What is the Parachute Approach to Job-Hunting

Author: Dick Bolles


The Two Ways to Hunt for a Job

We begin with good news: there are two ways you can go about the job-hunt. Most often we're only told about one of them, namely the way that everybody goes about the job-hunt, instinctively, because that’s the way you do it, and that’s how it’s always been.

We’ll call this The Traditional Way. Most of us know how to do this, or can quickly learn. It doesn’t demand much time. Slap together a resume. Post it. Send out bushel baskets of resumes. If that doesn’t turn up any job offer, send out another ton of resumes. Post it everywhere. Wait to see if you get any responses. Look at the ads online and off for vacancies. Approach those companies via your resume. If this works for you, great! (But then, if it did, you wouldn’t be reading this piece, would you?)

With the second way to hunt for work—let’s call it The Parachute Way (everybody does, except me)—you begin with yourself instead of the job-market. You figure out who you are, and what you most love to do. Then you decide which organizations match you. And you do not wait until they announce they have a vacancy. You approach them anyway, not through a resume but through a person, specifically a bridge person—someone who knows them and also knows you. Here's a comparison of the two approaches:

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If you’ve tried as hard as you can to find a job, and nothing is working, you need to switch approaches. If you’ve been using The Traditional Way—and it just isn’t working out this time—then you need to try using The Parachute Way—as outlined in the right-hand column of the chart. Sure, it’s harder to use this approach. Sure, it requires more of you. It’s more work. Sure, it asks you to do some hard thinking and reflect on who you are, and where you’re going with your life. But that is precisely its value. It’s not just about work. It forces you to step back, and first think about Who before What (shall I do). You get to think not just about your work life but your whole life, and what you want out of life.    Get the book.  Begin with chapter 7 (in the 2015 edition).   You'll be surprised what a difference this makes,  in your whole life.