Diary of a Job Search: One Man's Journey from Unemployment to a New Career
-by Tim Johnston, Laura Lorber (Contributor), Perri Capell (Contributor)
Ten Speed Press, 193 pages, $11.87

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Following Tim Johnston's job search journey through his diary entries is a fresh approach to the stressful process of looking for a job. The personal touch here imparts information differently than most career books. Instead of an expert educating people on a subject, he chronicles his ups and downs, counting on others to connect with his experience. The observations and lessons about the current job market in Diary of a Job Search will strike a chord with anyone serious about their career search.

When Tim refers to himself as a former job hunter, we know that his efforts succeeded and we want to know how it happened. He chronicles the shock of losing his job and realizing how the job market has changed since he began when "anyone who could breathe could get a job." Tim characterizes himself as a people person and laments that the evolution of the Internet has made connecting face-to-face with people more difficult.

Things start to happen for him when he makes a list of people to reconnect with. Instead of following well-trodden job search paths, he chooses to take the road less traveled and take chances. He networks with former colleagues and bosses, neighbors, and most importantly, fellow job seekers. Eventually, his sensible search strategy combines online job hunting with information interviews. After conducting information interviews, Tim urges job seekers to request time in the office instead of over lunch or a drink. That way people see you in a business setting and take you more seriously.

Trial and error during the search yields other helpful information. Diary of a Job Search urges everyone to update resumes and to mold them for specific positions. Tim is flexible enough to diversify his job search methods, which include accepting alternatives like temporary and contract work. He uses the Web creatively — instead of sinking time into searching for online job listings, he joins online mailing lists and spends time in chat rooms with fellow job seekers in his field. Eventually, this leads to contacts.

In the end, Tim concludes that passion is the secret to job searching success. He urges people to figure out their passions whether they lie in teaching, traveling, or other fields. Diary of a Job Search follows life in the job-hunting trenches and much of the advice here is worthwhile because it comes directly from other career seekers with real-life experience. The belief that "You don't have control over when you lose a job, but you do have control over how you find one," is an empowering one for job seekers. Johnston is living proof that others have gone through the same thing and emerged wiser and employed.

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