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on September 19, 2015
Richard Bolles has, once again, put together an excellent set of steps for examining one's skills, interests and talents. As in other versions, he reports on new methods for landing the job or position each of us needs. Those who follow his techniques (including me) will learn the BEST methods, some new ideas and build confidence in the job search. Leaders should follow his guidelines to seek out and find the candidate that's best suited for their needs.
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on January 18, 2016
This was recommended to me years ago and I'm so mad at myself for taking this long to read it. Like actually mentally kicking myself in the butt for spending all these years looking for the wrong jobs. Brilliantly written, inspiring, helpful, strategic, and everything I hoped for and more. This book should be required reading for college freshmen and should really guide college career counseling. It provides so much insight into career and job hunting, and really gave me more confidence and direction than I imagined possible.
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on September 7, 2015
How do you decide what your dream career will look like? Bolles provides a litany of exercises to help you figure it out. Practical Exercise No. 8, for example: Start with 10 sheets of paper and write “Who Am I?” on top of each. Once you have ten different answers, go back through the sheets and list what most turns you on (Bolles’ words, not mine) about that particular identity. Then review the sheets one more time and see which favorite aspects of your different selves arise as common themes. Someone who considers herself both a chef and a writer, for example, may find that, in either scenario, what appeals to her most is creating things from scratch.

Taken as a whole, the method and the exercises laid out would require hours upon hours of thoughtful reflection and research, even with high speed Internet on your side. It’s not wholly practical, either, given that many organizations in the social sector or elsewhere may not be able to turn around and hire someone into a new position that has not been planned for or budgeted, even if that someone shows a lot of promise. This leaves you empowered, self-aware, and still without a job.

Bolles recommends supplementing this process with more standard job search techniques like tapping into your existing professional network for leads and sending your resume and cover letter in response to job postings. I would go one step further in suggesting that you devote equal energy to “carving a job in the shape of you” and seeking out existing opportunities that will utilize your skills, appeal to your interests, and give you room to grow. Making a serious investment of your time in figuring out what skills and interests you want to spend the rest of your life utilizing seems a worthwhile endeavor, too, even if you forgo the rest of the book’s prescriptions or don’t find a perfect match in the job market.

Whether or not you follow him to the letter, Bolles’ approach to the job hunt remains nearly as relevant and just as radical today as it was in 1978, 1989, or any other year since he first shared it with the world decades ago.
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Top Contributor: Coloringon August 17, 2015
I'm embarrassed to say this is the first version of What Color is Your Parachute that I've read. Of course I've heard of it, but just never got around to reading it. In an effort to remain current with career search trends, Richard N. Bolles has been updating this book since 1975. Now that I've finally had the opportunity to read the 2016 version, I'm absolutely astounded by the amount of information the author provides. Loaded with practical job-hunting advice, the author has compiled the book into the following eleven informative chapters:

* Chapter 1 - It's a Whole New World for Job Hunters
* Chapter 2 - Google is Your New Resume
* Chapter 3 - There Are Over Eight Million Vacancies Available Each Month
* Chapter 4 - Sixteen Tips About Interviewing for a Job
* Chapter 5 - The Six Secrets to Salary Negotiation
* Chapter 6 - What to Do When Your Job-Hunt Just Isn't Working
* Chapter 7 - You Need to Understand More Fully Who You Are
* Chapter 8 - You Get to Choose Where You Work
* Chapter 9 - How to Deal with Any Handicaps You Have
* Chapter 10 - The Five Ways to Choose/Change Careers
* Chapter 11 - How to Start Your Own Business

"The Blue Pages" (appendix A thru E) are filled with additional insightful, comprehensive information.

The author makes a strong case for taking inventory of who you are before embarking on your job search. His flower method is so thorough, serious job hunters will definitely gain better insight into who they are and what jobs are most appropriate for them. His discussions on the importance of getting social with social media are vitally important for anyone looking for a job today.

There is much work to be done with this book, however. While there is a great deal of sensible, and even obvious, tips, anyone truly serious about finding a job or changing careers will have to spend a lot of time doing the exercises within this book. The author makes no bones about that. But after all, finding the right job or career is an important undertaking for anyone.

I would highly recommend this easy to follow and useful guide for anyone searching for a job, thinking of a career change or looking into starting a new business.

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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on July 11, 2014
I have purchased many volumes of What Color is Your Parachute since my graduation from college many years ago, and each year the book just gets better. Richard Bolles rewrites and revises much of the book from year to year to reflect new technology, changes in the job market, and ways companies "post" job listings and then process applications and resumes. Twenty years ago, "key words" in a resume were not something employers used as a screening tool. Social network connections are now important ways to make an impression and meet people who can pass your profile along to the right person.

Purchase the current years' edition, and use it until the cover falls off. Answer the questions and work the exercises as they will help you clarify your interests and skills and present yourself well. The resources in the book are updated every year, so in these days of rapid change in every sector of the job market you will be able to find the right resources, and not a broken link.

Parachute is the most up-to-date resource you will find. Whether you are at the beginning of your job hunt, or changing careers once again, you will find this book to be of great value in your discernment process.
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on November 9, 2013
Hands down the best career / job hunting / personal development book I've ever read.

I had been considering a career change for a little over a year, but was still feeling a bit lost on what to transition into and where to go despite lots of soul searching and researching on my own. I picked up this book due to the high recommendations, and it has been an absolutely wonderful source of information and clarity for me.

The job hunting tips in the first section of the book are brilliant. The author writes in a very tangible way and provides techniques and practices that readers can start using right away. He also pays very specific attention to the present time, and what works right now, and what doesn't work. The job market is dynamic, and he understands that and abridges the book every year with updates information to reflect that. Since reading through the author's job hunter tips in the first section, I've felt like I've had a personal revelation with how I approach jobs and interviews, and I feel so much more confident and effective with my job hunting skills than ever before. (And to be honest, I was pretty confident before).

The next section of the book contains the infamous "Flower Exercise", an extensive 7 petal (7 exercises) exercise that lets the reader figure out exactly what it is they want to do with their lives, and what they want out of their jobs. Exercises include topics such as "What are my Transferable Skills?", "What is my Preferred Working Environment", to even "What is my Mission in my Life". There's also exercises to determine other aspects as your favorite interests, what kind of salary you need to survive (with a comprehensive budget chart), and the type of people you want to work with. It covers all the aspects of what is the perfect career path or job for you, understanding that aspects such as the work environment and the people you work with are just as important (to complete job happiness) as the job responsibilities and salary! The exercises are not for the faint of heart though, and most exercises are going to require a few hours of your time working on them. One exercise involves writing 7 short stories, then analyzing those stories for clues about your personality, interests, and skills. I think it probably took me around 30 hours to complete all the exercises, maybe even more, but it was definitely worth it in the end. I was able to accurately identify my perfect careers, down to the smallest of details. That is priceless.

The last sections of the book contain great information on changing careers, starting a business, dealing with handicaps, and other miscellaneous information. Once again, absolutely wonderful information here and it's worth reading even if it doesn't apply to you. There's also some bonus sections at the end that provide even further resources should you need additional help. Through and through, this book is the ONE to get for any professional individual, whether you're looking for a job or not. I had spent tons of time researching job information and soul searching on my own, paid to go to expensive career coaches, and sought advice from friends and family advice, but this book has let me make more progress in the short time it took to read and complete it then the year and a half I spent trying to learn through other methods.

Save your money, save your time, pick up this book and prepare to be amazed at what you read!
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on July 1, 2016
I got this for my son, and he loved it. I've used two earlier editions for times of my job hunts, and it worked both times. My most memorable application was Bolles' REQUIREMENT that we send out a thank you card to EVERY contact, even those who say "no." I had called from Colorado to Japan to apply for a job teaching English in an institution run by a friend of my parents. The office manager took the call, and said they were not hiring. For me to then try calling the boss would have created a horrible working relationship with this office manager. What to do? Well, I sent off that card, and thanked that office manager for taking my call, and thanked him for informing me that no jobs were available just then. As soon as that card arrived, he apparently showed it to the boss, who instantly called me and hired me on the spot. So Bolles is right. That thank you card DOES open doors where you'd never expect!

