22 February 2013


Well, I read it, I might as well review it.

MAKE THE RIGHT CAREER MOVE is a career strategy book starting with a holistic, open-ended approach to job hunting and moving into the more nuts-and-bolts details like résumé writing and interview preparation. Almost every job hunting book out there warns you against spraying the world with applications; this one's reasoning for that is that you want to target the jobs you really want, saving you time and awkwardness. (For that reason I would possibly not recommend this book to your friends who have been out of work for a while. They would benefit from it but it's difficult to get into that "perfect job" mindset in some circumstances.)

Canter's method for finding that right job consists of filling out some worksheets to brainstorm what you actually like to do (in work and outside) and breaking down the obstacles you feel are there when you resist looking for jobs. (To take an example nothing like my life, a person who believes she's too old to be a CEO will avoid pursuing opportunities at that grade, believing that she is best suited to make lateral moves. That helps her target hers search but leads to professional disappointment.) I've made this sound very flaky, but the examples were concrete enough that I actually wanted to do them rather than just rolling my eyes. After you complete that pre-work, you will go into your search more confidently and find what you want much more easily.

My dad recommended this book to me based on his own experience switching careers 3 years ago. He and I have little in common professionally but we probably sit at opposite ends of the spectrum from where this book's target audience is. Most of the examples described midcareer professionals (15-20 years), which didn't exactly apply to my situation (and was closer to his, but not quite). On the other hand most of them were still fairly analogous to what I'm facing, with the exception of the material about law firms. It's a weird world in there! That said, recent college graduates and those with a very linear career path might be frustrated with its more freewheeling approach;

Since I was borrowing it I took copious notes on MAKE THE RIGHT CAREER MOVE and I'm working through its worksheets as I search for jobs. I didn't, as Canter recommends, stop my search until I had completed all of it, but working in parallel is working out for me. (Shameless plug: want to be connections on Linkedin? I promise not to spam you.) Because I read this book on the Kindle, I didn't have a good view of the cover design featuring a woman plummeting to earth. I consider this in poor taste and having little to do with either the content of the book or the state of mind evoked by being in such a position (perhaps a person hiding under a bed clutching an application for unemployment would be more appropriate, or a bedraggled young professional buying a one-way ticket to Argentina). There's some free consulting for you guys at Wiley.


Peter Knox said...

Hey now, this isn't our book. :) But glad to see you reading from the career shelf. Can't help but think these sort of books are better in print, for notes purposes.

Ellen said...

It's always nice to be able to annotate, but I've checked similar books out of the library before without issue. (Granted, some of them had someone else's notes in the margins, so people will always find their own way to circumvent.)

I'm pretty sure it is one of yours, though...