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Book Review: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2019 – A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

You’ve drawn up the perfect resume, you’ve sent it out anywhere and everywhere, and you’ve got nothing in return. If this sounds like your current situation, then this book review will help you get yourself back on track and jumpstart your job search like never before.

The definitive primer every 21st-century job-seeker needs.


  • Are unemployed and need practical advice
  • Want to change careers or start your own business
  • Don’t know what to study in college

The job search. Probably, it’s not your first rodeo; that dreaded and exciting process – finding a job – is something you’ve done before. But perhaps a few things have changed since the last time you were an applicant. Or perhaps this is your first rodeo. In either case, knowing how to navigate today’s post-social media, post-recession landscape is essential to finding a successful match.

Because that’s what it is, after all – a match. It’s not just a lottery, where you buy a ticket and hope for the best. You, like any potential employer, have a lot of control over what information you share, how you communicate that information and what your expectations are. So take a deep breath, brush up on your interview and negotiating skills – and enjoy the ride!

In this summary of What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles, you’ll learn

  • why being a good listener is just as important as being a good talker;
  • why it might be wise to take down those spring break photos; and
  • how online transparency can work to your advantage.


In the wake of the 2008 recession, America’s worst since the Great Depression of 1929, the job market changed significantly. Yet, since then, we’ve continued to look for employment the old-fashioned way, throwing our dossiers into the ether and hoping for the best.

This vicious cycle has put us in a Catch-22. The middle ground has all but vanished. Or so it seems, especially when you’re between jobs or determined to change careers. This summary will help you break it all down and get you where you need to be.

Book Review: What Color Is Your Parachute? 2019 - A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

A Whole New World

If finding a job seems more daunting than ever, it’s only because we’ve chosen to interpret it that way. The first thing we must do to land the ideal job is be honest with ourselves about the truth of our predicament and change accordingly:

  1. The job market may have changed, but job-hunters have not. It seems all we can do these days is rely on resumes, agencies, and ads to magically connect us to the right job. But employers change their recruitment tactics depending on the tenor of the times. When things are on the up and up, employers are more willing to look at resumes to fill jobs. But when the economy tanks and prospective employees are flooding their job channels, they stop reading resumes altogether. This leads us to think all the good jobs are gone.
  2. Job-hunting takes longer than it used to. Between 1994 and 2008, the average job search took five weeks. Now, up to 30% of job hopefuls spend a year or more. News flash: it’s not them, it’s you. More specifically, it’s your search method.
  3. Jobs are shorter. Full-time jobs are no longer the norm, replaced increasingly by gig economies and other short-term solutions. By 2020, freelancers are projected to make up 40% of the workforce in the United States alone.
  4. The nature of work is changing. As things become more integrated with technology, we’re already starting to see more reliance on machines. If we don’t learn new skills to catch up, many of us will be doomed.
  5. Job-hunting is repetitive. These days, it seems the moment we find a new job, we’re already looking for the next one.
  6. Job-hunting now takes place primarily online. Without knowing how to properly navigate online job-search engines, you’ll feel utterly lost.
  7. Job-hunters and employers use the same words differently. If an employer says you “don’t possess the skills” they need, it means you’re not experienced enough.
  8. Employers hunt for you opposite to how you hunt for them. Employers typically try to resolve hiring issues internally, through connections, or via trusted hiring agencies. Reading resumes is a last resort. This is because employers value risk in the same way we value time. As job-searchers, however, we start with a resume before working our way up to agencies, connections, and beyond.

In light of these realities, getting a job has less to do with ability and more with your knowledge of how to get hired. It’s a lot like standardized testing: An SAT measures your ability to take a standardized test more than it measures your intelligence.


Trends in technology and employer needs have dramatically altered the methods we use to find jobs, but our practical reasons for seeking out a job remain the same. When looking for a new job, the fundamental question you need to ask yourself is whether you truly like the job you’re applying for. This may not be obvious until an interview.

It’s important to remember that jobs are always out there. The media conditions us into thinking that our economy is beset by an unprecedented shortage of jobs. In February 2018 alone, there were over 10 million jobs available, less than half of which were filled.

Looking For a Job

Looking for a job takes two forms: the way we’ve always done it and the way we should. If you’ve tried the traditional way of sending out resumes and playing the waiting game, only to come up short, then the Parachute Approach is just what the doctor ordered.

