Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cracking the New Job Market: The 7 Rules for Getting Hired in Any Economy, by R. William Holland

AMACOM, ISBN 9780814417348, August 2011

This is a very hands-on approach to writing a better resume, making the right kind of networking connections, tapping into the splintered job market, acing the interview, and generally conducting an effective job search that will get you hired in any economy. It's based on Holland's workshops and his background in providing career and job search guidance.

This is a very practical guide, and repeatedly makes the point that it's not about you; it's about the value you can create for your potential employer. Every resume that goes out to an employer needs to be crafted to make clear to the hiring manager how you bring added value and can create the value the employer is looking for.
This includes going through the job listing or the employer's website, and using their language to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments--and then doing the same with your cover letter and emphasizing or calling attention to key parts of your resume. The advice for interviews is equally practical and equally aimed at making sure you talk about how you can create value for the employer.

Holland also discusses negotiation, both the how and the when. Always wait until you have an offer to negotiate money and other aspects of the deal--and be practical and realistic. Be clear in your own mind first what things are "must haves" and what things are simply "good to have," because you've got to be ready to compromise and reach an agreement that's a win for both sides. Being too inflexible can cause the offer to be withdrawn, or, even if you are still hired, get the relationship off to a poor start.

What will for many be the most surprising advice is Holland's position that the "hidden job market" is a myth. It's his position that the job market isn't hidden; it's splintered. There are so many different places, targeted at different audiences and with different target audiences, to list or publicize jobs that many of them never reach the most visible job boards. The jobs you're looking for may be harder to find, but they are findable, with patience, persistence, and knowledge of your industry and the companies you are targeting.

In addition to covering resumes, networking, and interviewing, Holland also includes appendices covering financial planning for an unstable job market; the special challenges of being a professional woman while also taking the time to raise a family and potentially take care of aging parents; and helping your children make the most of college in getting started in their careers. I know some university professors who will not be amused to read his assertion that helicopter parenting is a good thing, but in fairness he isn't endorsing the kinds of behavior that drive them nutty.

Overall, this is a solid, practical book, with more hands-on guidance than is common in books of this type.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

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