Cover image for What color is your parachute? : a practical manual for job-hunters & career-changers
What color is your parachute? : a practical manual for job-hunters & career-changers
Bolles, Richard Nelson.
Personal Author:
2004 edition.
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : Ten Speed ; Enfield : Airlift, [2004]

Physical Description:
xviii, 411 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5383 .B56 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



What Color Is Your Parachute? ­has been the best-selling job-hunting book in the world for more than three decades, in good times and bad, and it continues to be a fixture on best-seller lists, from New York Times to BusinessWeek . It has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages around the world.

Parachute is streamlined this year to help those struggling in these hard economic times acquire the job-search tools they need faster and more efficiently. Its life-saving information is, as always, updated and relevant to today's job market.

Career guru Richard N. Bolles leads job-hunters to find meaningful work. He asks, WHAT skills do you most love to use? WHERE--in what field--would you most love to use them? And HOW do you find such a job without depending on agencies and ads?

This book is not only about finding a job in hard times. It's about finding your passion. In the words of Fortune magazine: " Parachute remains the gold standard of career guides."

"Ideally, everyone should read What Color Is Your Parachute? in the tenth grade and again every year thereafter."
--Anne Fisher, Fortune

"It was 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

" 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

"There's Parachute , and then there's all the rest. . . . a life-changing book."
--Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the world's most popular job-hunting guide, with 10 million copies sold, in 20 languages. This New York Times and BusinessWeek best seller answers such questions as:

ÒI was just laid off from my current job. What do I do first?Ó See page 3.
ÒWhat are the most helpful job sites on the Internet, out of the thousands that are there?Ó See page 5.
ÒWhat are the five best--and worst--ways to hunt for a job?Ó See page 24.
ÒI haven't a clue how to do salary negotiation. Help!Ó See Chapter 7 (starting on page 99).
ÒIn general, what are employers looking for?Ó See page 18.
ÒWhat interview questions can I expect to be asked, and how do I answer them?Ó See Chapter 6 (starting on page 71).
ÒI'm over 50. What special problems do I face when I go job-hunting?Ó See Chapter 10 (starting on page 143).
ÒHow do I survive financially while I'm out of work, and how do I find health insurance when I have no employer?Ó See page 11.

Turn to the last page of the book for more questions.

RICHARD N. BOLLES has been a leader in the career development field for more than thirty-five years. He was trained in chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds a bachelor's degree cum laude in physics from Harvard University and a master's in sacred theology from General Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in New York City. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Marci.

Author Notes

Richard Nelson Bolles was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 19, 1927. During World War II, he served in the Navy. He studied chemical engineering for two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then transferred to Harvard University, where he received a bachelor's degree in physics. After graduation, he decided to become an Episcopal minister. He received a master's degree in New Testament studies from General Theological Seminary in New York and was ordained in 1953.

He had been a clergyman for 18 years when a combination of budget problems and philosophical differences with superiors led to the elimination of his job and his dismissal in 1968 as a pastor at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. After six months of searching, he got a job with United Ministries in Higher Education, an interdenominational church organization that recruited and supported college chaplains across the country. However, when the college chaplains were increasingly being laid off, he decided to help the chaplains find new careers. He was an ordained Episcopal minister until 2004, when he left the ministry.

In 1970, he self-published What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers as a photocopied how-to booklet for unemployed ministers. In 1972, he recast it to appeal to a wider audience and found an independent publisher willing to print small batches so that it could be frequently updated. His other books included How to Find Your Mission in Life and The Three Boxes of Life and How to Get Out of Them. He died on March 31, 2017 at the age of 90.

(Bowker Author Biography)