The Parachute Approach begins with a self-inventory, followed by a narrowing down of potential jobs to only those organizations that match your personality and worldview. You then approach those organizations directly, even — if not especially — if they don’t have any jobs posted.

To be sure, this will be a time-consuming and challenging process, but the payoff will be proportional to your efforts. Whereas the traditional approach puts you in a desperate position of begging for a job, the Parachute Approach places you in your dream job as someone that organization would be foolish not to hire. To get there, you need to know exactly what you do best and who would most benefit from your skills.

One low-stakes way to get the ball rolling is to do informational interviews, giving you an insider’s view of places you might want to work. LinkedIn can be another powerful tool, helping you to find a “bridge-person,” or mutual contact, to give you an “in.”

Some of the best and worst ways to find a job can be broken down in the following way:

  • Looking for jobs online works only 4% of the time.
  • Sending your resume to potential employers works only 7% of the time.
  • Answering ads in the newspaper fares better at 24%.
  • Getting help from employment agencies a little more at 28%.
  • Answering professional or trade journal ads drops us down to 7% success.
  • Job-search support groups work 10% of the time.
  • Trying a state or federal employment office works 14% of the time.
  • Pick-up spots (for those in unions) work 22% of the time.
  • Asking around for leads works 33% of the time.
  • Approaching an employer in person works 47% of the time.
  • Using the Yellow Pages works 65% of the time.

We’ve probably all complained that job-hunting is a full-time job in and of itself. But it should be! If it’s not working, then you’re not putting enough time into it.


Understanding who you are and what you’re capable of is the very foundation of your new job search and boasts an average success rate of 86%. Not only will you be able to describe yourself in resumes and interviews, but you’ll also put more energy and time into job-hunting when in pursuit of a clearly defined goal.

You won’t be waiting around for jobs, but seeking out only those that best suit your needs. You’ll also stand out among other applicants for knowing exactly what you want, what they want, and how you can help them. A self-inventory will even guide you toward a career change, if that’s your aim. You must therefore treat unemployment as an opportunity for reflection, as it will give you time for selfassessment that you might not otherwise have.

You’re not just hunting for a job; you’re hunting for a life. To make a selfinventory, start by forgetting about everything you’ve done before and focus on who you are now. It all starts with the following steps:

  • Write out some “I am a person who…” statements. These can be as simple as “I am a person who wants security” or as complex as “I am a person who wants to be remembered as someone who changed the lives of everyone he encountered.”
  • Fit everything on one piece of paper.
  • Have some extra pieces of paper to use as worksheets.
  • Draw a picture to help visualize.
  • Use a grid or other prioritizing arrangement to separate the most important life goals from the less important ones.

Once you’ve done this, you can then funnel this information into a petal diagram, which typically takes the form of six circles surrounding a seventh in the middle. The central circle will be labeled “Purpose in Life,” while the ones surrounding it will be “People,” “Working Conditions,” “Transferable Skills,” “Knowledges,” “Salary,” and “Place.” You fill in each of these petals by answering what kind of person you are in relation to each category.

  1. For the People category, ask yourself who you would like to work with and for.
  2. For the Working Conditions, detail your ideal working conditions.
  3. In Transferable Skills, write out what you can and love to do. Use verbs, not adjectives.
  4. Knowledges is for your favorite interests.
  5. For Salary, indicate your preferred responsibilities and commensurate wages.
  6. In Place, write out your preferred place(s) to live.
  7. End with Purpose in Life, in which you tie it all together with the bigger picture in mind.

In all of these, be detailed, specific, and concrete. For example, if describing your ideal working conditions, don’t just say “Nice boss, nice co-workers.” Say something like “Plenty of natural sunlight, no cubicles, window view, full lunch hour.” Once you have a list of all these things on paper, you’ll begin to understand exactly what it is you’re looking for in a career and in life.

Where To Work

With your flower complete, it might just all come into focus. For those who need an extra push, your next step is to figure out which jobs the flower points to, feel out some of those jobs, locate organizations with those jobs, narrow that list down to specific places, and research those places as thoroughly as possible before approaching any of them.

The goal is to pare your list to something manageable.

Let’s say, for example, you have a passion for car repair. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is your life’s calling. So far, so good. Peeling away a layer, you know that you want to work in a place that hires car mechanics. This is, of course, still too broad a category, so keep peeling. Let’s say you like where you live and don’t want to move. Now, you want to work in a place that hires mechanics in your local area. Yet even this might be too large.

