Employment guru Gillis (The Real Secret to Finding A Job?, 2009, etc.) presents an easy-to-read guide for the 21st-century job seeker.
At first glance, Gillis’ claim to help readers find a job “in one day” feels like a late-night infomercial, but this thin volume’s three-step plan for landing employment—or moving up the ladder—is surprisingly practical. An increasing number of companies use filtering software that rejects résumés before they are even read by humans, so today’s job search is not about getting selected, says Gillis. Instead, it’s about not getting eliminated. While this automated rejection may seem daunting to the unemployed, the author’s breezy, conversational style makes the job hunt less frightening. There is solid, familiar advice here, such as the importance of emphasizing what, as a potential employee, a person can do for a company in terms of making or saving money. Gillis urges job searchers to begin the process by brainstorming/free writing an “Accomplishments Worksheet” to be honed and presented at an interview. However, getting the telephone call that lands the interview is the major theme of this book. Gillis’ innovative (and perhaps uncomfortable) message is to stop randomly sending out traditional résumés, which he calls “obituaries,” because old style résumés only deal with the past. The author suggests that job seekers should use his signature, one-page “Short-Form” résumé as a template, and an example is included in the book’s appendix. An entire chapter is devoted to learning how to recognize and apply keywords, which could help an applicant’s Short-Form résumé receive points from filtering software and make its way to the top of the selection process. Each section of the résumé is explained in simple detail, and as Gillis describes it: “Your Short-Form Resume is your job search ‘tease’ and your target is the hiring manager whose attention you want.” Per Gillis, once the manager calls for more information, an updated, traditional résumé should be ready to email at a moment’s notice. A well-crafted Short-Form résumé will also be eye-catching once it lands on a human’s desk; e.g., numbers should be written out, as $3,200,000 looks more impressive than 3.2 MM. In addition, the author uses memorable examples of his experience in the hiring field to explain what he appreciated when scanning a résumé, such as a simple “Seeking Statement” that notes the exact job for which a person is applying, including any reference numbers. Though searching for work in today’s economy is tough, Gillis’ professional advice is a good beginning.
Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.
Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.
Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.
Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson’s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection.
Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend’s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie’s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn’t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she’s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character’s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn’t advance too far; yet details from Jamie’s trip to the refugee camp in Chad—the types of beer served at the aid workers’ bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away—effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie’s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie’s wealthy employer? Does Jamie’s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots?
With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson’s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination.