First Book To Buy for Job Hunting - What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers review
I used "Parachute" to get my first job. It continues to influence me today, as I keep my eyes open for a possible career change. As I have trandsitioned from nonprofits to corporate work, to freelance/consulting to looking again at nonprofits, I take what Bolles' teaches into each situation. He helps balance out reality. No smoke and mirrors, but encouraging and candid exhortation.
Thoroughly practical, Bolles asks you questions about your mission in life. His belief is that just getting a job (any job) -- even ones you are good at -- won't be a wise decision in the long haul. He helps you see your passions mixed with skills and experience, and guides you to getting there. Though it is hardly a self-help book, it is far more useful than the ones clogging up the Top 10 list.
He keeps you accountable. Finding a job is your job if that's what you say you want. And if you aren't working, he won't let you make excuses -- you've got the time. Either you are looking or you aren't. Dr. Phil could take a note from Bolles' direct yet congenial style.
Bolles has kept current, with a significant look at the internet, starting your own business, dealing with the tempestuous employment marketplace, working in an unpleasant situation, and more.
Don't bother with the hardcover. You need the paperback. This is not a sit-on-the-shelf book, but a get-down-to-business book, and you'll appreciate the flexibility while at work or on the train.
I fully recommend, "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Nelson Bolles.