Taking another look at the Working Conditions petal of your Flower Diagram helps: You now want to work in a place that hires mechanics, is in your local area, and has 30 or fewer employees. Next, looking at your specialties clarifies further: You want to work in a place that hires mechanics, is in your local area, has 30 or fewer employees, and specializes in imports. This yields a viable list of five that you can research and seek out.

Google: Your New Resume

Google has become a far more realistic diagnostic of a potential employee’s fit than anything on a piece of paper. You must therefore err on the side of caution by assuming that every potential employer will Google you, as well.

Almost half the time, employers will make a hire based on something they liked about you on Google. The first step toward internet hygiene is to edit whatever is out there. Read it all and refine it, and delete anything that contradicts who you are. Make sure your profiles, wherever viewable by the public, are filled out completely and are up-to-date. Being up-to-date cannot be stressed enough.

Make sure you have a LinkedIn account as well. There’s no excuse to not have one. You can also expand your online presence by contributing to forums, starting a blog, tweeting, and posting videos. Whatever you do, make it genuine.

Interview Tips

Failure in the interview process is inevitable if you do the following things:

  • Only shoot high
  • Don’t research the company beforehand
  • Let HR interview you
  • Go beyond your allotted interview time
  • Talk only about what’s on your resume
  • Give no examples of your skills in action
  • Come across as desperate
  • Fail to send a thank-you note

Even if your interview doesn’t go well, that doesn’t mean the millions of other organizations out there aren’t waiting for you.

Everyone is an individual with preferences, and your job is to find someone whose preferences overlap comfortably with your own. If the fit isn’t there, you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. Smaller companies are more personable and easier to talk to, while that Fortune 500 you fantasize about might not even give you the time of day. Don’t aim high, aim for the bullseye.

Every “no” you encounter just gets you closer to that “yes” you seek. Employers are only looking to know why you’re there, what you can do for them, what kind of person you are, what distinguishes you, and whether they can afford you. For your part, you want to know what the job entails, what skills their top employees possess, whether these are the kind of people you want to work for and with, what’s unique about you, and whether you can convince them to hire you at your desired salary.

Should you be fortunate enough to land an interview, be sure to stick to time (this cannot be stressed enough), listen as much as you speak, don’t speak more than two minutes at a time, and realize that the employer might be even more anxious than you are (after all, they’re the ones tasked with the unenviable job of maximizing their potential with the right fit).

Moreover, you should be professional (that means never talking smack about your previous employers), presentable (which is to say, cleanly groomed, welldressed, and devoid of perfume or aftershave), and relaxed. At the end of what feels like a successful interview, it’s perfectly acceptable (and to your advantage!) to ask if you’re getting the job. If they’re not sure, ask when you can expect an answer, whether you can follow up if you don’t hear back by that time, and, if they firmly tell you they won’t be hiring you, whether they know of anyone who might want someone with your particular skills and experience.

Salary Negotiations

Even if you get a job offer, the process isn’t over. At this point, you need to determine and negotiate your salary. When negotiating salary, there are six rules to follow:

  1. Don’t start the salary conversation until after the entire interview process is over and you have a firm offer.
  2. Your only purpose in negotiating a salary is to find out the maximum amount an employer is willing to pay you.
  3. Never be the one to throw out the first salary figure.
  4. Before your interview, make sure you’ve researched average salaries for your field and the particular organization to which you are applying.
  5. Find out the employer’s range, then estimate your own in relation to it.
  6. Properly close the negotiation.


When it comes to any “handicap” you might have, there are two types of employers: those who want you for what you’re able to do and those who wish you could do more. It’s important to remember that everyone on the job hunt is handicapped in some way. Even without a clinical or congenital disability, that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter employers with prejudices who make you feel inadequate.

In any case, perhaps the most damaging “handicap” of all is shyness. A proper balance of self-esteem and humility will get you far. Don’t be a narcissist, but do have faith in what you can do for them. There isn’t anything possibly wrong with you that would keep all employers from hiring you.

Changing Careers

There are plenty of ways to change careers, some of which include: looking online, taking assessment tests, making a flower diagram, and researching where the market is going. Further strategies include:

  • Try on any career that looks interesting, but make sure you talk to those in that line of work to get an insider perspective.
  • Keep your core self the same. Don’t change every little thing about your life.
  • Always start with yourself.
  • Find a job that engages your favorite skills, subjects, and working conditions.
  • Take the time necessary to consider it. Don’t rush.
  • Embrace mistakes as learning moments.
  • Make the process as fun as possible.

