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What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Job-Hunting Online, Sixth Edition: Blogging, Career Sites, Gateways, Getting Interviews, Job Boards, Job Search ... Resumes, Research Sites, Social Networking Paperback – May 17, 2011

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About the Author

Principle author Mark Emery Bolles has worked as a computer programmer, technical writer, musician, and musical instrument maker. He is an expert on using the Internet to support the job-hunter, particularly with alternative career paths.
Co-author Richard Nelson Bolles has been a leader in the career field for nearly forty years, and is the author of the best-selling What Color Is Your Parachute?, with over ten million copies in print.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

All jobs are temporary.

There is no promise made today that cannot be erased with an apology tomorrow. Companies go out of business, mergers occur, divisions are reorganized, projects get cancelled, funding is cut . . . and we’re really sorry, but we’re going to have to let you explore other opportunities.

Or maybe your company has grown uncomfortably large (or uncomfortably small); perhaps you have realized that the job you started with is not quite the same as the one you ended up with, and it’s time to move on. Or your spouse has been promoted to a new area of the country. Or you took this last job knowing that it was only a two-year project, and it’s time to look for the next one.

Figures vary, but most experts (and the federal government) say that the average job lasts three and a half years. Which means that the average person becomes a job-hunter every three and a half years, voluntarily or not. And the trend, on average, is toward shorter job tenures, not longer.

At the same time, it’s taking each of us longer to find a job. In a trend that has been building for years, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in April of 2009, the average job-hunt lasted just under twenty-seven weeks; less than a year later, in April of 2010, it was thirty-three weeks. For older workers seeking senior positions, the job-hunt (again, on average) generally takes between one and two years.

What is going on here? It’s not like there aren’t any jobs available.

People are always quitting, being terminated, retiring, moving to another town . . . the turnover is endless. Even in the brutal economic times we have been going through, this country has shown a net job growth every year since 2001. I don’t want to keep bombarding you with numbers, but in 2007 alone, although there were 54.6 million “separations”—that’s government-speak for quits, layoffs, discharges, and retirements—employers hired 57.8 million people, for a net jobs gain of 3.2 million. Meaning, that every month, over 1 million people were finding jobs—158,000 people every day. But, on average, it took them each over six months to find that job.

This makes no sense. Every day, there are more jobs available; as time goes by, we have to go job-hunting more often; and yet, we are getting worse at it. You would think we’d be getting better, seeing as we need to do it so often. But all of the numbers point the other way.

Well, numbers can hide as much as they can reveal, but I do know one thing: this country is going through a revolution in the way the job-hunt operates. And one of the main factors in this revolution—perhaps even the main cause of the revolution—is the Internet.

As a job-hunter, you need to understand the Internet and know how to use it effectively in your job-hunt. If you can do that—learn how the Internet can help you find work, how it cannot, and even learn how the Internet will likely be harmful to your job-hunt—then you are no longer the average job-hunter that we have been talking about. Your search can take much less than thirty weeks, or whatever the average happens to be right now. You can, in a relatively short time, find the work you enjoy at a place you enjoy doing it. And that’s the whole point of this book.

Monster Expectations
First let’s look at some ways that the Internet is not helpful, and is perhaps even harmful, when you are job-hunting.

The first problem the Internet brings is unrealistic expectations. Many people think that the Internet will make the whole job-hunting process much easier and quicker. We are constantly bombarded with ads on TV, radio, in the newspaper, and on the Internet itself, all of which tell us that we merely have to put our resume up on one job site or another (the bigger the better) and we will soon be bombarded with job offers. For the vast majority of people, that is the complete sum of all they know about online job-hunting. It’s simple; it’s painless; what do I need a book like this for?

Unfortunately, Internet job-hunting just doesn’t work that way. I’ll explain more in chapter 2, but, for now, just know that when job-hunters follow these ads and only use what I call the Supersites (Monster, HotJobs—now part of Monster—and CareerBuilder), the average success rate is around 4%. That is, for every 100 people who use the Supersites, 4 people will find a job . . . eventually. The remaining 96 people never will.

The next problem facing the online job-hunter is data smog—the huge amount of information on the Internet tends to mask the information you are searching for. And the actual amount of information online is staggering: as of 2009, about 109 million different websites, with over 25 billion (yes, that’s billion-with-a-”b”) separate web pages. Great! Now—which ones are going to be helpful?

Well, let’s try and cut through that data smog and zero in on our intended subject—that’s what search engines are for, right? So we go to a typical search engine, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, and type in “job-hunting.” Google alone claims about 23 million results and generally shows the first thousand (about 100 results pages). Of those thousand, which are the most helpful links for your job-hunt? If you think the answer is always on the first page—which is as far as most people go—then you need to learn a lot more about search engines. We’ll examine search engines closely in chapter 6, Research.

