March 2, 2009

What Color Is Your Parachute, anyway?

If you are going to read just one book about planning your career, you should make it What Color Is Your Parachute.

Without a doubt, this quintessential book by career planning expert Richard Bolles is the be-all-end-all for figuring out what you want to do — and setting a plan in action for doing it.

Parachute has been published in 20 different languages in 26 countries, selling more than 10 million copies and spending more than two decades on the New York Times Best Seller list. No matter what stage you are at in your job hunting journey, you can and will learn something (big!) from reading this book. The 2009 edition has been updated with a detailed plan for changing careers — and changing your life.

I recently found a wonderful interview with Richard Bolles, now an octogenarian, but still at the forefront of career planning research and advice, published in the Sacramento Bee. When asked about the current economic climate, Bolles calls it “the worst I’ve seen in nearly 40 years of writing about job hunting.”  He gloomily predicted that worst is yet to come: “Companies have exhausted all the other alternatives – cutting hours and furloughs – that would keep unemployment from soaring.”

Even still, Bolles does offer a message of optimism (which, I for one, am inclined to believe, especially after he so bleakly summed up the current situation):

Use this time as a challenge. There are jobs out there, but your job-hunting skills may need to be brushed up on. A recession rewards those who are sophisticated at job hunting and punishes those whose skills are rudimentary.

Find the Bolle’s interview, which includes his thoughts on using the Internet to hunt for your next job, looking for your ideal job, using multiple job searching methods, and developing strategies for combating job search despair.

Have you read What Color Is Your Parachute? I’d love to hear what you thought. Leave your impressions of the book in the comments section.

Sign up for our newsletter!