When Richard Nelson Bolles first published “What Color Is Your Parachute?” in 1970, it was one of the first job-hunting guides to hit shelves. Today, though a tsunami of career-related texts have saturated the market, it’s still considered one of the best.
The new and improved 2017 edition (out now) is updated for a digital age — Google! LinkedIn! Those questionable Tweets! — so we combed through it for the the latest gems.
Here's how to use the internet to your advantage in the job-search:
1. Make LinkedIn your best friend
As “the Swiss Army knife” of job sites, users should take full advantage of all LinkedIn’s myriad functions. For one thing, it allows potential employers to quickly glean info about your background. This means that candidates with clean, updated profiles — that’s you, we hope — have an edge. Use the site’s ample space to tell a story about major job achievements, and highlight what gives you a competitive advantage in your field. Oh, and it goes without saying that if you’re on the job prowl, you should already have a LinkedIn profile.
2. Thanks to the Internet, choosing and changing careers is easier than ever
Serious about a career change? There are tests to assess your skills, virtual career coaches and plenty of research to help you decide on a different path — all online, and all for free. If you’re on the fence about a career change, then take the book’s classic flower exercise. It requires old-fashioned pen and paper — but the content is also updated for a digital age.
3. Learn as much as you can about a place before you agree to work there
You can’t really know what it’s like to work somewhere until you’re on the payroll, but you can sleuth websites devoted to culling feedback about the inner workings of companies and organizations from current and former employees. With over 358,000 reviews, the most comprehensive site out there is Glassdoor, but Take This Job Or Shove It and Career Bliss are also good sources.
4. Self-Googling isn't just for narcissists
Prospective employers will Google you, so think of the search engine as your new résumé. Google yourself, then scrub or edit any questionable online detritus (you can Google directions on how to do that). This includes the obvious (evidence of racism, prejudice or otherwise problematic opinions) and the careless (bad grammar on your Facebook or LinkedIn profile, for instance). Also, don’t forget it works both ways. Employers might give you the gig if they like what a Google search unearths.
5. Research typical salaries for your chosen profession online so you know what to ask for
The first rule of salary negotiations is never discuss salary negotiations. Well, not really — just don’t be the first throw out a dollar amount. Your job is to do rigorous research on what others in your field and position take home, and to provide a range to potential employers. (If an employer offers $18/hour, and you suggest $30, that’s your range). Not sure how high to aim? Check out the stats on Salary.com and the BLS website, for starters.