Book by Ron Fry
Review by Emilio C. Ulloa
Psychology Department
San Diego State University

Ron Fry’s Your First Job could be a very helpful addition to academic advisor’s student lending library. Advisors may find that students who read this book or follow advice drawn from the text will be appreciative when they, indeed, acquire their first job.

Written with college students in mind, Fry provides tools, tips, and strategies for anyone entering the job market. The book is well organized, beginning with advice for researching companies and logically progressing through acquiring an interview, tips for making the most of the interview, accepting offers, and advice for the first few months at the new job. Students will ascertain how best to use the book within the first few pages of the text. As noted (p. 9), the book aims to help the reader create a detailed strategy to land their first job.

The book effectively uses straightforward, conversational language to convey its message throughout. However, at times, this style can seem a little condescending. Readers, including college seniors, may be put-off by the tone. Additionally Fry does not seem to compile content for ease of reading. The book lacks a fresh approach to using Internet and computer based strategies (e.g., online career assessments/inventories, web-based job searches/resume builders, etc.). By merely alluding to the resources without dedicating ample text to this new, and fruitful paradigm, the book falls a little short. While the majority of the advice is timeless, some of the references to the Internet and computers seem to outdate the book. College students may generalize from this that other advice, as well, is outdated and may not trust the source.

Information provided to prepare the reader for the job search is somewhat lacking. Fry alludes to some very practical preparation strategies for a job search but does not provide the kind of detail that he allots to later sections. The importance of self-assessment will seem relatively outweighed by the amount of energy put into interview strategies, for instance. This seems particularly disappointing, especially given that Fry alludes to another book he has written on the topic of the interview. In addition, while the book does an excellent job exploring the importance of networking in the job search process, Fry fails to address other, longer-term types of strategies, such and work experience and internships. It is unclear whether the omission is an assumption that readers have already engaged in these activities, whether the Fry deems them unimportant or irrelevant, or whether he simply chose not to focus on them.

The most disconcerting criticism is that Fry fails to provide an overall evidence-based approach. The book does not do a good job of referencing empirical evidence for the efficacy of the advised strategies. Missing as well are the experiences of job seekers themselves. Fry does not provide the reader with any sense that his advice is founded in experience, research, or collective anecdote. Because of this, the reader should proceed cautiously, and perhaps supplement with a little research of their own.

Your First Job: For students - and anyone preparing to enter today's tough job market. (1996). Book by Ron Fry. Review by Emilio C. Ulloa. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 190 pp. $9.99  ISBN # 1-56414-189-6
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