Throughout my time in college, I admit to espousing a fairly naïve and arrogant attitude about how one moves from education into the workplace, being fairly blind to my own sense of entitlement. I repeatedly spurned the advice that my friends and family tried to offer me, and as a result I made little progress when I finally graduated and expected my life to fall into place without my own involvement. Finally, after little success, I came to my senses and decided to seek help from an expert in order to gain some perspective. Lindsay Pollak's Getting From College to Career had been recommended by various sources and seemed like a worthwhile read, and I am incredibly glad that I bought it.
My initial fear was that the book would just be a recapitulation of the normal tips for improving one's résumé and cover letter and ensuring a solid interview. Pollak does address these topics (what kind of career-counselor would she be if she didn't?), but what I really found valuable was the bevy of other minutiae of job-hunting that might not even occur to most people. Pollak, a reasonably young professional, is tuned into the technological advances that have somewhat altered the employment landscape, such as online job posts that have overshadowed the more antiquated newspaper classified ads. However, her age also allows her to use her wisdom to help the young, tech-savvy, and clueless students of today. For example, her point that one should customize his or her online appearance in order to avoid disclosing embarrassing character flaws or incriminating photos.
For those of us who have a hard time transitioning from reading a book to executing the recommendations provided therein, Pollack includes convenient checkboxes to mark once each task is accomplished. Some of these may take time, like setting up an interview, but others are quite simple, such as changing one's outgoing voicemail message to sound more professional. Overall, I found that this layout gives the reader a feeling of progress while making his or her way through the different points.
Ultimately, I found Pollak's book to be a total wake-up call in terms of my career. Learning that 70 - 80% of jobs are found through networking provided a motivating force to get me out into the world and work for what I wanted, rather than sitting passively at my computer and waiting for listings that somehow applied to me. Obviously, a 300-page paperback cannot address all the possible pieces of advice that one would need to land a dream job, but it comes pretty close, and Pollak lists references other materials to look up for more specialized areas. I would highly recommend this book to all college seniors, especially those from liberal-arts schools that are tragically remiss in offering substantive career guidance. It will prevent them from spending some depressingly long years living in their parents' basement.