Useful career advice

Many people go on autopilot in life; they either abandon or forget why they are here, and their dreams become a blur as the years race by, according to Joe Carroll in his book How to Get a Great Job in 90 Days or Less. The book aims not just to provide handy hints on how to get a new job, but also motivation for the reader to consider his or her personal purpose in life, and what kind of job would help to fulfil that purpose.

Thus, instead of starting with a list of steps that you need to go through to polish the perfect résumé  or master irresistible interview techniques, the book starts with chapters on finding your passion, uncovering your preferences and identifying your talent.  Subsequent chapters deal with the practical aspects of job hunting, and some of the best ideas include:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle and staying fit will make it easier for you to land that job
  • Most jobs are acquired by knowing somebody, not by randomly sending off applications
  • People are usually keen to help if you ask for a referral, but they usually cannot help if you ask for a job directly
  • You are more likely to be successful if you know exactly what you are looking for
  • Consider getting your résumé done by a professional

Although the book appears to be aimed primarily at people who are at a mid-level in their careers rather than at senior executives or school leavers, it contains advice which is relevant to anyone. Chapter 11, on networking, is probably the most important. The author recommends extensive use of the telephone when networking. That almost certainly improves you chances of getting a job within 90 days, but may not be a comfortable approach for some.

As an employer who has read through hundreds of job applications and sat through dozens of interviews, I found myself agreeing with most of the author’s practical advice. I did not entirely agree with the philosophical advice; in my view there really is no perfect job, and in any situation there will be things you enjoy and things you dislike. Nonetheless, I found the book as a whole to be a useful source of advice for career management.

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