What Color Is Your Parachute?

Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success

About the Book

The groundbreaking, indispensable guide to rewarding work and a fulfilling life—more than ten million copies sold!

For more than fifty years, What Color Is Your Parachute? has transformed the way people think about job hunting. Whether searching for that first position, recovering from a layoff, or dreaming of a career change, What Color Is Your Parachute? has shown millions of readers how to network effectively, compose impressive resumes and cover letters, interview with confidence, and negotiate the best possible salary—while discovering how to make their livelihood part of authentic living.
More than a job-hunting book, Richard N. Bolles’s timeless wisdom and famed self-assessment exercise clarifies seven key dimensions, so you can uncover your greatest passions, most valued traits, and transferable skills to design a life that enables you to flourish.
With the job market in constant flux, people everywhere have found that understanding who they are—what they care about, where and how they do their best work, and the most effective way to express their abilities—is the best compass to navigating an ever-changing and challenging professional landscape. It is also how their work can become part of a life filled with passion and purpose.
Using the trailblazing advice and enduring guidance of What Color Is Your Parachute?, job-hunters and career changers will have the tools to discover—and land—the work, and life, most meaningful to them.
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What Color Is Your Parachute?

Chapter 1

Welcome to the Ever-Changing World of the Job Search

If you are trying to better understand yourself, and what you have to offer to the world, this book is for you.
If the recent turmoil created by the pandemic has impacted your work situation, this book is for you.
If you are out of work and want practical help, this book is for you.
If you are trying to understand how the world, and particularly the world of work, really works these days, this book is for you.
If you’ve been out of work a long time, and you think you’re now permanently unemployable, this book is for you.
If you’re on the edge of poverty these days, this book is for you.
If you’re dealing with a disability, this book is for you.
If you’re trying to figure out a new career or your first career, this book is for you.
If you are trying to figure out what you want to do next with your life, this book is for you.
If you’re trying to find a better work-life balance, this book is for you.
If you’re feeling stuck and need a way out, this book is for you.
If you’re just graduating from college and have to live with your parents because you can’t find any work, this book is for you.
If you’re trying to start your own business, this book is for you.
If you’re a returning veteran, this book is for you.
If you’re facing retirement and want to know what to do to support yourself, this book is for you.

A Quick Crash Course on the World of Work

Job markets are fickle. At the end of 2019, employment numbers had been trending upward for almost a decade, the longest recovery and expansion since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track in 1939. Then, in March of 2020, the pandemic changed everything. In one month, the US lost over 20 million jobs. It was widely feared that the nation would slide into a deep recession. Instead, despite gloomy predictions, the job market started recovering almost immediately. By March of 2022 there were some 11.5 million job openings.

Many jobs and industries had already been changing rapidly, and the pandemic brought more changes, notably “The Great Resignation,” in which almost a fifth of the American workforce quit their jobs. In some industries, it seems like employers are practically begging people to apply, and offering signing bonuses and referral fees. In the face of all this, it can be frustrating to read news articles about record numbers of job openings when nobody is responding to your applications.

The problem may not be with your skills or your resume (though we’ll get to those later), but with the way you’re approaching employers. The good news is that the basic process of getting a job hasn’t changed that much, once you fine-tune your search methods and presentation. This is your search, and you get to control how it goes. Not entirely, of course, but more than you might think. That’s what this book is all about. Before we get to the hands-on work, here are some things to keep in mind. 

There Really Are Good Jobs Out There

You may see the low unemployment numbers as encouraging, or you may feel overwhelmed and helpless, thinking If employers are so desperate to hire, why can’t I even get a callback for an interview? Even if you’ve struck out again and again, don’t be discouraged. The opportunities are out there; you just need a better strategy for finding the right ones. That’s the subject of the rest of this book.

About the Author

Richard N. Bolles
Richard N. Bolles has led the career development field for more than 40 years. A member of Mensa and the Society for Human Resource Management, he has been the keynote speaker at hundreds of conferences. Bolles was trained in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds a bachelor’s degree cum laude in physics from Harvard University, a master’s in sacred theology from General Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in New York City, and three honorary doctorates. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Marci. Visit jobhuntersbible.com. More by Richard N. Bolles
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