Starting Your Own Business

Even if you want to start your own business, the foundation is the same. Understand and assess yourself, then figure out how to create an environment and business model that activates your favorite everything. Read, write, get feedback, and build a rock-solid awareness of yourself. Only when you open yourself to the world will the world open itself to you.

These days, it can take much longer to find a job, especially a long-term, full-time job.

If you’ve been having a tough time finding the right job, don’t despair. The job market can be an unfriendly place, which is why it’s crucial to have great tools in your toolbox.

Today, we face an ongoing economic recession that has changed the way employers look for candidates.

During times of economic prosperity, it can be a challenge for employers to find the perfect employees; as a result, the employer has to adapt to the needs and preferences of the person seeking employment. This is when résumés will be thoroughly read and company websites will be regularly updated with job postings.

But 2017 is not such a time. Since the economic meltdown of 2008, it’s been rough times for job hunters. These days, employers are the ones in control; with a much larger pool of unemployed people to choose from, they care much less about the résumés and needs of prospective employees.

As a result, it generally takes much longer to land a new job.

Between 1994 and 2008, it would have only taken around five weeks for half of all unemployed people in the United States to find a job. Post-2008, it would take more than a year for just 22 to 33 percent of unemployed Americans to find a job.

Plus, with the struggling economy, employers are on the lookout for ways to cut costs. So jobs are generally short-term since businesses prefer to offer part-time and freelance positions.

These jobs are usually project-based, and they’re cheaper for employers, because they don’t have to cover health benefits or paid holidays.

According to a 2015 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69 percent of people aged 18 to 24 had been working at a job for less than a year, and 93 percent for less than five years.

And it wasn’t much better for people aged 40 to 48. Thirty-two percent had been working at their job for less than a year, and 69 percent for less than five years.

In the age of Google, a résumé isn’t the powerful tool it once was.

With so much information just a click away, everyone’s details are easily accessible.

It used to be that when someone was looking for a job they had complete control over how they presented themselves, especially when it came to their résumé.

There were all kinds of methods for tweaking a job history and picking and choosing what gets mentioned in order to make the best impression. And for the most part, the potential employer had few ways of challenging this information, unless they went out of their way to hire a private investigator.

Since that wasn’t a very practical option, the résumé remained a powerful tool for presenting yourself in the most flattering light possible.

But these days, you have to be much more careful since there’s a lot of online information that could contradict the image you’re trying to create.

So take a moment to do what any potential employer will do and use Google to search your name. You might see a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook profile, perhaps a blog and some pictures.

The point is, everything is a simple Google search away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the internet to your advantage.

But first of all, check to see whether there’s any information there that obviously contradicts what you’ve put on your résumé. For instance, do your graduation dates match up?

Now look for any red flags, like a photo of you at a party looking wildly intoxicated or an unsavory Twitter comment that could be construed as racist or sexist. Remove these as soon as possible.

Studies show that 91 percent of US employers will check a candidate’s social-media profiles and that nearly 70 percent have rejected people due to what they’ve found.

So take control and delete the unpleasant stuff – untag yourself from photos and manage your appearance so that it looks consistent and professional across all your social-media accounts.

Overwhelmed? Don’t panic. As we’ll see, there are plenty of remedies to help manage your online appearance.

Use keywords to optimize your online presence and make it more visible.

Much of the internet is based on keywords. After all, you have to type in something to start a Google search, and it’s the search engine’s job to find the best and most relevant results.

Now, you can use the power of keywords to control and improve the search results that appear when someone Googles your name or searches for someone with your specific skills.

So think about which keywords you want associated with your name and what kind of recruiters you want to attract.

You can even put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter and ask, “Which job titles and descriptions would I use to find the best candidates?” Naturally, these would be the keywords to associate with your name by adding them to your online profiles.

So make a list of the best words that come to mind, such as proactive, hard-working, friendly, honest, enthusiastic and efficient.

These words can then be added to your LinkedIn account and incorporated into your bio to describe both your professional and nonprofessional activities.

To make sure your accounts are noticed, you can also take steps to increase your visibility.

If you want to be seen as a specialist or expert in your field, start a blog about your particular subject to show off your knowledge and interest.

