It’s Your Career — Take Control!

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It’s Your Career — Take Control!

by Catherine B. Beck

How to Find and Land Your Next Job

For those who feel like they are going nowhere in a dead-end job, career consultant and management coach Catherine B. Beck offers proven techniques for career enhancement and making the most of new opportunities. In It’s Your Career — Take Control!, she presents a complete workshop that takes readers through the most daunting elements of the job search, including: self-assessment, writing a successful résumé, job market research, interviewing, negotiating a compensation package, and keeping a new job.

Instead of completely revising all that is known about résumés and job searches, Beck offers practical and realistic tips for enhancing a classic job search, from beginning to end. She explains that sometimes thinking outside of the box when it comes to conducting a job search is often what keeps people outside of a job. Although she does offer many creative ways for people to approach a job search, she suggests getting to know your audience before trying an approach that is too unexpected.

Beck begins by explaining a few essentials that job seekers should remember. First, she writes, now that the unwritten “loyalty contract” between employer and employee has been broken too many times to count, the idea of a lifelong job no longer applies. Also, she explains, an employee must not take the decisions of his or her company personally.

Next, she writes that those who have determined that they are ready to change jobs should first learn how family and friends feel about a new job search. She explains that it is best to address the fears that family members and friends have about the uncertainty of a big move as their reservations show up. Those who steer job seekers into negative conversations, she advises, are probably best avoided.

Be Realistic and Flexible

Beck writes that job seekers can start taking control by setting a general timetable of when they want to have each component of the search process completed. She suggests that they should try to be realistic, and be flexible enough to change the timetable if things move faster or slower than expected. If you are employed while you are seeking a new job, she writes that you should look for creative ways to fit the different pieces of the search process into your schedule. But, she warns, don’t fill every evening and weekend with your search because you might burn out or give up too soon. If you are unemployed while you are searching for a new job, she writes that four to six hours a day, four or five days a week should be enough to keep you progressing forward without burning you out.

Beck suggests that job seekers should set up a work area or home office that they can dedicate to their project. She writes that their goal should be to find a place with a sense of privacy. She also explains that a computer is critical to most job searches, and access to a fax machine is a plus. To help job seekers organize their time, Beck offers a Search Timetable Form that can be used to pencil-in dates when each part of the job search should be completed.

Among the items that Beck writes should also be kept properly organized are:

• A self assessment.

• Copies of a résumé and cover letters.

• A target list of companies.

• Lists of network contacts, recruiters or employment agencies.

• Answers prepared for common interview questions.

• A list of benefits received from a current or previous employer, to evaluate a job offer.

Enjoyment and Fulfillment

The next section of It’s Your Career — Take Control! explains the steps that should be taken when completing a self assessment and determining what work opportunities should be pursued based on what the job seeker enjoys and finds fulfilling. By providing many worksheets that require some soul-searching to complete, Beck helps job seekers compare their skills and experience with their personality traits to determine the best direction to take. She also provides an extended list of Web sites and resources that can make a job search easier.

The rest of Beck’s book focuses on the psychology of the résumé, lining up references, researching industries, networking and developing contacts, and preparing for interviews. After offering a variety of ways to find opportunities, write cover letters, and answer questions from potential employers, Beck describes the details of negotiating the perfect deal that will lead to a satisfying new job, and how the chances for success in it can be increased. ~

Why We Like This Book

Like a personal adviser who is full of great advice and positive encouragement , It’s Your Career — Take Control! offers a complete view of the job search process while presenting numerous ways that each step can be successfully accomplished. Beck’s down-to-earth style and comprehensive advice present useful strategies that can make this often difficult process less daunting and more accessible for anyone at any stage in the race for employment.

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