The Work Book: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Get Hired!
Book Review By Liane H. Gould
Bill Hobbs, a Fortune 500 sales manager with extensive field experience, offers sage advice for seasoned professionals and first-time job seekers alike in his book The Work Book: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Get Hired! Hobbs provides a solid overview of the essential steps required to execute a successful job search through the developmental process of building brand.
Historical Perspective on Branding
Personal branding is the ability to know and demonstrate who you are, show your character, and match your individual identity with how others see you. Historically the idea of demonstrating your unique identity (branding) could be traced back to Erik Erikson. Since his first work on the subject of ego identity (1946), he published Identity: Youth and Crisis (1968), and today is known as “the intellectual father of construct identity”. His theories and research on career identity development especially in adolescents may be even more relevant today with the need to re-establish and re-define one’s career identity many times in a lifetime.
Benefits to the Reader
This book provides a quick read and an excellent reference for struggling job seekers. Comparable to the “One Minute Manager”, readers gain general insight and understanding on how to plan for and choose a career. The author shares his own experience transforming his jobs into a new career that affords room to “learn, develop and grow as a professional”. Career practitioners can invite their clients to join the author as he intertwines personal experience with the realities of today’s job search challenges.
Career development professionals will find this book offers a comprehensive step-by-step decision making process that encompasses the more personal side of the career transition, including such issues as self-awareness, money matters, branding, sourcing leads, interviewing and best practices in a new position. Clients can learn about what they, as job seekers, are going to face at every step in the job search process that collectively can have an impact on their success. The author clearly points out several critical considerations for job seekers such as:
- Considerations for advancing an existing career
- Selling ideas to other employers and managers
- Creating a strong personal brand designed to accelerate the job search
- Identifying insights into creating an effective resume, preparing for the interview, and dealing with the job offer
- Understanding real-life dilemmas specific to the relevancy, accuracy and currency of career-related experiences.
Like the career development professional, the author gives personal, practical information and shows concern for the job seeker’s challenges. For example, Chapter Seven lays the groundwork for the interviewing process and talks to the reader as if a friend guiding him or her through the upcoming challenges. The author defines and provides a real world view for career information and decision-making. For example, preparedness is the key take-away throughout the book as well as to always expect the unexpected - again offering advice that a career practitioner would offer a client.
Looking for a job is like running a marathon; after much practice and patience it is not uncommon to receive several offers of employment. The author provides a theoretical process to help the job seeker sort through both the emotional and practical challenges. Chapter Nine lays out an 8-step process for dealing with multiple offers that can be quite common when the job search momentum has peaked and the job seeker is performing at a high standard. Chapter 11 onward provides readers with extensive insight into building a brand and creating a successful career in a new position. Once job seekers start a new job, the challenge in any organization is to maintain their personal brand and be successful in their new position. It is easy to commit political suicide while still becoming familiar with new surroundings. New employees are cautioned to take note of their behavior until they have appropriate knowledge of the organizational politics and how to gain traction in their careers. Thus career development professionals can encourage clients to use the book even after the search is over.
Using the Work Book
The author, Bill Hobbs, said he chose the title The WORK Book because “the book is actually set up with space in each chapter where readers can fill in details about choices they make regarding career, industries, companies, and goals, like a traditional work book. We thought the title was catchy because it's not only a "work book" where readers can fill in information, but it's a book about work as well.” The WORK Book: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Get Hired! is organized well and provides an updated overview of career development. The book will be especially helpful for any job seeker who wants a quick overview and to review the high points of the career planning process and job search techniques. It could also be used as a practical reminder throughout anyone’s career. The most useful information is how to create a strong personal brand, the process of securing the job offer, and how to elevate personal brand once in the position.
Hobbs, B. The WORK Book: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Get Hired! La Plata Press, 2012. 124 pages.
Vondracek, F. W. (1992). The Construct of Identity and Its Use in Career Theory and Research. Career Development Quarterly. 41(2), 130-144.
Liane H. Gould has a 20-year history as a workforce development professional. Liane has worked in career services for the AARP Foundation, the US Department of Labor and American Chemical Society. Currently Manager of Adult Services overseeing career transition and training programs at the Virginia Arlington Employment Center in Virginia. She may be contacted on LinkedIn or Twitter @lhgould.
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