Review: Jobs That Don’t Suck (career books, part 2)

January 25, 2008

Yesterday I mentioned The Girl’s Guide to Kicking Your Career Into Gear. I mentioned that though I can’t vouch for the book, I can totally vouch for the authors.
Here’s the opposite situation: a book that will change your life, though I don’t think I like the author very much. Jobs That Don’t Suck is the only career book that has ever done anything useful for me; it’s geared toward people just finishing college who want to move into a creative field. Monster.com and Yahoo! Business and all that are, of course, aimed at MBAs and salespersons and the like—surprise, those people have more money and are thus more attractive to advertisers. (You would not believe how long it took me to figure that out—go naiveté!)

But really. If you are interested in writing or journalism or radio or fashion design or any of these competitive fields, you need this book. There’s an entire chapter dedicated to unconventional cover letters, one of which, when I snagged the format, landed me a job—the person who interviewed me actually said she “loved” my cover letter. There’s chapters about resumes that go way beyond the usual schlock. There is a chapter about calling receptionists after you’ve submitted a resume—that gives you a script. I hate how other career books assume you know what to say. Many people, especially recent grads, have no clue. I sure didn’t. I thought I did, but I was wrong.

There are a few caveats with Jobs That Don’t Suck. First, there is a laughable chapter about the Internet. (The book came out in 1998 and could use an update.) Skip it. Rip the pages out if you want—they are that useless. Second, the author, Charlie Drozdyk, tries to write in a “hip” style that may have been cool 10 years ago, but takes a little getting used to. But he knows his stuff.

Also, I don’t really like Charlie Drozdyk as a person, at least from what I gleaned from his book. He advocates lying on your resume, for one thing. He suggests working 10-hour days, every day, with no end in sight. (Working late when you’re getting started and you want to make a good impression? Great. Working late every day of your life, even when you’ve gotten that promotion you wanted and you have an assistant who works late for you? Not so great.) And the lying on the resume thing really irks me. If you’re good, you shouldn’t need to lie.

Despite its flaws, I’d give this book a high rating—an 8.5 out of 10, if I did that sort of thing. Anyone in the job market oughta pick this one up.

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