About three months ago, in May, I decided that I should be looking out for job. Not any job, a job that I want to work in and the industry that I am passionate about.
I took books out from the library that are related to networking and career management.
Since 2008, after graduating from business school I have never stopped looking for jobs. Even when I landed a job in 2009, I was looking for better opportunities. Even now, I am still looking.
What this means is two things:
- You never stop proactively managing your career.
- I personally hate a big room networking event. I am the typical introvert who wants to stand in a corner next to my favourite dessert or snack bar and munch away. I don’t like networking in public, so it is quite a relief that the trend was moving towards online networking! I have tried out more than hundred ways in job hunting, job applications and interviewing. To date, I probably attended 50 to 60 job interviews since 2008. So a networking and career management books that I selected must be really good and insightful for me to find anything useful in it.
There comes the beauty of libraries.
Because no one book could provide you with all the answers and insights, I dip in and out of books to see if I learn anything new. This is my take on the book loans and I will start with the least helpful to the most helpful networking books.
Two Degrees of Separation – creating truly effective network of contacts by Sonia Fernandez, Marshall Cavendish in 2008.
The format of this book wasn’t user friendly. One has to plough through long paragraphs to find nuggets of good advice. There was a lot of name dropping but one name dropping I didn’t mind was the introduction to the various social networking sites and how they work.
Brilliant Networking by Steven D’Souza, Prentice Hall, 2011
In the UK, the Prentice Hall Brilliant self-development books grace many bookshelves in the High Street bookstores. Unfortunately, I find them lack of depth and all advice tends to be elementary. The book is good for beginners who wanted to know where to start with networking.
Successful Networking – How to build new networks for career and company progression by Frances Kay, Kogan Page 2010
This book is similar to Two Degrees of Separation i.e. long paragraphs, the only attractive feature is its “Key Point” feature.
Confident Networking for Career Success by Gael Lindenfield and Stuart Lindenfield, Piatkus Books 2010
This is a simple down-to-earth guide on networking. I find it insightful, with lots of practical advice. I think this is a good beginner’s networking book. Not too much, not too little.
Network Your Way to Success – The Secrets of Successful Business Relationships by John Timperley. Piatkus Books 2010
Publisher Piatkus Books scores again on this one. I thought this book is fabulous. The message is genuine, not trite. The layout is clean and Tips on “Try This” and there are plenty of case studies and networking “in practice” examples. A book that will take you from an amateur to an expert networker.
I only found three career management books that caught my eye (or what is left in the library):
Brilliant job hunter’s manual – Your complete guide to getting the job you want by Angela Fagan, Prentice Hall 2003
I find this Brilliant guide, as usual, lacklustre. Advices were elementary and the only part I found most useful was Offer methods and Preparation for resignation. There is this particular interesting point of “Hedging your bets” whereby some people choose to hedge their bets by accepting one job offer while waiting on the outcome of another. The author recommends against it as it gives a wrong impression on ethics and professional conduct but in reality it is easier said than done and I suspect many job hunters caught in similar position would do the same, hedge their bets. Job hunting is hard enough, it is only natural that job hunters want to hedge their bets when they get the first offer and if other offers are still coming through. I do agree with the author though that accepting a counteroffer is tantamount to career suicide. I have worked 6 jobs including the current one and I have 4 counter offers when I put in my resignation letters. I have never look back and accepted them, despite an increase in salary amount.
The author said a counteroffer is very rarely made for the good of the employee. Whenever an employee resigns, bosses may try to persuade you to stay until they can regain control of the situation. You may be flattered but don’t accept a counteroffer! Conditions may be tolerable in the short term but it doesn’t really do you any good in the longer term.
How to Get A Job in a Recession by Harry Freedman, Infinite ideas 2009
This sounds like one of those catchy titles that lure people to buy the book because many are caught in the situation of trying to get a job in a recession. But the reality is the book doesn’t offer much insights except the author has stuck a section in about networking to get the job that is yet to be advertised to the public. These pictures below though do tell thousand words about the ways you can create or apply for job opportunities:
An interaction of proactive versus the reactive and direct vs indirect approach.
and the untapped and unadvertised job market
Get the Career You Want by Karen Mannering, Hodder Education 2011
I very rarely come across a book that teaches you to manage your career while you are employed in the job. This little gem of book teaches you to break that static mindset and look for growth opportunities in the current job. The last section also lay out “Toolkit” containing 25 activities to exercise getting your mojo back at work.
I think I want to get a copy of this and keep working at it.
There you go, a rundown of the networking and career management books. More for my own notes and also for anyone who wants to find a good book in the related subject. The good news is in the UK, the job market has picked up and unemployment rate has fallen a little. Things seem to be looking up!
Hope you are enjoying your summer so far.