Review – Careers for Dummies
Careers for Dummies is a good book.
But maybe I should elaborate on this. There is no shortage in how-to-find-a-job books. Some aim to give well-rounded general career advice, other focus on details like the perfect CV or the perfect job interview. In Germany, the benchmark is set by proliferous author duo Hesse/Schrader who alone have over 90 books for job seekers with their name on it, usually with regularly published revised versions. But Careers for Dummies is different.
Author Marty Nemko asserts that the easiest way into a new job is being the kind of person that employers want to hire. Careers for Dummies gives detailed instructions how to get yourself together, how to enter a field without the necessary qualifications, and how to apply for positions that are not even advertised, by becoming extremely employable.
There are two things I particularly like about the book. It tries to also answer the question most get-a-job books miss, that is “what jobs are there?”. Careers for Dummies has a catalogue of often overlooked jobs, that obviously isn’t complete, but is very helpful to circle certain fields or types of careers you might enjoy. It also encourages taking alternative paths to your preferred job, including self-study to get necessary certifications, or looking for opportunities to sneak in by reapplying your existing trainings. The second thing I particularly like about Careers for Dummies is how hands-on it is. The book has detailed action plans how to build up and tap into a network, how to research jobs and how to contact decision makers.
Careers for Dummies is a great resource for everyone unhappy with their current work situation. It offers advice on how to land your first job, how to switch careers as a seasoned professional, and even (often overlooked) how to change your career’s direction while staying on the same job. The tone of the book is slightly tough but friendly, often demanding action or self reflection. This language resonates very well with me and probably does with most people, and is very motivating.
I did not agree with everything in Careers for Dummies, of course. I think Nemko could have written more about upcoming changes due to digitalization and demographic changes. He is too quick with recommendations for self-diagnosing and self-medicating your mental issues that prevent you from landing a job. And he makes it very clear that regarding desirability of jobs it’s government > corporate > startup > self-employment in his opinion. While I can fully understand why you would prefer a secure position, excessive risk aversion can also hold you back. Stay open for everything.
I should talk about the applicability of Careers for Dummies. In Germany, we don’t have an equivalent to the Major/Minor system. There are different stages of schooling, and the higher ones are optional, but everyone who stays will get equal education with very little specialisation, right up to the general university admission. Many jobs that require a degree in the US are considered non-academical in Germany. This includes financial advisory, some healthcare professions and many technician or engineer jobs. Also, a degree in Germany is considerably cheaper since public universities only charge a low administration fee (usually below 300€ per semester), making it less of an investment.
So obviously career path descriptions, links and addresses or tips for student loan negotiations given in Careers for Dummies won’t fully apply to me or my German readers. But the rest does, and I consider the rest to be more important. So I can definitely see myself getting this book out again to recap some things and get some motivation, if I ever want to change my career.
It took me four months to read and review this book, not because it’s boring or confusing, but because it is big and thorough. OK, and I was quite busy doing other stuff… Nevertheless, it feels satisfying to finally state my conclusion. Careers for Dummies is a good book. Probably buy it if looking for a job.
- Get that job!
- Be open-minded about possible career paths.
Marty Nemko is an American career coach and writes books and articles on that topic. He can be found on his website and on social media.
copy provided by author
John Wiley & Sons, For Dummies; 1 edition (June 19, 2018)
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John Wiley & Sons, inc.
May 18, 2018