You fill out each petal with all the details about yourself, your skills, your desires for where to live, etc. The key is to be SPECIFIC. Bolles' philosophy is not to have you create a resume that many might look at and "like," but such a specific resume that brings you to EXACTLY THAT ONE JOB located in EXACTLY THAT ONE PLACE where you'd like to be. And that is an interesting key that makes this book well worth it.
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on January 30, 2014
There's a reason 10 million copies of this book have been sold since it was first published over 40 years ago. It covers everything necessary to get or change a job or move into a new career. It's very well organized, written very clearly, and it covers both mundane and profound topics.

I have several issues with the 2014 version (one more if you include that it's really the written-in-2013 edition). The first is, there isn't a lot new. That's minor - when you need "Parachute," get this newest edition and it'll the best one. A bigger deal is that it doesn't fully address the sea changes that dominate the job-search landscape: social media and the hollowing out of the middle class (at least in the USA). To be fair, social media is certainly covered. There are 5 distinct references to LinkedIn in the index. One is a good summary of LinkedIn and how to use it. But consider this passage: "As social media ... have become more and more popular ... job-hunters and employers alike have figured out how to use them in the job-hunt. Now ever larger portions of the job hunt can be done online. That's a big change since 1994!" True, but the important message should have been that online social media tools now dominate job search, both from the job hunters' and employers' perspectives.

The hollowing out of the middle class is (in my opinion as a professional career coach) here to stay in the US. Employers (even smaller ones) can hire globally and sell their products globally, meaning that a middle class in a particular geography with good wages is ever less needed to make or buy things. Skilled workers around the world are eager to work for $20/hr or less, and are eager to buy what they can to rise on their own quality-of-life ladders. Parachute does address in good ways how it only takes one job offer to overcome all that macro negativity. But the negativity is real: middle class job openings with good wages are shrinking, and it's not uncommon for recruiters to receive 100s, sometimes even 1000s of resumes for a single opening. This makes an online "personal brand" more and more important. ("Personal brand" is an awful phrase, like you're a cow with a bell and a brand burned into you to show who owns you. But it's become the standard.)Parachute touches on building one's web presence, especially in the self-employment areas of the book, but today, everone, whether in regular employment or self-employed, should be thinking about how to begin or improve his or her online presence, and this point is not stressed.

My last problem with Parachute is more nuanced. Author Bolles seems to think that there's an essential you, discover-able through various techniques including his "flower exercise." Once you've found that "you" then you follow that path. Part of this is perfect - absolutely (in my view anyway) the best way to find rewarding work is to do the work you love. But it seems to me that many people at least don't stay passionate about one or a few inherent or genetic predispositions through their entire lives. Rather they evolve those passions based on their experiences. Professional athletes are an example. They can always love their game, but for most, a few high-paid years do not consummate their work lives. For the rest of us, perhaps a chance encounter, or a temp job, or an injury, or a book, or 100 other influences, might aim us toward a path we'd never considered. This can happen when we're 20, or 80, and it can be a beautiful thing. Bolles doesn't seem to fully appreciate how important this is, especially for people laid off from their careers and who don't want to or can't return to that career. What's next may have to be, or may delightfully be something completely different.

Still, Parachute is easily a 4-star book.
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on July 7, 2016
Hmm. I'm not 100% sold on this book. It has a lot of info (A LOT, it's a thick book), but I didn't find it particularly useful for myself. I do think that it could be helpful to some people. In fact, I bought it on the recommendation of someone else. I probably should have just tried to find it at the local library to take a look at it before buying.
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on August 21, 2013
I used this book many many years ago and found it very helpful to organize my job-hunting strategy and techniques. It still has some very good advice but unfortunately has not caught up with the changes of the past decade and the problems that current job seekers have in these strange economic times. If you remember how helpful the book was decades ago you will be surprised how out-dated the advice is as any current job searcher can tell you. Still, the basic information is very useful but the buyer will need to remember that the prime technique for job hunters today is, more than ever before, the use of personal contacts and social connections. Keep that in mind and you find some of the information presented here useful.
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