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What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes: Write a Winning Resume and Cover Letter and Land Your Dream Interview (What Color Is Your Parachute Guide to Rethinking..) [Kindle Edition]

Richard N. Bolles
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The first resume book from the What Color Is Your Parachute? career guru Richard Bolles.

Resumes get an average of eight seconds of attention before going in the trash—or getting on the shortlist. That’s just one of the findings reported here, as legendary career expert Richard N. Bolles presents new research about resumes in a guide that summarizes everything job-hunters and career-changers need to know about this essential tool.

This timely resource features the latest research on important resume topics such as key words, soft skills, scanning software, social media, and online posting. Bolles argues that on the basis of what we now know, we need to rethink what a resume is—and how it should be written. He details the words that must be avoided, and the words that must be used, on a resume that wins you interviews. 

This slim volume distills a huge amount of information down to its very essence. Armed with tips and shortcuts based on the author’s decades of experience, you can craft a resume and cover letter that will stand out to your dream employers—and increase your chances of getting interviews and landing jobs.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RICHARD N. BOLLES is considered to be the father of the modern career development field and is the author of the best-selling job-hunting book of all time, What Color Is Your Parachute?, which has sold more than 10 million copies in twenty languages. He has keynoted hundreds of conferences and has been featured in the New York TimesFortune, Fast Company, the Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Marci.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Rethinking What a Resume Is
Yeah, I think I know what you want. You want me to get right to it. Tell you how to write a winning resume, give you an outline or template, tell you how to fill it in, tell you where to post it. And that’s that.

Well, much as I would love to do that, I just can’t.
Resumes need a lot more thought these days. Since the Great Recession of 2008, resumes aren’t working too well.

I’m guessing you knew that.

Everyone assumes this is because there are no jobs these days.
Well, there are jobs. I’m looking at the government’s little-known report, sitting here on my desk right now. It’s called JOLTS for short, but its full name is Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. You can look it up on the Internet. It’s issued monthly. This one is for January 2014. It reports that during that month, 4,500,000 people in the United States found jobs, and there were still 4,000,000 vacancies unfilled at the end of that month. That’s a total of 8,500,000 vacancies filled or waiting to be filled. That month! That’s pretty typical in the United States. Every month.

Now admittedly, that’s not enough jobs or enough vacancies to fix our distressing unemployment problem. Still, somebody’s getting those eight million jobs. Each month.
Why shouldn’t you be among them?

Well, one reason—a big reason—may be your resume.
It almost certainly needs fixin’.
Yesterday’s resumes just aren’t up to the task today.
Yesterday’s resumes are like a dull knife trying to cut food. Need sharpening. Badly.
These days, you can’t just fill out a resume, post it, and expect it to go anywhere.
Resumes now take more time than they used to.
They take more thought than they used to.
In this economic climate, you have to work harder to make yours effective, in finding those jobs that are out there.

But you can do it. Yes, you can.

That’s what this little book is about.

Let’s start simple, with some thinking. Or, rethinking.

Let’s Start Simple

Okay, here’s the story:
You want to find work. To find it, you’ve got to secure an interview with some employer or employers who actually have the power to hire you. And employers are busy people.
They’re not necessarily anxious to spend all day doing interviews. So, since you know that, you send someone on ahead of you, to plead your case for you.

And that someone is not actually a person but a piece of paper.

Yes, you send a piece of paper on ahead of you, to make the case as to why you should be invited in for an interview. And that piece of paper has a name. It is called a resume. Or resumé. Or résumé. Or its near cousin, CV (curriculum vitae, meaning “the course of my life”).

Now, the most interesting thing about this piece of paper (digital or real) is that while it looks like just a bunch of words, it really is a painting. And that’s because employers have the same thing you do: imagination.

Yes, your resume looks like just words. A lot of words. But when they’re reading your resume, the words are lifting off the page and painting a picture of you in the imagination of the employer who reads it.

Employers wouldn’t call it a painting; they would call it an “impression” of you. Same thing. They are looking at this piece of paper, covered with words, but they are thinking in terms of pictures. They are visualizing you.

Now, here’s the question. Do the words they read make them visualize you as a competent worker, or not? Do the words they read make them visualize you as energetic, or not? As joyful, or not? As a team player, or not? As honest, or not?

And let’s throw in: Do they visualize you as tall, short, or average height? Young, middle-aged, or old? Yes, those things aren’t covered in your resume, but employers can’t turn their imaginations off, just because they’ve finished looking at this piece of paper you sent on ahead of you. Rightly or wrongly, they see, they imagine, beyond your words. That’s just human nature.

