Books to Get You Back in Business

According to the TV shows that I watched growing-up, finding work was easy. Your options were limited only by your spunkiness and the imagination of your writers. If you could fling your hat just-so into the air, you’d be a fine local news producer. You could be a compassionate (and passionate) nurse in Korea. You could be a private eye. Heck, if you could wink your eye and twitch your nose, you could be a stay-at-home witch! Unfortunately, our new economy (and cadre of current TV shows) has limited our employment options (unless you’re a vampire). So while watching the news the other day, someone said in passing that our job market is “volatile.” I think that that might have been double-speak (1984, by George Orwell, $9.99) for “lousy.” But, as alluded to in previous reviews: we are clever and creative and we have resources. “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step.” — Lao Tzu When I graduated from MSU (during the Hoover administration), the tome of choice for job hunters was “what color is your parachute?” Go figure, the What Color Is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers ($18.99) is hot-off-the-presses. This year’s edition has been vastly rewritten, because job-hunting has increasingly become a survival skill. Author Richard N. Bolles describes the five strategies most needed to survive and explains how to incorporate social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter into your job-search. Another book that received very good reviews is Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring: Take Charge of Your Career, Find a Job You Love, and Earn What You Deserve!, by Ford Meyers ($19.95). The book’s “blurb” reveals that Myers has mapped the new world of job searching and has revealed essential strategies for our successes. What’s more, we’ll learn how to seize opportunities that aren’t posted yet, make ourselves assets to potential employers, clearly stand-out as the best candidate and how to leverage social media, blogs and other Web tools. Gotta’ love having leverage! “Who Are You?” — Pete Townshend If you don’t mind reducing all of your life into bullet-points and hyperbole on a single sheet of paper (two pages if you’ve been The Pope or CEO of British Petroleum), then you already understand the gist of the resume. So what if you’ve been a Daisy Scout, a saint (actually that means you’d be dead) or the parent of a student of the month? You need to figure out what the employer wants and which of your skill-sets (and yes, you DO have skill-sets) to emphasize and which to suppress. Don’t look at me for help (I’d never hire the likes of me), instead check out Knock ‘em Dead Resumes: Standout Advice from America’s Leading Job Search Authority, by Martin Yate ($12.95). In 12 simple steps, Yate shows readers how to craft top-flight professional resumes that showcase applicants’ strengths and demonstrate what they can contribute to employers. “Can We Talk?” — Joan Rivers On good days, I’m lucid. On my very good days, I’m clever. On my very best days, I’d completely bomb on the humiliating tough interview questions. “What is your greatest weakness?” (Um, suppressing my urge to kill?). Thank heavens there are books like 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions by Vicky Oliver ($12.95). In today’s job market, how you perform in an interview can make or break your hiring possibilities. If you want to stand above the rest of the pack, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions is the definitive guide; you need to know the real, and sometimes quirky, questions employers are using to weed out candidates. In the Event of a Loss Sadly, there is a chance that you might already have had a job that has been lost. Grief expert Alan Wolfelt has written a terrific book to help the healing commence. Healing After Job Loss: 100 Practical Ideas ($11.95), is full of practical, time-tested counsel. This handbook offers simple tips and activities to counter the typically negative reactions to job loss, such as loss of self-esteem, and explores thoughts and feelings with the goal of healing. Whether discussing situations when companies have been downsized or individuals have been fired, furloughed or laid off, this guide provides a healthy way of dealing with often overwhelming feelings of anger, anxiety, depression and hopelessness, in a healthy, hopeful manner. Bonus selection During the past 20 something years I’ve had to interview a lot of people and hire a lot of people. When I ran an insurance agency, I came to learn that you can teach people about products and procedures but you cannot teach them to be nice. I would always hire “nice” before I would hire experienced or knowledgeable. One of my personal favorite books is The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval ($17.95). Through their own experiences and the stories of other people and businesses, Thaler and Koval demonstrate why nice people actually finish first. Their book is inspirational and is filled with suggestions on how to recharge your career and expand your reach in the workplace. The Power of Nice will transform how you live and work. That does sound nice, doesn’t it? In conclusion When it comes to the whole jobs thing, it could be much worse (see the Book of Job in the Large Print King James Version of the Bible, $19.95) or it could be much better (see The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success by Carmine Gallo, $25), but no matter what: you are much more than your job (see Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work for You by Paula Caligiuri, $19.99).

Tags: job hunting, Reader's Lounge, The Power of Nice


Scott Harris

Liberal, Jewish and vegan. Scott has six kitties, a dog, four kids and a wife who saves peoples' lives. He operates EVERYbody Reads bookstore, 2019 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing.

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