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How to Do a Bang-Up Job on Researching For Your Book

"Whenever you are struggling or uncertain during your recalculation journey, ask people around you about their own transitions. I guarantee you will find inspiration everywhere.” p. 282

This quote is how Pollak ends her book, and I think it really nails her writing process. As I began reading, I saw a trend, and decided to do a quick tally: she references at least 106 people and 13 organizations in Recalculating! She acknowledges “tapping” many people for their wisdom and experience, and she compiles this knowledge effectively. She is very good about citing her sources, too (which is how I was able to count them).

You would think that a book with so much research in it would sound academic, but no, Recalculating is delightful read. And timely. Pollak is writing about the job search during a pandemic—as she points out, “2020 is the only year on record to include four ‘super-disrupters’ to society: a recession, mass protests, an intense election, and a pandemic.”

Pollak provides practical advice on updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. Two things struck me as especially helpful to today’s job seeker: 1) broadening your definition of “experience,” and 2) how to address your interest in or experience with remote work. Work doesn’t have to be paid, or even long-term, to be relevant to an employer so volunteer work and side hustles can be included in the experience section. For remote work experience, she recommends indicating your remote experience in the line where you write the company’s city and state. And if you are open to remote work, go ahead and indicate that in your resume header where you list your location (yes, list your location—it’s still important to employers): “Town, State and Remote Work.”

“Don’t go into detail about experiences that don’t relate to your current career goals.” p. 131

Speaking of resumes, Pollak and I are kindred spirits because we share the belief that a resume should be one page. It’s a tool to get the interview, after all, so shouldn’t be a comprehensive list of your life’s work. Employer’s nowadays will automatically go seek out your LinkedIn profile when they get your resume, so that’s where you can expand upon your accomplishments. And, another indication that we are compatible, she used my favorite line, “When in doubt, leave it out!” It’s nice when an author mirrors back to you your own viewpoints!

Readers hoping to spruce up their LinkedIn profiles will benefit from Recalculating. Pollak spends ten pages providing step-by-step advice on how to craft a compelling profile.

Notable exercises in the book:

Keeping a Purpose Journal p. 61

Momentum Builders pp. 84-85

Define Your Key Personal Brand Attributes pp. 92-94

Cast the Widest Net Possible pp. 103-105

You Know More People Than You Think pp. 153-154

Build Your Personal Advisory Board p. 184

The Art of the Trade-Off pp. 209-210

Practice Makes Progress pp. 226-228

Beef Up the Basics pp. 249-252

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