Book Review – Fired to Hired

Chances are, you’ve been unemployed (or underemployed) at some point in your life. Whether because you just graduated from school without an available job, had trouble finding a new position after your previous one ended, have a crummy job, or had your company close down (not an uncommon occurrence recently, between the tech bubble burst and the Great Recession), you are likely to find yourself in need of a new (or better) position. What sort of techniques should you follow to find yourself in a new position?

Fired to Hired attempts to answer that question. Tory Johnson, the CEO of Women for Hire, writes a book to helping people who are ‘bouncing back from job loss to get work right now’. It attempts to offer advice on how to bounce back from a job loss and get a new position. Let’s read through and see how well it does the job.

Summary

Fired to Hired opens with a brief Preface that welcomes the unemployed and underemployed to the book. The Introduction then shares some of Johnson’s history, focusing on her time on the debate team and how it spurred her competitive spirit. It stresses the importance of going from ‘Blah!’ (beaten down by negativity) to ‘Ah!’ (ready to stand tall and grab the prize), comparisons of these perspectives end up shared throughout the book.

Chapter 1 – “Hello, My Name is Tory, and I Was Fired”

The first chapter, appropriately enough, covers the story of how Johnson was fired from NBC News much earlier in her career, and what she learned from the experience. It discusses just what can be gained by being fired, such as the learning that comes from having to adapt to a lack of income and search for a job. There is also encouragement for just such a job hunt.

Chapter 2 – I Like Me. I Really, Really Like Me.

The second (and longest) chapter was about figuring out what you want in a job, and then how to get it. It suggests writing out a career path, with the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of any given job to see if it is appropriate. The rest of the chapter covers how to create a personal brand for yourself, by creating an elevator pitch, getting business cards, and building up an online presence on LinkedIn, among other methods. The chapter finishes with recommendations on creating a solid résumé and writing good cover letters.

Chapter 3 – I Told Two Friends, and They Told Two Friends

If you’ve heard any advice about getting a job, it was probably about the importance of networking. Chapter three covers just that, stressing the importance of creating a network beyond your immediate family and friends. The book gives advice on doing things like exchanging business cards and remembering names of people you meet.

Chapter 4 – Go Forth and Conquer

Chapter four looks at how to go out and find a job. It handles subjects like finding job leads, covering ideas from searching through newspapers (yes, they still exist) to visiting career fairs. There are points on how to prepare for interviews, stressing the importance of doing your homework for an interview and providing advice for common interview questions.

Chapter 5 – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

You are likely to have problems when you interview, and the fifth chapter shows how to deal with that. In particular, it discusses how to handle prejudice if you happen to be older or had years away from the workplace (for child raising, as the biggest example), and how to handle background checks.

Chapter 6 – Power in Numbers

The sixth chapter is a fairly short one that looks at job clubs. It provides advice on how to form such a club and advice on what you should and shouldn’t do in such a club to maximize your club members’ chances of getting jobs.

Chapter 7 – The Next Best Thing to Being There

If a traditional position isn’t for you, chapter seven looks at how to get a work at home position. It covers some of the possibilities, such as virtual assistant work or positions that are home-based but for out of home companies.  It ends with a warning about many of the offers you encounter, and how they frequently tend to be scams rather than legitimate opportunities.

Chapter 8 – Mine All Mine

There’s also the possibility of getting a business of your own. Chapter eight looks at some basics of business formation, such as how to choose a good business for you and finding how to raise money to form the business.

Chapter 9 – I’m Worth It

If you do go with a more traditional job, you will likely need to get a raise at some point during your career. Chapter nine looks at some methods of improving your chance at getting such a raise, by stressing the positives of your performance, being ready to answer some of the common criticisms you can face, and being sure to get something (a better office, more flexible hours, etc.) out of the raise negotiations, if not a raise itself.

Chapter 10 – Lose the Cape, Superheroes are a Sham

Chapter ten is about balancing your work and your family. It stresses, as you might be able to tell from the title, how you can’t do everything you might want in terms of being a full-time worker and a full-time parent, and the importance of doing things like delegating tasks within the household to stay ahead of the game. It also gives some warnings about trying to work with your spouse in a business.

Chapter 11 – Pay It Forward

The book ends with a very short chapter on how to pass along your success to others, helping people to get a job and build their own networks. It round out with a Final Thought on the importance of improving your life every day.

Pros

Plenty of Great Advice: The book has a great deal of useful advice on how to get a job, from building a great résumé to developing a sizable network.
Very Modern, with Lots of Resources: It focuses on using modern resources like online career and networking sites to get jobs, rather than just older methods (although it does stresses the need to do person-to-person meetings and attend career fairs as well).
Woman-Focused: Whether this is a pro or con might depend on your gender, but it’s nice to have a book that looks at some of the specific issues women face.

Cons

Subjects Jump Around: The seventh and eighth chapters, in particular, go off the path of job hunting to building your own job, before jumping back to negotiating for raises at a traditional job in chapter nine.
Not Must Depth on Many Issues: As you might guess from a book that covers job hunting and so many other topics between its covers, some of the chapters (the aforementioned seventh and eighth in particular) don’t give a great deal of material to work with.
Fairly Common Subject Matter: There are plenty of places to find job hunt advice (particularly with all the lost jobs during the Great Recession).

Overall

Fired to Hired is a pretty solid book on how to find a job. If you are seeking your own business or working from home, it doesn’t give you the depth you need. But if you’d like a guide for finding a job, particularly a guide that is written for women, this is a pretty solid option.

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