That brings us to the third problem facing the online job-hunter: data provenance. We already know there is a huge amount of information on the Internet; it doesn’t take long to find out that much of this information is vague, contradictory, and often just plain wrong. What, and who, are we to believe?

For example: In the last few years, there has been an explosion in the number of job-hunting blogs. Back in 2007, when I wrote the previous edition of this book, there were exactly three job-hunting blogs on the net. Now, just a few years later, there are literally thousands of job-hunting blogs. Thousands. It’s bad enough having too much information. But now the question becomes: is it likely that every one of these bloggers is a job-hunting expert?

It used to be that we could (and did) trust what we read. The books, newspapers, and magazines that were our primary sources of information were generally produced by well-trained people with knowledge, experience, and authority. Generally speaking, journalistic professional pride and economic pressures required careful research, caution, and fact checking. 

But the web is completely egalitarian. Anyone can set up a website and say whatever they want, as loud as they want, regardless of the truth of the matter or the depth of their knowledge about it. Without a great deal of expertise on our part, it can be difficult to distinguish the expert from the fraud, or the well-meaning but mistaken voice from the sharp operator who wants to cloud an issue for financial gain. Therefore, when on the Internet, you must constantly ask yourself:
•  Where does the information come from?
•  Who wrote it?
•  Why did they write it?
•  Why is it worth money to keep it available on the Internet?
•  How can I verify this information?
These questions may not be so important when you are trying to find out who was our eighteenth president (Buchanan, unfortunately), but when you are trying to find work in a hostile world, such questions can be absolutely critical.

To illustrate the care required when using the Internet, I bring you the story of dihydrogen monoxide.

DHMO—A Cautionary Tale
There is a chemical compound affecting the health of people all over the world, yet it seems as if no one wants to talk about it.

Dihydrogen monoxide—often referred to as DHMO—is now widespread throughout our environment. A major component of acid rain, DHMO also contributes to soil erosion and the greenhouse effect. High levels of DHMO can be found in practically every lake and river in the US.

By going to the web page of the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division (www.dhmo.org/), we can learn that:
•  Inhaling even a small amount of DHMO can cause death.
•  The gaseous form of DHMO can cause severe burns on human skin.
•  Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
•  To quote the website, “DHMO is a constituent of many known toxic substances, diseases and disease-causing agents, environmental hazards and can even be lethal to humans in quantities as small as a thimbleful.”
More recently, concern has grown due to the fact that DHMO is being used widely on dairy farms, and is showing up in the milk that we give to our children.

Given all of these facts, why is so little being done to curb the use of DHMO? It’s hard to know exactly why, given the close relationship between industry and people in politics. Some brave voices have been raised, but they are as those crying in the wilderness:
•  A few years ago, the city councilors in Alisa Viejo, California, scheduled a vote on whether to ban Styrofoam cups at city events, because they learned that Styrofoam manufacture involves the use of DHMO.
•  Some members of the New Zealand Parliament have thrown their weight behind efforts to curb the use of DHMO.
•  In 2010, a member of the Canadian Parliament wrote a bill to ban DHMO from all federal buildings, though later tabled his bill (bowing to industry pressure?).
If you have any questions or concerns about DHMO, you should ...

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Product Details

  • Series: What Color Is Your Parachute Guide to Job Hunting Online
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 6 Original edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607740338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607740339
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
So far I am liking the information. I feel like it is debunking myths and misconceptions about online job-searching-hunting-whatever. It has a lot of helpful information and links to filter through the deep thicket (or ocean, more like) of information when conducting a job search online.
Basically, this book is helping me to *NOT* just jump from website to website on a wing and a prayer, filling things out willy nilly.
It seems to offer actual strategies, at least better than I can come up with.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rachelle Lappinen, Career Advisor on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a career advisor at Becker College, and I use this book as a guide to educate my students on the realities of online job searching. This is a great companion book to the Parachute book and is very insightful. One key point is if your job search is 100% on the job boards, you have only a 4% chance of ever finding a job. Additionally, the jobs that get to the boards are the hard to fill ones. The key is the hidden job market, and to use the internet for research. This book shows you how.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Esther Murray on December 10, 2012
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Not as eye catching as what color is your parachute, but the information is good. Very conversational and easy to read.
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This book is good book. I like what color is your parachute because its a good source of getting back into the workforce
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These times they are a changing. Great for those who are not computer tech turned on.
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