Book Review: Getting from College to Career

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Getting from College to Career

Welcome to our second One Day, One Job Book Review. Our first review was of Alison Doyle’s Internet Your Way to a New Job, and today we’re going to discuss Lindsey Pollak’s Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World. The book may sound like a checklist (it even has boxes that you can check off as you complete the tasks), but it’s actually a great read. Lindsey’s insights are exceptional, and the tips are some of the best I’ve come across.

Who Is Lindsey Pollak?

Lindsey Pollak is just like you; she’s a recent college graduate. Yale ’96. Ok, not recent. She graduated when Monster.com looked like this. That hasn’t kept her from maintaining a new grad’s point of view. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that her post-graduation job search was a bit prolonged or the kid-like sugar high from all the cupcakes, but she remains in touch with everything that is entry-level job search. Either way, a lot has changed about job search since Lindsey searched for her first job, but a lot has stayed the same too. Lindsey typically focuses on more traditional job search methods than we do, but she brings her tips into the digital age by encouraging appropriate use of technology. She’s certainly no stranger to the Internet, as you can see from LindseyPollak.com and the Lindsey Pollak Blog.

The following quote sums up how Lindsey landed her first job, but more importantly it sums up the experiences that guided her towards being a career expert.

So, to recap how I got my first job in the Real World: Exploring things I didn’t have a knack for (law), getting whatever kind of experience I could (internship), following my passion and gut instincts (Australia), making and maintaining relationships (Fran), getting involved with professional organizations (Rotary Club), following leads (the fax), and selling myself (the call to Working Woman). No one strategy would have done it. No to-do item was the magic bullet. Success came from a combination of factors, actions, and connections.

If you still don’t have a feel for who Lindsey is, check out this video of Lindsey Pollak.

What’s It All About?

Getting from College to Career is just what its advertised to be, a guide of 90 things to do that will help you land a wonderful first job. The tips never exceed more than a few pages, and you can skip over as many as you like. The book can be skimmed, flipped through, or read in one sitting. Despite its being 300 pages, Getting from College to Career is actually a quick and enjoyable read. The one thing that we can say for sure about Lindsey’s advice is that if you follow it and check off every check box in the book, you WILL get a great job. The hardest part is doing it. And that is where the sole weakness in Getting from College to Career lies. YOU need to go buy the book. YOU need to read it. And YOU need to do what Lindsey says. The book won’t find a job for you, but it will set out everything that you need to know to succeed in your job search. In fact, many of the tips are so easy and approachable that you can ease into action slowly if that’s what it takes to get your butt off the couch.

Here are some of our favorite tips from Getting from College to Career:

1. Start Wherever You Are – Like I said, you need to just do it.

18. Get Rid of the Shoulds – Once again, saying you should do something won’t get you anywhere.

77. Conduct Company Research – That’s what we’re all about, so of course we love this tip.

84. Be Nice to Receptionists – There’s a great story with this one. Buy the book to figure out why you need to be nice to everyone.

No, this book won’t do you any good if you can’t take action on Lindsey’s tips, but she does a great job of making it easy to be motivated and to get started with small steps. Even if you’re feeling completely useless and think that nobody can get you out of your funk, Lindsey will do her best to convince you otherwise.

What We Think

Getting from College to Career is a must read for new college grads. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, especially considering the fact that I roll my eyes at most career experts. The reason that Lindsey is so successful with this book is because of her authenticity. She’s not afraid of who she is or how pathetic she may have been during her job search. She’s not afraid to admit that some of her job search (which didn’t begin until 3 years after she got her undergraduate degree thanks to graduate school) consisted of hiding under the covers and eating frozen yogurt. Many of us have gone through that type of job search depression, but very few of us are willing to admit it so openly. Lindsey fills the book with her own experiences as well as those of people whom she has interviewed.

A lot of people have said that they wish that they had read this book before they graduated college, and I’m in complete agreement with them. I’m not sure it would have changed my path, but it certainly would have helped me make my job search much more productive. Some of the stuff in this book is obvious, some of it seems a little hokey, and some of it is downright brilliant. The key to making this book work for you is ignoring your emotional response to each tip, and instead acting on each tip. What else are you going to do doing this summer?

How Do I Get It?

There are a number of ways to get a hold of Lindsey’s book. Our first recommendation is to buy Getting from College to Career from Better World, since the proceeds go to non-profit literacy programs and the shipping is carbon-free. If you’re an Amazon addict, then you can buy it from Amazon instead. There are plenty of other options to buy this book, like your local bookstore, but these two companies both give us a cut on every book we sell. How could we resist promoting them?

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8 responses to “Book Review: Getting from College to Career”

  1. Willy –
    Nice review! I think Lindsey’s book is a terrific read for anyone looking for a job, even though it is targeted at the “college to career” crowd. Readers should know that Lindsey is a wonderful and generous resource in the career blogosphere. She offers solid advice and information in her regular blog as well as in her book!

    Miriam Salpeter
    Keppie Careers

  2. […] big thank you to Willy Franzen and the team at One Day, One Job for the awesome review of my book, Getting from College to […]

  3. Mak says:

    Hey Willy,
    thanks for the book review. I’m a junkie for career/college advice books. I might actually buy this one.

    You mentioned rolling your eyes at most career experts. I was wondering what you thought about this one, or if you heard about it: “How to Get Any Job with Any Major” by Donald Asher. I just picked it up from the library a couple of days ago. So far, it’s an interesting read.

  4. @Miriam – Thanks for dropping by to comment.

    @Mak – I haven’t read that book. The Amazon reviews look pretty good. After you read it, if you want to do a review and get published on One Day, One Job, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the book. As for rolling my eyes at most career experts, I see a lot of junk out there, and it bothers me. It’s not hard to call yourself a “Career Expert” and write a book. It is hard to do it well. Lindsey Pollak is a perfect example of someone who is doing it well. I love when people bring fresh ideas to the conversation instead of regurgitating the same old stuff. Like I said in the review, it all comes down to action. Good advice will drive you to action, and taking action will get you a job.

  5. Mak says:

    Hey Willy,
    I completely agree with you. Good advice DOES drive you to action.

    I will write the review and send it to you as soon as I’m done with it.

  6. […] Book Review from One Day One Job […]

  7. Kelsey Hendricks says:

    This is a great read! I am a senior in college and am in my last semester and this book has been beyond helpful. She points out details that I may have otherwise overlooked. She also helps to polish up your professional image and become a personable young professional. I’ve recommended it to several other seniors so far as well.

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