3 out of 4 stars
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Author John G. Bendt is either an expert or an intuitive genius in teaching the skills and processes necessary to create a career path that is both satisfying and intentional. In A Roadmap to Career Success he distills the most important elements down to easily understandable concepts and thoroughly plots out the steps in a manner that should be simple for his target audience (college-bound students) to grasp and implement. He provides enough resources but not so many that a young reader might be overwhlemed.
The main theme of the book is that today’s choices create tomorrow’s opportunities, and Bendt makes several convincing arguments for why a focused exploration of career options should begin in high school. (Not the least of which is that one likely has the most support for such an endeavor at that stage of life: adult family members, counselors, etc.) He also emphasizes the importance of developing skills—hard and soft—beginning immediately and through different activities, which is something that young people can’t hear frequently enough.
There are many of his suggestions that I wish I’d heard in my own youth. For example, keeping a record of the steps taken to accomplish certain goals so I wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I set out to do something similar. He also recommends that young people don’t wait until they need a letter of recommendation to solicit one, but instead, that they request letters of rec whenever they finish a project so they have them readily on hand.
This, of course, is out of the comfort level of most teens and Bendt uses this and other moments to point out that one must overcome their shyness for career success. He also makes the point that your success at every stage of your career will correlate to the degree to which you understand and can meet your employer’s expectations. This concept obviously has wide application to other aspects of life, as do many of his other lessons.
I’ve given this book a 3 out of 4 stars mainly because it actually seems like two books published together. Two good books, I will admit, but books on topics that speak to two different age groups. An older audience (college grads, people already in the workforce) would find the first part of the book irrelevant because it’s specifically aimed at teens, and that might lead to them setting it down before getting to the part that serves them. And the stated audience—college-bound students—would find the second part of the book hard to grasp or relate to because it’s too far ahead of their developmental stage. This does not diminish the value of the actual information provided, but it makes the book in its entirety not quite appropriate for anyone in particular.
Additionally, Bendt approaches job search and career advancement from a fairly idealistic perspective. Directives such as holding out for a job with a company that has a “good culture of rewarding employees” is great in theory but the real-world job market doesn’t necessarily give every worker that option. And his wonderfully detailed steps for approaching career exploration and a job search also assume a level of organization that more and more young people lack today, due to increased incidence of learning difference, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and related issues.
Overall, I think anyone who is still in the active phase of their career or will soon be entering the workforce would benefit from reading this book. Or at least reading the complied tips in the Appendix. Whether the information is brand new or merely a useful reminder, taking some time with this short book would probably be good for all of us.
A Roadmap To Career Success
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