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Before you start applying for a job, read “You’re better than your job search,” by Marc Cenedella and Matthew Rothenberg

August 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment · Book Review

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis @mddelphis

You are better than your job searchJust received a review copy! Everything about this book makes you feel well!

1) The title is downright uplifting: You’re better than your job search. Most people look for a job these days may be somewhat nervous. More often than not, there is a “better” candidate. With hardships, self-esteem tends to go down; so the idea that one would be better than one’s job search can only help.

2) The design of the book by Priest + Grace: We are getting so used to improvised covers, hasty layouts, inconsistent graphic guidelines that this book comes across as a courteous homage to the reader – and the divider pages separating sections look like great summary posters.

3) The two authors Marc Cenedella, the founder of the Ladders, and Matthew Rothenberg, the Ladders’ Editor in Chief are sincerely “rooting for you” as they guide you through the job seeking process.

4) And, of course, the content and the author’s straightforward approach. The book is more specifically targeted towards people earning 100K+, but is a great guide for everybody. So “before you jump the gun and start applying for jobs (…) take a little time to read this book.”

Regardless of where you stand on the totem pole, looking for a job is always nerve-racking. Sometimes, it’s like shopping for clothes. You see a suit in the windows and you believe that it’s exactly right for you, soon to find out that something that goes amiss. It doesn’t perfectly fit, because of a little something in the design or a little something in you – and as you ponder over possible adjustments, another person comes by and the suit slips through your fingers. The book takes you through the eight key steps of a job search.

– Starting your job search: Take the time to think about all the aspects of the process, from defining your goal, crafting your personal elevator pitch, to becoming aware of how long it will take you to actually land a job, and all the steps in between. So from the very beginning, go through the checklist related to all the components involved.

– Your resume: You want to survive Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Yes, your resume must include all the relevant keywords, but don’t think that you can outsmart them that easily. It’s a machine, but a machine that, in the end, often reads humans quite well. Also, if you want to gloss over a few snags in your job history, don’t forget that credibility matters.

– Personal branding: You want to impress, no doubt, so show the excellence in you and as you want it to be perceived; express your arete, an ancient Greek term that the authors quite relevantly use, and dress the part.

– Networking: You need to leverage all available resources to reach out to people and to be reached. Social Media tools are a powerful way to expand your field of vision as well as your visibility, provided that you have a clear strategy and know what you want. Optimize your profile for search, but never forget that in all cases, you must create trust.

– Interviewing: Great step forward – but it’s easy to blow it. Come prepared to the teeth about the company for which you interview. The meeting is not so much about you, your life and your exploits. It’s primarily about what you can do for others, and make sure that you adjust well to the environment that is used for the interview: phone and Web interviews are now common (I would add that they are far trickier for foreigners than for native speakers).

– Work/Life balance: Another interesting chapter. Not quite what you would expect, but a great way to look at your time between jobs. Don’t let stress paralyze you, be flexible, and stay in good shape mentally and physically: “if your job hunt is getting you down, take the weekend and blow off some steam.”

– Salary negotiation: Yes, few professional conversations are “more awkward,” so glean the authors’ tips to establish some comfort zone in you.

– First 90 days in the job: That’s the happy ending. Prepare to feel stupid, though, if you don’t want to come across as an awful brat.

Books related to job search can’t be too fancy – understandably so. But they can be more of less informative and more of less efficient at convincing you to reflect on the current best practices (not quite the same as ten years ago!) and  to apply them to your personal case. Even if you want to believe that you know it all, read this excellent book first: you may be convinced that you are a “highly experience,” “seasoned,” “world-class,” superlative executive. That’s not enough: Make sure that others are convinced too after you sell them your story!

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