But to my main point: It’s not just words that determine whether or not they decide to call you in for an interview. It’s the picture of you that these words paint in an employer’s imagination that determines whether they invite you in, or not.

So, when you set out to compose your resume, you would do well to think of yourself overall as a painter, not a writer. Your paintbrushes are your words. What is the picture of you that they paint? That is the question you should ask yourself, when you—or someone you hire—are debating what words to set down in your resume.

Eight Seconds
Let’s say you see a job posting. Some employer is looking for someone to fill a vacancy or a job newly created. You send in your resume. And you want to know how long an employer will likely spend looking at this resume/painting of you that you are sending on ahead, to plead your case for you. The answer will vary, of course.

There’s a difference, for example, between how long the owner of a restaurant will spend looking at the resume you drop off, when you are applying to become the manager there, versus how long a multibillion-dollar corporation will spend looking at your resume when 250 came in that day. With a small employer you might get as much as two minutes. With larger employers, we know (because people have measured it) that generally your resume will get between four and fifteen seconds of attention. The average is eight.

Eight seconds! Yikes! An employer is going to be reading down your resume fast. In fact, they may not get all the way to the bottom in those eight seconds. So, what they read first, what they see in the top half or even top third of your resume, is going to be determinative.

What can you do about that?
What can you do about this painting that the employers may be taking only a fast look at?

Well, real painters of course paint in various ways. But, as we can tell from the sketchbooks of famous painters like Rembrandt (right*), they usually begin by laying down in broad strokes the outline of the whole portrait or picture. Then later they fill in. Details, shading, and such.

If your resume is only going to get eight seconds of attention, then it must do something like that. In the top third of your resume you must lay down in broad strokes an outline of who you are, using the words you write. Enough to make the employer hungry to see what else you have to say for yourself, as during the remaining two-thirds you shade and fill in. So to speak.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4807 KB
  • Print Length: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (May 6, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,501 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Rethink Resume Writing May 10, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you haven't written a resume, or updated yours for awhile, this little book offers the latest research on resumes. Some of the helpful information included in this book:

* what words or phrases are passe and you should NOT use in your resume: team-player, driven, exceeded expectations, references furnished upon request, quick learner, self-starter etc.

* what employers WANT to read in a resume

* you actually have two resumes - the one you write and the culmination of your online presence and how to clean that one up if needed

* how to find and use key words for a targeted resume

* where to send or post your resume

* what to do about scannable resumes

* in-house referrals - a new site

* niche jobs sites

* a sample of a resume Mr. Bolles likes

* perspective on cover letters

Found this slim and easy-to-read book full of invaluable information on resumes. I think it would be helpful for most job-seekers and those in the career development field. I bought a copy for my brother who asked about resumes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Changer September 12, 2014
As a young professional looking to break into the education scene, I am more than comfortable in stating that I have spent an exorbitant amount of time drafting cover letters and resumes. Regardless of how much time I feel that I have spent attempting to polish my professional potential on paper, Richard N. Bolles took something that I thought I knew quite a bit about, my professional image, and overturned my entire understanding of how best to go about presenting myself to potential employers. Bolles covers everything from trending vocab terms that we should aim to incorporate (or not in some cases) in our self presentation, to buffering out our digital presence online via social media. What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes is a phenomenal read for professionals in all stages of their careers, whether they are just getting into the game like myself, or a tenured veteran.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book for resume writing June 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good book for either writing your resume the first time or rewriting it for the second time. good investment of my time and money
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Depend on where you're coming from May 15, 2014
Richard N Bolles' "Guide to Rethinking Resumes" is written for beginners. It's also written for more advanced readers who have specific accomplishments they can list in their resumes. So here's my problem. I'm still early on in my career, and I'm no mathematician, so I have no idea how to turn what I do into percentages and so on. At the same time, I found that, thanks to my dad's research, my resume already had a lot of what Bolles recommended. His detailed lists and instructions start at the VERY beginning and work their way to the end, with an extremely short chapter on cover letters added in the mix. So the majority of the information he had to present was irrelevant to me. But I did find a few good examples and tidbits in there, as well as lots of websites to search and utilize. So it wasn't an all-bad read. In fact, most people probable do need this book. If your resume still starts with an objective and other older techniques, you DEFINITELY need to read this book.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Use this book! April 15, 2015
By Diarac
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a really good book especially for those of us who are entering the job market after a long-term at previous job. Amazing what is brought forth about profile on LinkedIn. I didn't even realize the information I was leaving out in my profile.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is not as helpful as What Color is my Parachute which is one of the best. It basically has one big point about how the job search process is changing due to the internet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book! February 21, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very applicable to today's market even though a book in this family has been around for over two decades. A quick read and a must have.
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