My big fat career 我的远大前程
How individuals can survive in the new world of work
Sep 10th 2011 | from the print edition
“I REWROTE MY entire book after my experience of Spain and seeing what is happening in America, to recast it in terms of survival job-hunting,” says Richard Bolles. His book, “What Colour is Your Parachute?”, was first published in 1970 as a guide to finding a fulfilling job and has sold millions of copies. When Mr Bolles went to Spain in March to give advice on dealing with its indignant army of unemployed, he found that nobody had much idea how to get people back to work.
Even in tough times there are jobs to be had, but applicants have to work far harder to get an employer’s attention, says Mr Bolles. The main thing is to give them hope and teach them the latest techniques for looking for work, of which he lists no fewer than 18. They need to market themselves better and consider a broader range of employers than they might have thought of. Not least, they must “clean up their act on the internet”. Facebook is now routinely scrutinised by human-resources departments, which will be instantly put off if they find anything negative or embarrassing.
Better the devil you know
The good thing about the internet is that it offers a vast amount of information to jobhunters, especially once they have secured an interview. Glassdoor.com, a website launched in 2008 that now covers more than 120,000 companies worldwide, lets employees (anonymously) share information about firms, ranging from what people think about the boss to salary levels and details about the interview process. Last year’s annual Glassdoor list of oddball interview questions was topped by Goldman Sachs, which asked a candidate for an analyst’s job, “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” One Glassdoor contributor’s suggested answer was, “Ask the government to bail me out,” which would probably not have secured the job.