Career Report August, 2009 — Issue 114

Bob Larson, CPCCareer Advice Becomes a Summer Must-Read

Summer is typically a time for breezy novels and thrillers. But this jittery season, books dishing out career advice and inspiration are making a strong showing, as people young and old, employed and not, seek an edge in the tightest job market in decades, according to an article in The New York Times.

While overall book sales were down 4.1 percent for the year through April, according to the Association of American Publishers, retailers report that sales of career-burnishing books have been on the rise, the article pointed out.

Clearly, the recession has brought fresh demand for classics like “What Color Is Your Parachute,” a comprehensive guide to job-hunting by Richard N. Bolles that has sold 10 million copies since it was first published in 1970, and “Knock em’ Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide,” by Martin Yale. Both titles are updated annually.

Moms who are returning to work can pick up “Back on the Career Track,” by Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin, while baby boomers might opt for “Finding a Job After 50,” by Jeanette Woodward. Both were published in 2008.

And while there are books for most every situation, publishers are rushing out new titles to address demand from anxious consumers.

In June, Wiley & Sons released “Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring,” by Ford R. Myers. Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, Calif., has two new career books hot off the press. One of them, “Strategies for a Successful Career Change,” by Martha E. Mangelsdorf, a journalist, grew out of her experience writing a monthly column profiling successful career changers. The other, “The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide,” by Bolles, is a pared-down guide for job-seekers who may not have time or patience to read his 400-page “Parachute” book. The survival guide “was very much in reaction to the recession,” Debra Matsumoto, director of publicity for Ten Speed, told the newspaper. In February, as the economy worsened, Bolles approached his editors at Ten Speed with the idea of doing a quick and concise book. Six months later, it is hitting store shelves. And, at $9.99, it’s priced to sell.

The book reflects what retailers say is a shift by consumers away from soul-searching books that promise to help them discover an ideal career, to nitty-gritty basics that can help them land a job—and fast. “Customers are focusing on what is going to help them get a job, rather than, as in better times, finding the perfect career,” said Dave Hathaway, the business book buyer at Barnes & Noble.

Allison Elsby, director of merchandising at Borders, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has noticed a similar trend. Customers, she said, are showing a clear preference for “practical and pragmatic books,” on topics like résumé writing, time management and learning a skill. “It suggests that people are looking to enhance their existing skills or learn new ones,” she said. Inspirational books about achieving professional success are also a draw, she added.

Like other forms of media, however, books are losing ground to the Internet, where advice on everything from résumés to interviewing techniques can be had free, the article noted. Indeed, while sales of career-advice books have risen, the increase has been less than in past recessions, retailers said.

Buying a book will not magically find you a job, of course, but the best career guides offer time-tested advice, exercises to pinpoint strengths and interests, and a motivational boost.

Mark N. New, a career counselor and recruiter in Belle Mead, N.J., who has read dozens of career advice books, said job seekers can pick up useful nuggets on the mechanics of an employment search from books like “Parachute” and “Knock’ em Dead.” For those who have recently lost jobs, he suggested reading a motivational book from authors like William Bridges, a consultant who has written several books on managing change, or Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

“You have to emotionally be in the right place to put your best foot forward,” New said. He also urged job-seekers to become adept at social networking and personal branding. Here, he said, a book like “Me 2.0” by Dan Schawbel, can help.


News from BLK

National Association of Personnel Services Awards the Robert P Style Firm Accreditation to Berman Larson Kane

(Atlanta, GA – 2009) – The National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS), the association with the longest and most comprehensive history of professional credentialing in the staffing industry, announces the renewal of the Robert P Style Firm Accreditation Program to Berman Larson Kane for a second year.

Ted Angelus, CPC, the Credentialing Chairman: “The NAPS Accredited Firm designation is reserved for those recruiting and staffing firms who agree to be bound by the NAPS Code of Ethics and who demonstrate their commitment to, Certification, Education, the Profession, Free Enterprise System and to Community.”