employment books

Andy and Bill suggested a few books in their “getting a great job” talk, and I picked up two of them last week: “The Brand You 50” and “Ask the Headhunter.” They’re full of good advice, but I wouldn’t really suggest either of them, especially if you can get your hands on the slides from the talk or, better, can witness the talk itself. It condenses all of the useful information in the books (and more) into one sitting.

Ask the Headhunter is basically a book on how to interview well, and is rooted in these basics: you should not need to master “interview skills” to impress HR; your interview is your opportunity to show your future boss that you can do the job he wants done. The other 199 pages of the book are just supporting material and tips on how to do that. It’s a great idea, but twenty pages would have sufficed.

The Brand You entreats the reader to think of himself as a freelancer whose skills are a product that any employer should know about and desire. In other words, “You are a brand!” This idea plays well with Ask the Headhunter’s, but I have a hard time reading it. For one thing, the author is really excited about everything and does horrible things to convey his excitement. His prose is full of bold print, variable-size fonts, too many exclamation points, and lots of interjections. Maybe some people love this kind of writing, but I’m not them.

The short version of this post, anyway, is this: Andy and Bill read these books so you don’t have to. Benefit from that work.

Written on August 28, 2004
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