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Special Challenges

Some job hunting and hiring situations require special knowledge and tactics. Here are some tools to help you get the edge you'll need to tackle these challenges.

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Working Identity: Unconventional strategies for reinventing your career,
by Herminia Ibarra
(Harvard Business School Press, 2003)

Ex-Harvard Biz School professor Herminia Ibarra spent three years investigating approaches to career change. Her main conclusion: traditional career counseling methods actually distract more than they help career changers, because they emphasize planning, introspection, and careful implementation of new career plans. Ibarra says that discovering what you want to do before you act is a mistake. It's far more effective to act first. Ibarra's bold assertion: "The only thing that can help you figure out your next career is bumping into it." (If you're familiar with The Library Vacation, you already know what she's talking about.) Order this book.

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Soloing: Realizing your life's ambition,
by Harriet Rubin (Harpercollins, 1999)

Rubin's move from the corporate world into a "solo" career is full of lessons for readers who are serious about trying the same. I found myself underlining text on every page. This book offers hope to the "corporatized" -- if they're ready -- because it breaks the process of "leaving" into clearly defined phases. There's no magic pill here -- she points out that the process takes time. As you read Rubin's story, you realize these are steps you can take, too -- if you've got the brass. I'm pretty jaded about self-help books. This is the first very good one I've read in years. Order this book.

Inc. Yourself,
by Judith H. McQuown
(Broadway, 2000)

Lots of Ask The Headhunter readers decide to chuck it all and start their own business. Maybe they open a vegan burger stand; maybe they hang out a consultant's shingle. But as soon as you go your own way, you're exposed. Having a business requires protection -- and the first step is often to incorporate. Before you hire a lawyer to do it for you, find out what it means to incorporate. S corp? C corp? LLC? McQuown's book is the gold standard on this subject, whether you use her methods to incorporate yourself, or just use the book to be a sophisticated consumer when you hire a lawyer to do it for you. Get it, read it, and keep it close by -- you will refer to it often.  Order this book.

So What Are You Going to Do With That?: A guide for M.A.'s and Ph.D's seeking careers outside the academy,
by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001)

Far too many Ph.D.'s and graduate students live in indentured servitute, toiling not in the ivory tower but in a career dungeon. I know -- I was once one of them. Taught to both disdain and fear the business world, they question their ability to survive on the outside. This book takes prisoners of academe out of their midieval careers and into the age of business. Basalla and Debelius unlock the mysteries of how academic skills fit into business, while both respecting and challenging their readers. All academics -- graduate students, professors, researchers -- need this emancipatory book, whether they know it or not. It will change lives. Order this book.

Keys to Liberal Arts Success,
by Howard W. Figler at al.
(Prentice Hall, 2002)

The Liberal Arts curriculum continues to deliver some of the best workers to the business world. The trouble is, most Liberal Arts students are confused (or clueless) about how to apply their college degree to land a good job -- and how to succeed at the job once they've got it. Howard Figler's book delivers the goods, helping students and new grads map the skills they acquire in school to the tasks they will face at work. While there's no job hunting magic here, there's a wealth of advice about how to turn a Liberal Arts education -- which continues to be one of the most profitable -- into a career. Order this book.

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Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits
and Other Writings,
by Philip A. Fisher
John Wiley & Sons, 2003)

One of the pioneers of modern investment theory, Philip Fisher produced one of the seminal guides to valuing companies based on their growth potential. Some of his analysis methods yield fruit not only for the investor, but for the job hunter as well. In conjunction with Larry Stybel's article Scuttlebutt: Getting the truth about private companies, this book can help you evaluate an employer like Fisher evaluates an investment. Order this book.

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Ten Steps to a Federal Job,
by Kathryn Kraemer Troutman
JIST Works, Inc., 1999)The Resume Place, Inc., 2002)

If I were looking for a federal job, or getting ready to apply for one, I wouldn't even attempt it without Kathy Troutman's books. Start with this one. It lays the process out in a candid, straight-forward manner. Don't even attempt it without her help. The federal process is dense and dark unless you've got a light. This is it. Cut through the red tape -- make sure your application works to get you that job! Order this book.

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The Student's Federal Career Guide,
by Kathryn Kraemer Troutman
Resume Place, 2004)

It's a book, it's a CD, it's the only guide new college grads need to help them land the right job in Washington, D.C. Kathy Troutman is the expert on navigating the maze of federal job hunting -- and now she takes a bead on helping students get ready to work in government. How to find the right agency? Lean about interships? Find open jobs? Write a KSA? (Don't know what a KSA is? You need this book more than you think!)  Order this book. (Note: You'll be purchasing directly from Kathy's company, Resume Place, Inc. via this link. You'll find the service excellent!)

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The Federal Resume Guidebook - Second Edition,
by Kathryn Kraemer Troutman
JIST Works, Inc., 1999)

I don't believe in using resumes to apply for a job. But, when you're looking for government jobs, it doesn't matter how good your contacts are. You still need to follow the rules and appease the bureaucracy. Troutman provides you with a comprehensive guide to creating the "federal-style" resume that will speed you through the arcane government hiring process. Order this book.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People,
by Harold S. Kushner
(Anchor, 2004

The loss of a job is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to anyone. But, it's as natural an event as death and as promising as birth and marriage. The only way to fight depression, anxiety and self-doubt is to step way back and change your perspective. Rabbi Kushner's book has become a bible for people in despair. It's written in a conversational tone. Kushner is one of the best friends you could have when times are tough. Order this book.


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