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Cool Careers for Dummies Introduction (Excerpt)

By Marty Nemko

The following excerpt is from the book "Cool Careers for Dummies: Second Edition" by Dr. Marty Nemko.

Book Contents

Introduction : How This Book is Organized

Chapter 1: Sandy's Tale

Chapter 2: The Cool Careers Catalog

Chapter 3: The 20 Most Revealing Questions

Chapter 4: Integrating Head and Heart

Chapter 5: What's That Career Really Like?

Chapter 6: Finding the Courage to Commit

Chapter 7: Degree-Free Career Preparation

Chapter 8: Degree-Based Career Prep

Chapter 9: The Big Picture

Chapter 10: Creating Your Mind-Set

Chapter 11: The Right Resume in Much Less Time

Chapter 12: Just What Sort of Organization Do You Want to Work For?

Chapter 13: A Better Way to Approach the Want Ads

Chapter 14: Landing a Job at a Dream Employer (Even If They Aren't Hiring)

Chapter 15: Networking Made Easier

Chapter 16: The Job Interview: Converting an Interrogation into a Date and a Demo

Chapter 17: Negotiating a Cool Deal (Even If You're Dealing With a Scrooge)

Chapter 19: Making Any Job Better

Chapter 20: The Four Musts of Successful Self-Employment

Chapter 21: Ten More Sources of Cool Careers

Chapter 22: Ten (Okay, 29) Extra-Strength Procrastination Cures

Chapter 23: Ten Questions That Make Job Interviewees Squirm (And Honest Ways to Survive Them)

Chapter 24: Ten Keys to Success When You're Your Own Boss

Chapter 25: Ten (Times 2) Favorite Career Web Sites.

Appendix: The Cool Career Finder


Fifteen years ago, I heard about a little-known career called child-life specialist. When children must go to the hospital for extended stays, they are assigned child-life specialists to help them adapt to living without their parents.

When I told my clients about this career, they were glad to hear about it, even if they themselves didn't want to pursue it. It gave them hope that maybe a cool career that they hadn't heard about actually existed for them.

That's what started me on my collection. Every time I heard of an interesting career, I added it to my collection of cool careers. I included unusual careers as well as neat niches within the popular careers, for example, lawyers who specialize in outer space issues. Now my collection of cool careers (See the Cool Careers Yellow Pages Chapter 2) contains over 500 careers. I got many of the self-employment ideas from Paul and Sarah Edwards, who have written 12 books on the subject.

This book contains a quick scoop on each of the 500+ careers plus the strategies that my clients have found most helpful in choosing a career and in actually landing a job. I developed many of these strategies because the standard career advice wasn't working for many people. The Edwardses and I add a blueprint for how to become successfully self-employed. That's the book in a nutshell. Its ideas have helped a lot of individuals find a cool career, including many people who were quite stuck. This book is particularly valuable if you're looking for your first real job, considering self-employment, or thinking about changing careers.

What's New in this New Edition?

Although the first edition Cool Careers For Dummies received uniformly gratifying reviews, from the day the book was published, I have been working to ensure that this new edition is even better. Nearly half the book has been upgraded. For example:

  • Adding lots of new, rewarding viable careers and dropping those that no longer measure up. I've also updated many of the previously profiled careers.
  • I highlight easy-to-transition-into careers that don't require long back-to-school stints.
  • A completely updated the "Ahead-of-the-Curve Careers" section. It's filled with ideas on how to get in on the ground floor of the next Big Things.
  • The Most Revealing Questions" have been upgraded so they're even more likely to reveal what you really want in your career.
  • Adding 16 true vignettes of people who've attempted major career changes. Not merely pat success stories, they include tribulations, triumphs, compromises, and remaining dilemmas. (Names have been changed to allow full disclosure without legal risk.)
  • New guidance for career searchers who simply don't have an overriding passion or skill.
  • A busyperson's approach to checking out possible careers. Many of my clients say they don't have the time (or courage) for informational interviews.
  • Better sections for the many people who have a hard time making the final decision "Yes! This is the career I want to pursue." I've upgraded the chapter, "Finding the Courage to Commit."
  • Eight faster (really) ways to land a job. The impatient job seeker definitely appreciates these.
  • Improved advice on how to land a job when you don't have previous experience.
  • Improved help for job seekers who hate networking or have few people to network with.
  • A section on e-networking: how to use the Internet to meet people who can help you.
  • A brand new chapter, "30 Days to a Good Job" which addresses what a successful job search actually looks like, day by day..
  • A beefed-up chapter on how to put fire in your belly procrastination slows so many job hunters.
  • Even more important than landing a good job is whether you make the most of it. A chapter, "How to Make the Most of Any Job," now provides a step-by-step plan for making even a humdrum job much better.
  • And yes, I fixed a few typos that managed to escape even the compulsive proofreader.

