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James Caan – Get The Job You Really Want | Book Review

March 12th, 2011 | by Tahirah Edwards Byfield

In the throes of a recession, thousands of people have found themselves without employment; either falling victim to redundancy and other job-loss circumstances yielded by the economic downturn, or freshly graduating from school, college or university into a stark and hostile job market which sees employers able to force potential applicants through flaming hoops just for a shot at an entry-level position. Getting a job has never been more difficult – and getting one that you actually like is a whole new ball game.

Enter James Caan, who became a familiar face after becoming a ‘dragon’ in BBC’s popular Dragon’s Den – a programme which offers novice entrepreneurs the chance to pitch to a panel of steely-faced business investors. With an extensive history in recruitment, Caan boasts of being a maverick in the business of getting jobs, stepping away from the traditional recruitment norms to yield results.

Aiming to inform on how a job market drier than unbuttered toast can actually be an advantage for potential job-seekers, Caan’s Get The Job You Really Want offers a step-by-step guide to finding a job, from spotting the opening to clenching the interview, using antidotes and examples from his own experiences.

Spread over ten chapters (all of which begin with the letter “P”, an idiosyncrasy not explained within the pages), Caan gives detailed, practical advice on how readers can evaluate their personal skillset and value, turn their CV into a marketing tool, prepare for interviews and act beyond the interview.

According to Caan, the book is applicable to people aiming to enter the job market in any field at all levels, however, some advice, such as Caan’s tips on how to re-negotiate a prospective employment contract, is hardly applicable to a person applying for a cashier job in Tesco. While he aims to make the book open to all job searchers, Caan’s experience working in the higher realms of business recruitment makes him unable to relate to the experiences of lower-rung job hunting.

Another point Get The Job You Really Want doesn’t factor in is the reality of the average person’s relationship with their jobs. While most people hope they enjoy their job, the primary purpose of a job for many people is to provide a means of living. The reality is, not all jobs are career, and not all jobs have growth prospects.

Caan’s ideology in Get The Job You Really Want is that people entering the workforce should be prepared to go above and beyond their roles to secure (or hold onto) their positions. This again is reflective of the type of job market Caan works in.

The book’s strengths lie in Caan’s knack for going against the grain. Get The Job You Really Want informs on how to stand out in the job market, offering advice such as hand-delivering CVs – rather than emailing them – or conversely, sending a video CV, to get noticed in the digital age of job hunting.

For a recent graduate like myself, relating with some of Caan’s advice is difficult, however, the book is worth skimming if you’re looking for a new job – simply because it’d be silly to ignore a man who has become a multi-millionaire by putting people into work.

Get The Job You Really Want is out now.

Purchase: Penguin / Amazon / iTunes / Waterstones