Book review – The ultimate job search book

The Ultimate Job Search Book by Lynne Williams

With so many books on job searching, each new title has to offer something that appears different. The selling point for The Ultimate Job Search Book is that it brings everything you need together. ‘Don’t bother with lots of books on careers advice – now you can find all the information you need in the ultimate guide’ says the blurb on the back. There’s certainly a lot of very solid information on writing a CV, dealing with interviews and other parts of the selection process here. It’s a guide to traditional job hunting and does a thorough job of covering all the usual aspects of that. The old wisdoms about how to present yourself in writing and in person are clearly laid out with examples of how things should look and sound.

The 18 chapters are divided into short sections, each with an unambiguous heading so it’s easy to navigate through and find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a robust workhorse of a book with a rather old-fashioned feel to it. The language is precise but dull, there is never a hint that finding a new job could be exciting. Little reference is made to the huge area of online job searching and online applications and even less attention is paid to the Internet’s potential in areas such as helping with background company research or preparation for selection tests.

The book starts with guidance on how to pick a job. ‘You can either pick a job that appeals to you, find out what it requires and set about getting those skills and competencies, or look at your skills and competencies, find the jobs that require them and pick the one you like.’ Nothing wrong with that advice but nothing inspirational or motivating about it either. And this sets the tone for the whole book. It’s a bit of a plod through a lot of dry bullet points and checklists. Quotes from employers at the end of each chapter do, however, add some interest and insight.

This book could be a useful reference tool for those who are applying for a job for the first time or those who have not made job applications for a long time. It will appeal to readers who dislike the idea of gimmicks in applications.

It covers the basics very competently and thoroughly, taking you back to a simpler time when things were much more one dimensional than they are now.

Irene Krechowiecka is a careers coach and journalist

The Ultimate Job Search Book by Lynne Williams, Kogan Page, ISBN 0 749 44690 0