in your area, find out what they do · Network and seek out the persons who have the power to hire you in these organizations. · Use your contacts to get to this person and show him how you stand out among other employees. · Take no short cuts, if you need to re-train or go back to school to get your


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles


dream job…then do it. If you don't have the time or money to go back to school, search for the exceptional person who made it in your dream career without the educational background or extra degree. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. If one path isn't working, try a Plan B or alternative strategy and alternative vision.

9. The Geography of the Heart
· · · · · · · ·

What are your favorite fields of interest? What subjects are you drawn to most? What are your favorite words or jargon? What skills do you enjoy? What is your passion? Would you like to work full or part-time? As a consultant? As a volunteer or intern at first? Would you be happy working for a non-profit organization? Be specific. Cut down the territory from “I want to work in a place that hires welders”, to “ I want to work in a place that hires gay welders within the San Jose area and has less than 50 employees.” Research before you approach the places that interest you! Everybody has a web site now or has some annual report or brochure. Ask your friends if they've heard of the place.

10. Getting into Impossible Places
· First, you must realize it's easier to get into smaller organizations (places that employ 50 people or less) because they don't have an HR department to screen you out, it's easy to identify who the boss is, it is growing and most likely creates a new position every few months, or you can get in through your contacts. Using your contacts works 87% of the time. If the place is so impenetrable and it is so difficult to speak to the person who can hire you, then why would you want to work in such an unfriendly place?


The 10 Commandments for Job Interviews · · · · · · · Go after small organizations, those with 20-50 employees. Ask everyone you know to keep a look out for your specific job opening. Do your homework on the organization before going there. Identify who is the person with the power to hire you and use your contacts to see this person. Ask for only 20 minutes of their time and keep to your word. Go to the interview to see if this organization suits your values, your agenda and fits your life. When answering questions keep your answers down to 20 seconds or two minutes, max.


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

· ·

Approach them as a resource person who can offer a service rather than a job beggar. Always write a thank-you note the same evening of the interview and send it off the very next day.

11. Interviewing Tips for Smarties
· · · · · · · · Use up only 20 minutes of their time. Research before you go for an interview. During the interview, listen 50% of the time and speak 50% of the time. Observe the 20-second to two-minute rule when answering questions. Carry yourself as a resource person, not a job beggar. Sell yourself as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Realize the employer views the way you job hunt as the way you will work. Bring evidence of you skills: a portfolio of work if you are a creative type, a demo tape, a CD of a plan you made or videos, powerpoint presentations and other professional work samples, even news clippings of any current achievements. Do not bad mouth your previous employers. Think of the interview as part of your research. Realize the employer has fears you can't perform, or you'll be absent a lot, or you need extra time to master the job… He will want to know why you are here. What can you offer him? What kind of person are you? What distinguishes you from the other qualified candidates? Can we afford you? The job interview is much like a first date. Even the little things may turn them off: you haven't shaved or showered, you need a manicure, you didn't iron your shirt or pants, you smell like cigarettes, your shoes aren't polished, you have bad breath, you don't wear a bra or are wearing clothes that call too much attention to your body, you have nervous mannerisms, and lack self-confidence… Values: Turn-offs are arrogance, tardiness, lack of enthusiasm, blaming others, dishonesty, any sign of irresponsibility, not following rules or dress codes, inappropriate responses, swearing…

· · · · · · · · ·


12. The Seven Secrets of Salary Negotiations
· · · · Never discuss salary until the end of the interviewing process, when they have definitely said they will hire you. The purpose of salary negotiation is to find out the most that an employer is willing to pay to get you. Never be the first to mention a salary figure. Do your homework on how much you will need per month


What Color Is Your Parachute? By Richard N. Bolles

· · ·

Do careful research on salaries in your field or in that organization Define a range the employer may have in mind, and a range for yourself. Don't leave it hanging. Bring the salary negotiation to a close. Request a letter of agreement or an employment contract. Get it in writing.

Note: A good job hunter always has alternatives!

The Final Word
Part of the search for happiness and a deeper meaning in our lives goes hand in hand with recognizing our relationship with God.

Epilogue: How to Find Your Mission in Life
God and One's Vocation · · · Your first mission here on Earth is to stand in the conscious presence of God, the One from whom your Mission is derived. Your second mission is to do what you can everyday, moment by moment, to make this world a better place. Thirdly, you must use the Talents God gave you in the place you will do the most service or good, and for the purpose God needs to have done in the world.

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