Career survival: Two books, two tactics for job hunters

One publisher has released two books to help you if you have been laid off, downsized or otherwise find yourself looking for gainful employment in these economically challenged times. You might take some advice from each.

“The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide” (Ten Speed Press, $9.99) is slim, 5 inches by 8 inches, and contains 112 pages. But there is nothing small about the book’s job-hunting tips — probably because author Richard Bolles has been writing about the job marketplace for more than 35 years and is best known for his “What Color is Your Parachute?” series of job-hunting books.

So, why another book now? Because there were more than five job hunters for every job opening in April, according to a recent U.S. Labor Department report. That’s up from two people competing for each job listing in December 2007.

The optimistic Bolles reminds readers, however, that the statistics also show that people are finding jobs every day. His advice: Focus. Be laser-focused. Be able to describe in detail exactly what you have to offer and what kind of work you are looking for.

Bolles provides specifics about where to look for jobs, the best and worst ways to look for jobs and how to market yourself. One of the most useful parts of the book is titled “Do I Need a Résumé?” This chapter discusses “old” versus “new” résumés in the electronic marketplace.

Of course, one of the alternatives that Bolles offers is the advice to “work for yourself.”

Becoming the boss of your own destiny is the theme of Ernie Zelinski’s “Career Success Without a Real Job” (Ten Speed Press, $16.95). He should know. Twenty-five years ago, the author was fired from his engineering job. (He says the reason was because he took too much vacation time).

“Ordinary career success is a real good job, but real career success is a real good life,” Zelinski writes.

While Zelinski relates his own story, his 240 pages also include many stories of people who have willingly (or unwillingly) left the corporate world and who have attained extraordinary success. He includes many lists, such as “Top-Ten Ways to Make Money on the Internet.” And the book is dotted with highlighted quotes, providing such inspiration as “All the things I love is what my business is about” (Martha Stewart).

One chapter even outlines a work model for people who are “too prosperous” to “do” mornings and who want to make money while they sleep. (Hint: Internet businesses work for you 24 hours a day.)

Zelinski writes that, as he looks back, he views his pink slip as a “rose-colored ticket to freedom.” He says you can, too.