Preface   Why a workbook for job-hunters and career-changers? Wouldn't a job application form be more to the point?   Nope. It wouldn't be. U.S. government statistics reveal that even in the most difficult of times at least three million people find jobs each month, and yet another two million vacancies remain unfilled. So, there are jobs out there, and millions are finding them. What is the secret of these successful job-hunters? Well, three things:   1 They work smarter. They know what job-hunting methods work best, and they invest their time wisely as a result. Highest among successful job-hunting methods is Beginning Your Job Hunt by Inventorying Yourself.   2 They work harder. They are willing to put in the time necessary to find appropriate careers and appropriate job-openings. They don't expect someone else--the government, private agencies, or other parts of "officialdom"--to do the job for them. They are willing to take the time to do a detailed inventory of who they are, doing some hard thinking, as in this Workbook.   3 They work longer. Once they have a detailed inventory of who they are, they go out looking for a job that matches that. In hard times or in a period coming out of hard times, it often takes far longer to find a job than most job-hunters anticipate. Successful job-hunters or career-changers can keep at it for many months, if necessary, because they have the energy. That energy is born of enthusiasm--they have defined a job they would just die to do, and they are determined to find it, or something as close to it as possible.   This is in contrast to job-hunters who don't take the time or trouble to figure out what work they would most delight to do, and therefore plod through their job-hunt, easily tired, easily discouraged, looking for a job that leaves them uninspired.   What Color Is Your Parachute? Job-Hunter's Workbook is therefore your key to greatly increasing your chances of finding work, provided you're willing to work smarter, work harder, and work longer than most job-hunters. The author is Dick Bolles, more formally known as Richard N. Bolles, author of the most successful job-hunting book in history--with ten million copies sold to date, and used in twenty-six countries around the world. This Workbook is a companion to that classic job-search guide, What Color Is Your Parachute? (revised and updated annually).   This full-color Job-Hunter's Workbook (also revised), with its user-friendly exercises and simple step-by-step worksheets, will illuminate your favorite transferable skills, fields of knowledge, people-environments, working conditions, levels of responsibility and salary, values, and goals. Once you've completed the workbook, you'll have a comprehensive picture of your dream job, and be able to pursue it with hope.     The Flower Exercise A Picture of the Job of Your Dreams   In order to hunt for your ideal job, or even something close to your ideal job, you must have a picture of it, in your head. The clearer the picture, the easier it will be to hunt for it. The purpose of this exercise is to guide you as you draw that picture.   I have chosen a "Flower" as the model for that picture. While such expressions as "plugging in," "turning on," and other common phrases portray you (implicitly) as a machine, you are actually much more like a Flower than a machine. That is to say, you flourish in some job environments, but wither in others. Therefore, the purpose of putting together this Flower Diagram of yourself is to help you identify what kind of a work climate you will flourish in, and thus do your very best work. Your twin goals should be to be as happy as you can be at your job, while at the same time doing your most effective work.   There is a picture of the Flower on pages 2--3 that you can use as your worksheet.   As you can see, skills are at the center of the Flower, even as they are at the center of your mission, career, or job. They are listed in order of priority.   Surrounding them are six petals. Listed in the order in which you will work on them, they are:   1 Values 2 Special Knowledges 3 People-Environments 4 Working Conditions 5 Level of Responsibility and Salary 6 Geography   When you are done filling in these skills and petals, you will have the complete Flower Diagram of your Ideal Job. Okay? Then, get out your pen or pencil and let's get started.     Example (Six Favorite Skills)   When it comes time to inventory what you have to offer to an employer, it's helpful to know that you basically have three different kinds of skills to offer them:   1 Knowledge or Subject Skills . These are usually nouns, like "computers," "applied mathematics," "dancing," "digital design," etc. Think of your head as a filing cabinet. You have a lot of knowledge stored in there, about various subjects. These make you an asset to particular companies. Because you can use these files, these are indeed skills.   2 Functional or Transferable Skills . These are usually verbs, like "analyzing," "mentoring," "cooking," etc. They are functions you are able to do. But because they are transferable to other fields, without going back to school for retraining, they are called transferable skills; e.g., if you're good at "gathering information," in one field, you're probably just as good at "gathering information" in another field. Completely transferable.   3 Self-Management Skills, Often Called Traits . These are usually adjectives or adverbs, like "systematic," or "persistent," or "thorough." They describe the manner in which you do some of your Transferable Skills.   We begin, here, with inventorying your Transferable Skills. Excerpted from What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2004 Editionp. xi
Chapter 1 What Are You Looking For?p. 1
Chapter 2 Job-Hunting At Warp Speedp. 15
Chapter 3 But What If That Doesn't Work?p. 31
Chapter 4 How Employers Hunt For Job-Huntersp. 53
Chapter 5 Twenty-Three Tips For A Successful Job-Huntp. 69
Chapter 6 How To Start Your Own Businessp. 93
Chapter 7 The Secret To Finding Your Dream Jobp. 125
Chapter 8 When You Lose All Track Of Timep. 153
Chapter 9 The Geography Of The Heartp. 177
Chapter 10 Getting In To Impossible Placesp. 223
Chapter 11 Interviewing Tips For Smartiesp. 239
Chapter 12 The Seven Secrets Of Salary Negotiationp. 279
Epilogue: How To Find Your Mission In Lifep. 307
Appendix A The Flower Exercisep. 328
Appendix B Finding Help: A Samplerp. 371
Appendix C How To Choose A Career Coach Or Counselorp. 393
Indexp. 405