Job hunting in a new world

A well-designed life is a life that makes sense. It’s a life in which who you are, what you believe, and what you do all line up together.

Designing your life, Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

2003, the last time I was actively job hunting and the year LinkedIn was launched. A year later Facebook was created and three years later, Twitter. The world of job hunting has changed irrevocably.

No longer do you search for jobs in the newspaper and mail your resume with an professional cover letter attached. Before I commence my job search I needed to learn more about how to find a job in this new world.

Two books, What color is your parachute? and Designing your life offer advice for the job-seeker in the 2020’s.

What color is your parachute? A practical manual for job-hunters and career changers by Richard N Bolles was originally written in 1970 and has been regularly updated ever since. I read the 2020 version. What color is your parachute? claims to be the world’s most popular job-search book and promises to help you to focus your efforts on tactics that yield results.

Here you begin, not with the job market but with yourself. You figure out who you are, and among all your gifts which ones you most love to use. Then (and only then) you go looking for organisations that match You.

What color is your parachute? Richard N Bolles

Designing your life: Build a life that works for you by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans focuses on more than job searching and, using design thinking, promises to help you to create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who and where you are, your career and your age.

A well-designed life is a life that is generative – it is constantly creative, productive, changing, evolving, and there is always the possibility of surprise.

Burnett & Evans

At their core both books are quite similar. They recognise that the traditional way of job hunting is no longer relevant. They provide a detailed “how to” to identify who you are and what you are looking for. They both advocate to “try before you buy”, where you actively research a range careers, jobs and industries before deciding what you want.

What color is your parachute? provides more information on interviewing, salary negotiation and how to optimise your online profile to increase your chances of landing the job you want.

Well, you created this position, so you must have some figure in mind, and I’d be interested in first hearing what that figure is.


Designing your life encourages you to form a team of people around you to support you and to reframe failure as simply being part of the design process which will lead you closer to your goal.

We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because we is always stronger than I – it’s as simple as that.

Burnett & Evans

What color is your parachute? is very detailed, almost to the point of being too obvious which can be annoying. Personally, I found it to be a bit preachy at times so I would skim read these sections for the relevant information. I felt that Designing your life was more balanced and provided the right level of detail for me.

Overall both books were quite helpful and as I move forward with my job hunting I will use both to guide me.

To be continued…

Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash

What color is your parachute? A practical manual for job-hunters and career changers, Richard N Bolles, New York, Ten Speed Press, 2020, Epub ISBN 9781984856586

Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You, Bill Burnett, Dave Evans, London, Vintage, 2016, Epub ISBN 9781473522312

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