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Job Hunting…and the Traditional Parachute
Job Hunting…and the Traditional Parachute

Job Hunting…and the Traditional Parachute

What Color is Your Parachute(2019 Edition), by Richard N. Bolles. 2019. Ten Speed Press, New York, NY, United States.

The subtitle of this book says it all: A practical manual for job-hunters and career-changers. Bolles presents this annually updated book to guide those seeking employment.

Summary of Content: 

Most of us remember a time when our parents (or grandparents) had one or two jobs…over an entire career. We no longer live in that sort of environment. Most of us will have several jobs over our career, and may find ourselves looking when we least expect it. Bolles’ writing makes no assumptions about the job seeker’s abilities or interests. He is not writing in academic terms, but in a casual (very readable) tone that is informative while also comforting. The readers feels like they can succeed in finding that next job!

This book starts by bringing the reader up to date on the current job market, and the avenues for seeking employment. Again, he does not assume that the readers understand the current job market. In fact, even if they know their job prospects, this book will provide the reassurance that finding the next career can happen. After this basic refresher, the reader will embark on a self-inventory and an examination of possible careers. This part of the book has become a well-known exercise that will empower the reader. Bolles’ exercise focuses on seven critical areas: people, working conditions, skills, knowledge, salary needs, geography, and one’s purpose in life.

The final chapters of the book look at a myriad of challenges facing the job seeker. The readers are encouraged to understand what information is available online and how it portrays the candidate. They will then develop an understanding of solid interviewing techniques the challenge of the “hiring” conversation. Finally, we read about the art of negotiating a salary – something far too many of us are lacking. Bolles encourages all of us to understand our handicaps and then choose a career…or even start our own business.

Of course, what would any good self-help guide be without and appendix? Bolles offers four appendices. The reader is encouraged to understand their purpose and utilize that reality in the job seeking process. Finally, the reader must face the feelings of being out of work and consider what tools are at their disposal including career coaches.

Most Useful Information for career services professionals:

People serving in helping professions are always looking for tools they can pass along to their clients/ students/ friends. Bolles has consistently written a book that can be used by almost anyone looking for work. Career service professionals can feel safe that this work will aid the recently laid off as well as the new graduate entering the field. The advice and tools presented in this book can be used immediately whether the book is read as a whole or just in part. In fact, for those that have already read a previous version of the book, it can be very helpful to simply skim the new parts and put those tools into the toolbox!

While the subtitle of this book us “A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers,” this book should also be read by all of us in the field of career services/counseling. Far too often, people working in the field are so busy that we get little time to develop our skills and track changes within our field. Bolles’ work provides a helpful refresher to remind all of us what’s happening in the field today. Many career services professionals started their career before Google, or at least before we knew the value of seeing ourselves through the eyes of a search engine. This book provides fresh eyes for the modern job hunt including the modern interview – which is constantly changing and is far too often overlooked by those that don’t understand the power of being prepared.


We’ve all heard of this book. Most of us have recommended it. Some of us have read it. However, all of us can use it. This book is easy to read and organized in a way that makes it an accessible tool to go back to over and over. More importantly, Bolles’ continues to update important areas like the Internet and interviewing. The job market is constantly changing, and this provides a fresh tool that can be used “right out of the box.” The only encouragement I would offer the author is to include a brief introduction. The first chapter has some introductory materials, but I think that a wider audience might purchase the book if there was an introduction that grabbed their attention and told them why they needed this book. Beyond that, Bolles provides a helpful book that is easy to read and even entertaining at points.


* Reviewed by C. James Lovaas for The Career Planning & Adult Development Network

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