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Book Review of: Hire Me, Inc
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of Hire Me, Inc., by Roy J. Blitzer (Softcover, 2006)|
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles, former coordinator of the Mensa Jobkeeper's SIG, and former job search coordinator for the IEEE, Kansas City Section.
This book prescribes the unusual but powerful methods I used back in the days when I was a job hunter. Most people conduct a "job search" as though it's the duty of an employer to supply a job. The very phrase "job search" conjures up notions of going out and finding something someone else has to offer. That's backwards.
The reality is the employer is a possible buyer of the services being offered. If the employer were not a buyer, then we wouldn't have paychecks. You're selling. Period. And remember, there is such a thing as a sales warranty (also addressed in this book).
Because the reality is you are trying to bring buyer and seller together, the reality is also that you need a marketing plan and a sales plan. Blitzer deftly walks us through the process of developing both.
For many years, I provided assistance and counseling to people who were between jobs. Those who insisted on pumping resumes into the mail system were still looking six months later and would invariably be forced to accept something they didn't really want. But those who followed a decent marketing plan often got an invitation to talk about what they could do for the company, without ever sending a resume. Those talks would often end in an offer.
A business must have a product or service to sell. So naturally, the first chapter of this book talks about the product (meaning the job seeker). You'll find this aspect covered in depth in the famous book What Color is Your Parachute?. That particular book comes out in a new edition each year. It helps readers succeed by showing them how to figure out what they are really good at doing and what they want to do. Blitzer cracks the same nut, a different way. Hire Me, Inc. contains some nifty analysis tools that will help you figure out what you have that you can offer a potential employer.
This book doesn't focus on resumes, but most job seekers do. So, I want to address this book review in terms the typical job seeker can understand.
Many people labor over a resume. What they end up with is a couple of pages filled with meaningless clichés, useless buzzwords, pointless hyperbole, and other garbage that tells the other person nothing of any substance.
Being vague and non-communicative is not the way to convince someone to agree with you. That approach, which is often coached in job search books, simply insults the reader's intelligence. I don't know about you, but I don't respond with warmth to a person who treats me like an idiot. I guess if you want to work for an idiot, the "I am looking to be hired by an idiot, so I filled the page with tripe" approach is suitable.
Read the typical resume, and you don't have an answer to "What do you actually do?" What is the point of the resume if the reader can't get any useful information from it? There is no point. This same desire to impress the other person with nonsense tends to bleed over into the interview and doom it to mediocrity. And that's on a good day.
If you can't articulate what you do, you are in trouble already. So, use the analysis tools and figure out what that is. One thing I like about Blitzer's analysis tools is they pretty much force you to stop with the "resume speak" and put things into English.
Something every MBA knows intimately well is the SWOT analysis. That means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You have to do this analysis before you start marketing a product, so you don't create landmines for your company and so you don't overlook the best places in which to invest company resources. Kudos to Blitzer for including this in Chapter Two, along with several other pre-marketing essentials.
Other chapters deal with various aspects of marketing and then sales, which is the proper order. Marketing involves determining the buyer's needs, positioning the product to meet those needs, and developing the sales tools. Sales is basically the process of helping the buyer to see that your product best meets the needs of the buyer at a price the buyer will be happy with. It involves many things, and Blitzer gives a mini sales course tailored to the job seeker.
The book devotes five chapters to these two aspects, following the classic marketing and sales concepts taught in any business school. Once you do the prep work per the first two chapters, then you can do the marketing. Once you've done the marketing, then you can do the sales. The typical job seeker skips right to the sales part, which is why the typical job seeker has such a rough time.
The last chapter is called "Product Implementation." It's got some sage advice for starting out that new job the right way, and then maintaining your career. Here, too, the typical job seeker is remiss. Simply clocking in face time (the traditional approach) produces nothing you can use to make your case for a raise or even for retention. Your job/career is basically a crapshoot every day, instead of being run like the business it is.
My personal experience with the power of good product implementation involved outlasting the elimination of my position for four years after everyone else in my position was let go due to restructuring and elimination of that position. The headcount was significant, too.
I had enough quantifiable accomplishments articulated in terms of ROI on my salary that, even when my job had been eliminated, I was kept on for four more years in that same position. I finally begged to be cut in the next round of layoffs, because I was tired of the place. I figured it was better to leave with a severance package than to quit and get nothing. Do you want to know how I did it? Read Chapter 8.
This book has more to it than what I've described here. I give it a thumbs up and leave it to you to find the treasures between its covers.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.