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Book Review: 'The Critical First Years of Your Professional Life'

Many recent college graduates hunting for jobs, those new to the work force or those reentering it can benefit from sage advice to help them start off on the right foot in their professional careers. Robert L. Dilenschneider is the author of numerous books on navigating the world of work and is the founder of Dilsenschneider Group. His updated version of “The Critical First Years of Your Professional Life” written with Mary Jane Genova, will assist new professionals in starting off on the right foot by helping them learn the ropes of how the world of work functions. Consider this book your “mentor” as you begin your career.

The first and most important thing is finding a good professional fit. As recent college graduates who hopefully went through the process of finding a good fit college, this should not be overwhelming. You sized up a college campus, both its academic offerings and campus culture, so now you need to apply that same analysis to an organization and its culture.

This helpful guide tackles subjects like the actual job search, determining whether starting your own business it the best option for you, and managing a myriad of work place issues. Each chapter starts with a bullet point list of the section’s highlights, which is especially useful if you are skimming the book to find advice on specific issues. Even better is the reminder list at the end of the chapters to make sure you take away the key points presented. There are numerous real-life examples sprinkled throughout each chapter as a way to personalize the issues being addressed.

The chapter on networking, which includes a segment on social media, is particularly noteworthy for recent college grads who may have been using social media in a less-than-professional way while in college. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can all be used to your advantage if employed skillfully. This topic is covered more broadly in a chapter on developing your image.

The author gives five goals that you should be able to accomplish when you finish reading this book: gaining self-knowledge, feeling empathy, presenting yourself well, retrieving information effectively and being informed, and finally, solving problems. By using a common-sense approach “The First Critical Years of Your Professional Career” is able to address everyone one of these goals.