How This Book Is Organized

The chapters in this book are organized into five parts:

Part I: Find the Right Career for You, Right Here

Whether you've never had a career before or want to dump your old career for a new and improved one, this part is for you.

First, follow your heart

Browse the quick scoops on the cool careers listed in the Cool Careers Yellow Pages and simply pick out one or more that make your heart beat a little faster. If you don't feel like browsing all of them, there's a quicker approach. I've divided the careers into categories to make it easier to home in on the ones that are right for you.

Next, use your head

I ask you to list what's really important to you in a career. Don't know? The 25 Most Revealing Questions in Chapter 3 will help.

Finally, blend head and heart

This part's virtual career coach simulates what I do with my private clients so that your final career choice makes sense and feels good.

Part II: Getting Smart

Choosing a career is one thing; succeeding at it is something else. Often, a key is to be trained well. In this part, I show you how to find the right career preparation for you and how to make the most of it. If a university seems right, I show you how to maximize your chances of admission and how to reap maximum benefit from your back-to-school stint. But often, you can learn more at what I call You University, a custom mix of mentoring, articles, tapes, and live or online classes. I even show how You U. "graduates" can get hired over candidates with more degrees.

Part III: A Better Way to Land the Job

The standard advice network, network, network simply doesn't work for lots of people. They either don't have many contacts to network with or they're uncomfortable with schmoozing. This part shows you an effective way to land the job even if the thought of networking gives you the creeps and you don't have a 500-name Rolodex. For my clients with a tendency to procrastinate, this approach has been a godsend. And if you are open to networking, there's a chapter for you: "Networking Made Easier."

Part IV: Customizing Your Career

When you buy a suit, it probably looks just okay off-the-rack. To really make it look good, it needs to be tailored and accessorized. The same is true with your career. This part shows you how to make any job better by tailoring it to your strengths and by using wise approaches with your boss and co-workers. Another approach to customizing your career is to become self-employed. Chapter 20 takes the exciting but scary thought of being your own boss and shows you how to maximize your chances of success.

Part V: The Part of Tens

Many good ideas don't require long explanations. So here is where I plunk every good idea that's self-explanatory. Are 550 careers not enough? In the Part of Tens, I show you at least ten ways to find many more. Suffering from the heartbreak of procrastinitis? Stall no more. I give you ten (actually 46) extra-strength cures. Finally, Paul and Sarah offer ten keys to success for the self-employed. Don't miss the Part of Tens.

Plus we offer an afterword with our best thoughts on how to be happy with your worklife our favorite pages in this book.

Finally, right before the index, there's the Cool Career Finder a way for you to find careers in such categories as "Too much fun to be work" and "Make a big difference in the world."

Instant Career

I have to face facts. Many people buy a career guide and don't follow its advice it feels like too much effort. So they revert to what most people do; they fall into their careers more by chance than by choice. So, here's the super-simple, better-than-what-most-people-do method of finding a cool career.

Step 1: Scan the Cool Careers Yellow Pages. Simply choose the career that feels best.

Step 2. Scan the Web site or book recommended in that career's profile. If the career no longer turns you on, choose another career from the Cool Careers Yellow Pages. If it still interests you, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3. If you'll need more schooling, go to the web to find a program that's right for you.

Step 4: Land a job in your new career by:

· Answering online and print want ads.

· Using the connections you made while training.

· Asking people you know for job leads.

· Cold contacting dream employers, explaining why they're your ideal employers.

During the job interview, check the employer out will you like the boss, co-workers, and projects you'll be working on? If so, take the job.

Step 5: You're done.

This procedure may seem simplistic? You're right. Read the rest of this book, but if you find yourself tempted to do nothing, you're still ahead of the pack if you use this Instant Career Plan.

Where to Go from Here

If you think you might procrastinate in the beginning of your career search, why not start by checking out the fun stuff? For example, sneak a peek at the Cool Careers Yellow Pages. Flip through the book and stop to gawk at the Unconventional Wisdom and Fun Yet Effective icons.

And when you're finally in the mood to get at least slightly serious, just turn the page. You are going to benefit. Can you picture it: finally satisfied with your career, eager to get out of bed on workday mornings, not watching the clock at work. And just think of what you'd do with the money. Okay, stop daydreaming and turn the page. Let's get started!

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