If you’re a graphic designer, start a blog that highlights interesting articles and interviews. This will show that you’re engaged with the field and on top of the latest developments. You could then add commentary and examples that provide insight into your own background.

Increasing your presence in LinkedIn groups is also a way to get noticed in your field.

Search for different graphic-designer groups on LinkedIn that you can join and make sure to occasionally check in, provide comments and share posts.

You can also use Twitter to share posts and comment on developments in your field, just be sure to use the relevant hashtags so that potential employers can find your activity.

Job-hunting hasn’t changed that much, and there are still plenty of opportunities out there.

Dating and job-hunting aren’t all that different from one another; they can both be boiled down to two questions: “Do you like me?” and “Do I like you?”

And despite the changes that have occurred over the past decades, job-hunting is essentially the same as it’s always been.

The process is still about bringing together two parties who want to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

For your part, it’s about making yourself likeable and attractive to the employer, which you can do by demonstrating that your skills, experience and personality are a perfect fit for the company and the position being offered.

But don’t forget, it’s also about finding out whether the employer is the right fit for you. So ask yourself, do they provide an appealing environment that will allow you to use your skills efficiently? And will you be able to develop your skills and talents in this environment?

When making your decision, remember that, even in today’s market, there are probably more opportunities than you realize.

The media has a habit of exaggerating the state of the job market and making it seem like there’s absolutely nothing available. As a result, you might feel overwhelmed and hopeless, but you really shouldn’t.

In reality, the situation is not completely out of your control. There is always something you can do to maximize your odds. You can change the wording and improve the language in your résumé and cover letter. You can research the job market and focus more intensively to uncover new areas that may also appeal to you.

Keep in mind that the odds are in your favor. According to the Job Openings and Labor Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every month there are 10 million job openings, a mere half of which are filled on a regular basis.

Next, we’ll take a look at what you can do to improve your chances of acing that job interview.

A good interview requires preparation, focus and a good portfolio.

To continue with the dating analogy: having a strong résumé and web presence is like taking care of the flirting stage. And we all know that flirting is just a prelude to what comes afterward – which, in the hunt for a job, is the interview stage.

Once again, there are steps you can take to improve your chances at this stage, and the first step is to prepare yourself with some good knowledge about the company’s culture.

Even if you’re the perfect candidate with the right skills, intelligence and experience, you don’t want to show up to a date wearing the wrong outfit, right? So make sure you know what you’re walking into by researching the company and finding out what culture and values they embrace.

You can do this by going to their website, checking their recent corporate guidelines and press releases, and finding out what’s been said about them in the media. You can also check business blogs and online publications such as Gizmodo and TechCrunch, which will tell you about any recent developments.

Whatever you do, don’t come across as arrogant and patronizing in your interview, which can sometimes happen when people talk too much and don’t come prepared with good questions.

It’s natural to feel nervous about promoting yourself in an interview. And nervous self-promotion, in addition to making you seem self-absorbed and unfocused, can lead to a lot of aimless rambling. So don’t forget to let others talk and to listen carefully to what they have to say.

The best interviewees are precise; they focus on the answers they provide. They’ll also ask questions about the company, such as, “What kind of people will I be working with?” This shows that you’re aware of different personalities and curious about how yours will fit in.

Now, if you want to go above and beyond expectations, you can bring some evidence that backs up your experience and skills.

This is standard practice for creative jobs, such as graphic designers, architects and artists, people who are expected to bring models and portfolios with them.

So think about what kind of portfolio you might be able to provide. It could even be an iPad that is loaded with some details and examples of successful projects you’ve worked on.

Successful negotiations also require preparation and advanced knowledge of your profession.

A salary negotiation is pretty much the same as haggling over a price, whether it’s at a car dealership or a flea market. But that doesn’t make it any less stressful.

So give yourself an advantage by getting the employer to deliver the first proposal.

You can do this by being patient and waiting until the interview process is winding down. When it sounds like they’re interested in hiring you, then it’s time to ask them to propose a salary. If there are multiple rounds of interviews, then this should be saved until the final round.

However, they know that making a counterproposal has it’s advantages, so they might beat you to it and ask you to propose a salary.

If this happens, you can try to turn the tables by saying something like, “Well, since you created this position, I would imagine you have a specific number in mind, right?”

Otherwise, you’ll need to come prepared with a good estimate by finding out how much people in similar positions are currently earning.

