Book Review: Hello Real World!
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books and other resources from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
Hello Real World! A Student’s Approach to Great Internships, Co-ops, and Entry Level Positions, by Jengyee Liang. Paperback, 146 pp. ISBN: 141962315X. Publisher: BookSurge Publishing. Pub. Date: February 2006.
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
In some ways, this book is the perfect read for college students, perhaps a must-read for younger and more inexperienced college students. Hello Real World! is full of great internship and job-search advice and tips while being short enough to read and digest in one sitting. Probably every student will learn at least a few tips — or be reminded of one they should know.
The book reads like an insider’s guide to getting and succeeding in internships (with some job-hunting after graduation also thrown in). And there’s a good reason for why the book feels that way as the author tells of her experiences in finding and landing three paid, full-time internships with three different Fortune 100 companies.
And while I agree with every tip, every suggestion in the book — it really is full of wonderful and practical advice — I found myself wanting more. I kind of wish Liang had done research with other students and included other case histories besides her own, which would have provided even more ideas for how readers could find their own internships.
The only other area where the book is lacking is in details about some of the more important tools of job-hunting — such as cover letters, resumes, and interviewing — but perhaps that makes sense as this book is more about broad strategies for finding and succeeding in internships and jobs, and less about job-search tools.
The book is divided in six parts:
Part 1: Where to Start — includes three chapters on where and when to start looking for an internship, and includes a great table related to internships and job-search for each year of college. A favorite quote from this section: “Internships and co-ops are your dress rehearsals for your career.” Translation: Students should complete as many internships and work experiences as possible while in college to help hone what you want to do after you graduate.
Part 2: The Job Hunt — really the heart of the book, with great tips for finding all sorts of work opportunities, with some of the best tips for networking (which Liang cutely refers to as mingling), dealing with grades, staying optimistic, and treating the search like another class by being prepared to commit lots of time to it. A favorite quote from this part: “The job-hunt is a lot like school in many respects. You need to do your research on companies and prepare for your interactions with company representatives. You need to do your homework in preparing your resume and studying for your interviews… Instead of working towards that grade, you are working toward an offer.”
Part 3: From Offer to First Day on the Job — includes two chapters that deal with landing multiple offers and setting the stage for a successful internship. Some good advice on why job-seekers should strive to obtain multiple offers — even for internships. Also includes the importance of having discussions with your future employer to help for a smooth transition. Worst quote (and advice) in the entire book: “I would not worry too much about your compensation. Especially if it is your first job. Most companies pay pretty competitively, and you will make around three times the minimum wage.” Liang freely admits that salary negotiation is a weak spot for her, and this advice shows that. While money should not be a job-seeker’s sole motivation or criteria, negotiating the best salary is in your best interest.
Part 4: Once You Are There — offers some great insights on what to expect once you arrive, as well as how to make a name for yourself once you are working. Includes some great tips for how to handle your workload, tracking your performance, how to seek meet and deal with co-workers, and what to expect in the corporate work environment. Favorite quote: “Keeping a journal about your work experience can be beneficial when it comes time for your performance appraisal, to prepare for interviews, or to update your resume.”
Part 5: Reflecting on Your Experience — just one chapter here that focuses on the importance of evaluating the internship, including what you learned, how to get a letter of reference, and how leverage the experience for future work.
Part 6: Tables Turned — in this section, Liang writes from the employer’s prospective in evaluating an intern at her current company, offering interesting insights on how folks might be perceived by their words and actions.
This book is cheap enough and smart enough for all college students to read and take to heart. As a professor who encourages his students to think work experiences from that first year forward, this book fits my mindset and philosophy almost to perfection.
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.
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