Book Review: The Potato Chip Difference
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.
The Potato Chip Difference: How to Apply Leading Edge Marketing Strategies to Landing the Job You Want, by Michael A. Goodman, 144 pages, Dialogue Press: ISBN: 0970208804, $16.95.
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
By “marketing,” I don’t mean hyping, exaggerating, or selling someone something they didn’t know they needed… Marketing… is figuring out what customers are going to need and finding a way to get it to them on terms that are satisfactory to both of you.
So says Michael A. Goodman in his very informative and easy-to-read book, The Potato Chip Difference: How to Apply Leading Edge Marketing Strategies to Landing the Job You Want.
This book is designed for job-seekers who want to find the ideal job with the ideal employer — not just the next job that comes along. It’s also a book for the job-seeker who is ready to put some time and thought — and work — into the job search. At 144 pages, it’s a short read, but if you are serious about finding the ideal employer and the ideal job, you need to budget extra time for doing the various exercises and “homework” Goodman assigns.
It’s not a book, however, for the job-seeker who is looking for a complete job-hunting how-to guide. The book touches many of the typical job-hunting issues, such as resumes, cover letters, networking, and salary negotiation, but only ever so briefly — and with recommendations for other books in those areas.
The book is for you if you want to spend some time learning new tools to better understand yourself, as well as better prepare you to find — and land — that ideal job with the ideal employer.
Goodman’s marketing background in packaged-goods companies, specifically with Frito-Lay, led to his concept that every job-seeker can distinguish himself or herself by applying proven marketing techniques to the job search. In Goodman’s mind, there no such thing as two identical job-seekers; each one brings something different to the table, and this book will help you discover that something special that makes you different from similar candidates.
One final point about the tools and terminology in this book. Goodman’s writing is straightforward. You don’t need to have any business background to use the tools in this book, though it probably wouldn’t hurt if you did! The book provides some great anecdotes and examples to help you understand all of the concepts.
The most exciting topics in this book are about understanding yourself and what you want to do with your life — and your career. Goodman has you writing a personal mission statement, examining your core values, completing some self-assessment, undertaking market research and a situation analysis, and finally, developing a positioning statement. These elements are obviously the book’s strength — and the main reason it is highly recommended reading.
The book also has solid advice for handling yourself in tough interview situations, how to stand out among other job-seekers in the interview, and salary negotiations and job offers.
The one flaw with The Potato Chip Difference is that because it is not a comprehensive job search book, it tends to assume the job-seeker knows certain elements of job-hunting — or that you will go out and read one of the recommended books on a particular subject — and thus it has a few too many shortcuts. There are also a few areas in which we disagree with his advice. For example, when talking about resumes, Goodman states: “No one was ever faulted because his or her resume was too short.” We totally disagree; in our experience, resumes that do not have enough information — or appear to be short (and thus lacking information) — will often be overlooked in favor of others that better look the part.
Finally, for job-seekers thinking about leaving the workforce to work for themselves, Goodman devotes an entire chapter to examining various options, such as consulting, retailing, partnerships, MLM (multilevel marketing), and others.
The job search is all about using marketing skills to better position, present, and sell yourself to potential employers — and this book will make you better prepared for your next job search. The Potato Chip difference is a good book to add to your job-search book collection — especially if you do not have a background in business or marketing… just make sure you have some traditional job-hunting books in that collection as well.
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.
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