Review of Alan Corey’s The Subversive Job Search

A bit ago Alan Corey was kind enough to send me a copy of his newest book, The Subversive Job Search: How to Overcome a Lousy Job, Sluggish Economy, and Useless Degree to Create a Six-Figure Career.  (Now, that’s a subtitle!)  I was glad to receive it because I enjoyed his first book, A Million Bucks by 30.

The one thing I noticed about this book is that he seemed so much happier in his author photo on this book than he did on the first one.  He agreed, and credited it to having a little bit more notice of needing one on the second book.  I guess that the first one, um, caught him unawares.

Starting over is painful

Alan ended his first book on a high note: he hit a net worth of $1 million by the time he was 30.  In the introduction of his first book, he writes: “Read the book any way you want. Read it from start to finish; read just the lessons, tips, and box scores; or, if you don’t really like me yet, read it from back to front and watch me go from a millionaire to being broke.”

That was funny at the time when I read it.  It’s ironic that following his risk to a net worth of $1 million, he almost did go broke.  The first chapters talk about this fall and the painful process of getting himself back into the job market after being a landlord and a business owner.

What follows is a great success story.  No wonder he’s smiling!

Punching through the noise

At the onset of his job search, people weren’t busting down his door by any stretch.  Two hundred fifty-five resumes led to zero offers during his first three months (page 47).  At some point along the way, he put himself in the shoes of the poor human resources person who had to fill the positions he was looking at, and figured out the two characteristics of his resume that would make that decision easier for the HR person (page 53).

From there, things begin to go his way, and he continues to find more ways to develop himself so that he’s worth the $100,000/year goal that he set for himself.

Lots of tips and lots of hard-earned insights

For me, if I can get one good idea or observation out of a book or a presentation, it’s been worth it.  There were quite a few in here.  These are the ones that spoke to me, and I’m sure there will be others that speak to you:

  • On depression:  If you’re affected by it, accept it sooner rather than later.  Don’t ignore it (p. 35).
  • On goal-setting:  It keeps you moving (p. 35).  (I can see the times in my life when this was crystal clear.)
  • On getting raises:  Come to the table with a dollar figure on increased responsibility (p. 37).
  • On resume searchibility:  Don’t ignore the appropriate keywords (p. 59).
  • On career satisfaction:  Finding out what you don’t like moves you closer to what you do like (p. 83).
  • On skeleton crews:  They get worked to the bone (p. 98).  (I do enjoy his sense of humor!)
  • On steering your career:  There’s only one person who should be doing it (p. 120).
  • On mentoring:  Get some (p. 144).
  • On expertise in a narrow area:  It can pay off if the narrow area is right (p. 181).

I enjoyed the book.  The Subversive Job Search has enough fresh ideas for anyone who’s either looking for a job, or who’s looking for something better.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize the good deals in life.

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