This is usually something you can Google, though there are also online platforms that compare salaries across industries, positions, geographies and ages, such as and

With enough information, you can identify the range that employers will be willing to pay. Then you can determine how low you’d be willing to go and how high you believe the company will go.

So if there’s an average range of $34,000 to $42,600, you might want to start off the negotiations with a number that falls somewhere between $42,000 to $50,000.

Now, you can improve your chances of landing within this range by telling them how your skills and expertise will both save and earn them money in the long run.

With these tips at your disposal, and some good insight into the hiring process, you’ll be on your way to being a well-prepared job hunter. So go forth and enter the job market with confidence. That perfect position is out there waiting for you!


In the end, your job search is a beginning: not only of a new career but also a new life. And so, even when you locate and land that dream job, never forget that keeping it is an ongoing process. You must commit to it fully and consistently to make it last. The following steps will help you get there:

  1. Create a self-inventory that outlines your life purpose and ideal working and living conditions.
  2. Determine your dream job.
  3. Clean up and update your internet presence.
  4. Practice and internalize solid interview techniques.
  5. Go after the jobs you want. Don’t wait for them to reveal themselves to you.

The foundation of all this is the self-inventory. Without it, the rest falls apart. Being true to yourself is the biggest investment you can make in your future, and will pay dividends far beyond the context of your employment, wherever it might lead you.

The key message in this book:

To improve your chances of landing the job you’re after, always prepare yourself as best you can by doing ample research before your interview. Keep in mind that there are actually a lot of jobs out there that need to be filled by a qualified professional such as yourself. So think of yourself as a great resource for your potential employer, and never think of yourself as being desperate.

Actionable advice:

Sometimes it’s easier to change a career in two steps.

If you’re after a career change, aim for a job that could help you transition there. Often, our dream job is a highly exclusive position that’s near impossible to get in the usual fashion. So think of a job that will get you in the door and working in the right field, or one that will bring you closer to the title you’re after. This is a strategic approach to actually getting that dream job.

About the author

Richard Bolles graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in physics before training at General Theological Seminary in New York City. While serving as an Episcopal clergyman, he became best known for his What Color is Your Parachute? job-hunting guide, which has become a standard of its kind and is updated yearly. Bolles died in 2017 at the ripe age of 90 years, by which time the book had stayed on The New York Times best-seller list for over ten years.

RICHARD N. BOLLES led the job-search field for more than 40 years. A member of Mensa and the Society for Human Resource Management, he served as the keynote speaker at hundreds of conferences. Bolles held a bachelor’s degree cum laude in physics from Harvard University, a master’s degree from General Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in New York City, and three honorary doctorates. Visit to learn more.


Job Hunting, Business Culture, Reference, Personal Development, Psychology, Management, How To, Leadership, Unfinished, Career, Employment, Job Resumes, Success Self-Help

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: It’s a whole New World for Job-Hunters
The length of the average job-hunt has increased dramatically. The length of the time the average job lasts has decreased dramatically. The way jobs are done is changing.

Chapter 2: There Are Over Ten Million Vacancies Available Each Month
There are always jobs out there.

Chapter 3: The Best and Worst Ways to Look for Jobs
There are different ways you can go about the job-hunt. Each has a different chance of success. The Traditional Approach begins with the job market. The Parachute Approach begins with yourself.

Chapter 4: Self-inventory, part 1
You have a twelve times better chance of finding work using this method than if you just sent out a resume. Not just work, but work you really want to do. If you are thinking about a career-change you will discover what new direction you want to pursue.

Chapter 5: Self-inventory, part 2
At the hearth of this book is the Flower Exercise: a self-inventory in which you examine seven ways of thinking about yourself, using the language of the workplace.

Chapter 6: You Get to Choose Where You Work
Find out what careers of work your Flower Diagram points to. Try on jobs before you decide which ones to pursue. Research places thoroughly and utilize contacts.

Chapter 7: Google Is You New Resume
There’s a new resume in town and it’s online. Remove anything that contradicts the impression you would like to make. Expand your positive professional presence.

Chapter 8: Sixteen Tips About Interviewing for a Job
What to keep in mind during hiring conversations.

Chapter 9: The Six Secrets of Salary Negotiation
How to get the best salary possible.

Chapter 10: How to Deal with Any Handicaps You Have
Being turned down for a job can lead to thinking there is something about you that caused it.

Chapter 11: The Five Ways to Choose/Change Careers
Think of “job title” as what you do and “field” as where you do it.

Chapter 12: How to Start Your Own Business
There is another choice if you don’t want to work for someone else.

The Orange Pages
Further resources to use in your journey, set in a different color for easy access.
Appendix A: Finding your mission in life
Appendix B: A guide to dealing with your feelings while out of work
Appendix C: A guide to choosing a career coach or counselor
Appendix D: Sampler list of coaches
The Final Word: Notes from the author for this edition
About the author


With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world’s most popular job-search book is updated for 2019, tailoring Richard Bolles’s long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today’s job-hunters and career-changers.

In today’s challenging job-market, the time-tested advice of What Color Is Your Parachute? is needed more than ever. Recent grads facing a tough economic landscape, workers laid off mid-career, and people searching for an inspiring work-life change all look to career guru Richard N. Bolles for support, encouragement, and advice on which job-hunt strategies work—and which don’t. This revised edition combines classic elements like the famed Flower Exercise with updated tips on social media and search tactics. Bolles demystifies the entire job-search process, from writing resumes to interviewing to networking, expertly guiding job-hunters toward their dream job.


“One of the first job-hunting books on the market. It is still arguably the best. And it is indisputably the most popular.” –Fast Company

“Ideally, everyone should read What Color Is Your Parachute? in the tenth grade and again every year thereafter.” –Fortune

“What Color Is Your Parachute? is about job-hunting and career changing, but it’s also about figuring out who you are as a person and what you want out of life.” –Time

“Parachute is still a top seller and it remains the go-to guide for everyone from midlife-crisis boomers looking to change their careers to college students looking to start one.” –New York Post

“It’s basically the bible of career advice.” –US Department of Labor

“Mr. Bolles continues to enrich and update it, expanding on concepts both universal and technical.” –New York Times

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Chapter 1

Welcome to the Ever-Changing World of the Job Search

If you are trying to better understand yourself, and what you have to offer to the world, this book is for you.
If the recent turmoil created by the pandemic has impacted your work situation, this book is for you.
If you are out of work and want practical help, this book is for you.
If you are trying to understand how the world, and particularly the world of work, really works these days, this book is for you.
If you’ve been out of work a long time, and you think you’re now permanently unemployable, this book is for you.
If you’re on the edge of poverty these days, this book is for you.
If you’re dealing with a disability, this book is for you.
If you’re trying to figure out a new career or your first career, this book is for you.
If you are trying to figure out what you want to do next with your life, this book is for you.
If you’re trying to find a better work-life balance, this book is for you.
If you’re feeling stuck and need a way out, this book is for you.
If you’re just graduating from college and have to live with your parents because you can’t find any work, this book is for you.
If you’re trying to start your own business, this book is for you.
If you’re a returning veteran, this book is for you.
If you’re facing retirement and want to know what to do to support yourself, this book is for you.

A Quick Crash Course on the World of Work

Job markets are fickle. At the end of 2019, employment numbers had been trending upward for almost a decade, the longest recovery and expansion since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track in 1939. Then, in March of 2020, the pandemic changed everything. In one month, the US lost over 20 million jobs. It was widely feared that the nation would slide into a deep recession. Instead, despite gloomy predictions, the job market started recovering almost immediately. By March of 2022 there were some 11.5 million job openings.

Many jobs and industries had already been changing rapidly, and the pandemic brought more changes, notably “The Great Resignation,” in which almost a fifth of the American workforce quit their jobs. In some industries, it seems like employers are practically begging people to apply, and offering signing bonuses and referral fees. In the face of all this, it can be frustrating to read news articles about record numbers of job openings when nobody is responding to your applications.

The problem may not be with your skills or your resume (though we’ll get to those later), but with the way you’re approaching employers. The good news is that the basic process of getting a job hasn’t changed that much, once you fine-tune your search methods and presentation. This is your search, and you get to control how it goes. Not entirely, of course, but more than you might think. That’s what this book is all about. Before we get to the hands-on work, here are some things to keep in mind.

There Really Are Good Jobs Out There

You may see the low unemployment numbers as encouraging, or you may feel overwhelmed and helpless, thinking If employers are so desperate to hire, why can’t I even get a callback for an interview? Even if you’ve struck out again and again, don’t be discouraged. The opportunities are out there; you just need a better strategy for finding the right ones. That’s the subject of the rest of this book.

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