Book Review: Between Jobs

Between Jobs: Recover, Rethink, RebuildFriday I opened my snail-mailbox (I have no idea how that is actually written) and found a book by career coach Billie Sucher. And it was autographed with this message “Here’s to new beginnings!” Very cool. I was a little nervous about getting this book and reviewing it because, well, what if it sucked?

I’ll tell you right now, it doesn’t suck, and it is one of two books that I’d highly recommend (more on the second tomorrow) – indeed, if I had the money I’d give both of these books to anyone in a job conundrum – unemployed, underemployed, unhappily employed, etc…

First, the title and subtitle: Between Jobs: Recover, Rethink, Rebuild. Its definitely something I can relate to – but I LOVE how she sets the tone with the recover from this “loss”, rethink your career and future, and rebuild – its time to act now and move on!

Next, the format. At the bottom of the cover it says “501 Proven Strategies For Success”… is this in the same format as Tom Peter’s Wow book? Yep! I love this format because you don’t have to put a ton of time and critical analysis into it… basically you get 501 ideas, tips, etc. that you can read when you want. Read one a day and think about it, or read several pages of any chapter… whatever you need.

Billie starts the book with 10 questions for you to help you deal with being “between jobs” and asks you to contemplate the questions before, during and after reading the book. I love how she begins each chapter with a quote from a “job loss survivor.” I hated reading articles on how to find jobs by people that had never been through a real job loss, and these little quotes make this book that much more heart-felt.

So then we’re on to content. I remember at the beginning of my job search I’d get some books on techniques, resumes, interviewing, etc. Some of them were HUGE, and hard to make it through. And I could find the same information on the internet, regurgitated in various fashions. What was at first interesting later became cliche, and then contributed to the overall discouragement of the job search. Billie has 8 chapters wrapping up the 501 strategies, and a final chapter with quotes from the job loss survivors. It is not preachy, wordy, overly-verbose (like some of my blog posts ;)) or out of line.

As I related to just about evey single point in her book I realized that this is a collection of the “best-of-the-best” tips out there… from your dad, your counselor, your coach, HR, or whoever. This is the collection that I’d recommend to anyone either in college or a professional that just lost their job. Here are some examples of some points I liked (with the chapters in bold) – note there are 501 of these, I just pulled out some that jumped out at me – but this book is full of wisdom:

  • Getting a Grip: Let go of your old job. Give yourself some time, and then begin the journey.
  • Putting the Pieces Together: Don’t be afraid of or reject these two words: “Starting Over.” Each day brings the opportunity to begin again.
  • Packaging the Product: A messy, cluttered resume should not be sent to anyone, including your mother.
  • Building Bridges: Don’t ask your professional references for a job.
  • Completing the Application Form: Include “reason for leaving” if asked to do so on the application, however, choose your words carefully. “Fired” or “terminated” can be replaced with “will explain.” Words such as “downsized, reorganization, work force reduction and restructuring” can be used if applicable to your situation.
  • Presenting Yourself in the Interview: Respond only to the question asked. Save the minute details. If the employer wants more information, they will ask.
  • Negotiating the Best Deal: Be prepared to explain your value and what makes you stand out from other applicants with the same or comparable credentials.
  • The Best is Yet to Come: Be willing to “pay your dues” and prove yourself.

Awesome book – I highly recommend it, even if you find this review to be lacking (I don’t think I ever got an A in elementary school for book reports! ;)).

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