A couple of months ago I got an e-mail from a publicist regarding a book that had just come out asking if I'd be interested in getting a review copy. The book in question was Harvey Mackay's Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door. I figured, "Hey, that's be great to feature in The Job Stalker!" (I am reasonably sensitive to the fact that a number of the books covered here have been more about areas of my own job search, rather than "job search" books in general), and told her to go ahead and send it along. It went into a "to be read" pile, and I finally got into it a couple of weeks back.
I was afraid for a while there that we were going to be in another long "waiting for the interview" cycle (which is why I ended up doing an excerpt from this last Monday), but it turns out that Mackay's staff got the PR agency this a week or so back, and it just took a while for the right file to end up in my e-mail box!
As regular readers will recognize, I don't typically expect too much from these little e-mail interviews, they serve as a bit of an introduction to the author and as a lead-in to my actual book review. However, every once in a while the Author "takes it seriously" and produces a more substantial response, and that is certainly the case with Mr. Mackay, as his answers here provide a great deal of relevant information.
Speaking of providing a great deal of relevant information, Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door is a rather remarkable book. As I go into in my review, it's pretty much a soup-to-nuts walk through of the job-search process, with material that you're not likely to find anywhere else. I, personally, have not seen a more in-depth "manual" for finding a job, and am highly recommending this to anybody who's out there "pounding the pavement"!
Q: Briefly, what's your background?
A: See the biography on my web site.
Q: Have you had notable job-transition experiences?
A: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I still have trouble spelling the word, but that's what I wanted to be. Therefore, I graduated from the University of Minnesota, had six interviews at different companies and chose envelope manufacturing. I started in the Shipping Department at the lowest level, then worked in the factory, plus some odd jobs, before they made me a salesman. Five years later after a stellar career in sales (I won a national sales contest and a trip to Las Vegas), I struck out on my own and bought a small insolvent envelope manufacturing company with a dozen employees and old broken-down equipment. Therefore, I did not have any notable job-transition experiences.
Q: Why did you decide to write a job-search book?
A: Two years ago I consulted with my financial advisers, and several of them were extremely bearish. CEO pay was running rampant. House prices were soaring. Everything was going wrong. I agreed with their analysis and thought we were headed for a stiff recession and, of course, not knowing when the bubble would burst. Of course, I never thought the economic tsunami would hit like it did. Also, for the past 45 years I have counseled and mentored about 500 people, ages 16-65, in finding a job and helping them with their careers.
Q: How do you see the job market in the next 3-6 months?
A: Unfortunately all the signs are pointing to not much changing. And it could possibly get worse. What must be understood is that the real unemployment number is not 9.7%. When you take into consideration people who have given up looking for a job, the people working part-time that want to work full time, the real number is 17-18%.
Q: If you had just ONE piece of advice for today's job searcher, what would that be?
A: Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. You can't do it all by yourself. You must move mountains to create a kitchen cabinet of 2-4 friends. What is a kitchen cabinet? 2-4 close personal friends who really care about you. Use them as a sounding board and have your own personal board of directors. This will help you bounce back faster than any other strategy. Failure does not have to be permanent. It is only temporary.
Q: What do you feel makes your book unique?
A: People will not read boring books no matter how much good information they might have. You must entertain in order to educate. "Use Your Head To Get Your Foot in the Door" is loaded with personal stories that prove a point. There is a clever moral with each of the 63 chapters and some clever and funny New Yorker cartoons. It's also loaded with one-page quickies that deliver a hard-hitting point. Most important, I strongly believe it has all kinds of creative secrets that have never appeared in other job-search books. For example, there is a chapter on the Invisible Web, which are search engines and data bases that 99% of the population have never heard of before. I also offer a money-back guarantee. Here's what I wrote on the back cover - "Remember, you can't simply read this book! You have to study it, underline it, highlight it, and take notes. If you do not have a job after six months, I will refund your purchase price."
Q: Aside from your book, what resources do you recommend?
A: I do not sell anything on my website and challenge any website in the country to be more helpful than my free toolbar and all the great handouts. For example, anyone can download in a matter of seconds my network builder book, which sells for $12.95.
Q: Any additional words of wisdom?
A: My favorite chapter is Expose yourself in the privacy of your own home. Get a video camera, kitchen cabinet and let them grill you. Critique your performance and here is the key - Your nervousness will go away. You become much more poised. And your confidence grows immeasurably. Can you imagine a lawyer making a summation to a jury after a two-week trial without practicing his speech on his partners.
As he notes in the above, one of the most notable things about Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door is that Mackay offers a "money-back guarantee" where he'll refund the purchase price of the book if you've not found your next job within six months of working his system. While that's just $25.95 ... it's still a mark of how confident he is in the information he's providing.