Book Reviews

Book by: Richard N. Bolles
Review by: Amy Wilkens
College of Communication and Information
Kent State University


Richard Bolles has come out with the annually updated 2015 version of What Color is Your Parachute?, the leading job-hunting manual on the market for job seekers and changers. This book is a valuable resource for advisors working with college students who are close to graduation and about to embark on their career path. This manual has many tips to a successful, first time job search, but also delves into helping those struggling to find their passion. 

This new edition has very relevant and up to date advice for job seekers beginning by cleaning up and making one’s presence on the Internet the number one focus. New graduates to the job market may not realize the effect their web presence may have. Bolles spells out exactly how many employers will Google their applicants to see their public web persona. Bolles provides many useful tips to make Googling your name beneficial to your job search. 

The first half of the book provides practical, common sense tips on the typical job search process, interviewing tips, and salary negotiations for when you land the job of your dreams. If the job search process is not going as planned, the second half of the manual provides detailed chapters on getting to know oneself. Chapter Seven provides a detailed game plan to develop on one sheet of paper who you are. Bolles first introduced the method called “The Flower” in 1982.  This is the roll up your sleeves, get down to work, section of the book. Chapters Seven provides many inventories, questions, and lists for the reader to get to the heart of the type of worker they are to hopefully narrow down the best arena for them to work. Once going through the many checklists, grids and inventories, one should definitely have a clear picture. By the end of the longest chapter in the book, the reader will have developed their one sheet of paper which will be able to identify: major field of interest, people preferred to work with, what they can do, favorite working conditions, level of responsibility, places to live, and mission in life. This chapter has many self-inventories that can be very useful in the process. Advisors considering moving into administration may find these tools helpful to determine if the move is a good one. As an advisor or career counselor helping students, this could be a valuable tool to guide those students who are questioning their choice of career or those who need further validation of the career that is right for them.

Bolles wraps up the book nicely by delving into how to handle any deficiencies the job seeker may have, how to change careers, and last but not least, how to start a business. Each chapter is brief (compared to the in-depth, self analysis of Chapter Seven), but provides an opportunity to do a little more soul searching and providing great advice on handling each situation.

Overall, this book is an excellent resource for advisors and career counselors who assist students in landing their first job. It is an easy read with many takeaways that can be applied to whatever level of job search, but can be particularly useful for those just starting out.

What Color is Your Parachute? (2014).  Book by Richard N. Bolles. Review by Amy Wilkens. New York, NY: Crown Publishing. 353 pp., $29.99 (Hardback). ISBN 978-1-60774-556-3

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