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Book Review: Reinvention Roadmap

By Ethel Shepard

Roadmap Book Cover

Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want & Career You Deserve
by Liz Ryan

BenBella Books: December 2016; paperback $13.97, ebook $9.97.

If you find yourself stuck in unsatisfying work, or unemployed and on a job search that’s going nowhere, “Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want & Career You Deserve” may set you on a path to a position of your choice.  Author Liz Ryan’s book applies the principles of positive thinking to guide you to discovering your unique gifts and abilities and your unlimited potential to create the career you want.

In Ryan’s experience, the job recruiting system is broken, and it requires alternative methods to find a job that’s the right fit for you. She recommends substituting impersonal resumes with human-voiced resumes, replacing traditional cover letters with “pain letters” that explain how you can solve the company’s specific business problems. These two tools, she contends, can help you bypass the tedious, impersonal online job application process and put you in direct contact with hiring managers.

A columnist for and LinkedIn and the founder of the Human Workplace, Ryan has been writing about the changing workplace, careers and how to get a job for more than 20 years. In her book, Ryan says, “It’s easy to lose your mojo (life force) and your self-esteem as a job seeker. You are mighty and powerful.It can be hard to remember that when you get discouraged on the job-search trail, but it’s true!”

To help you breeze past a company’s HR professionals, Ryan takes you step-by-step through the search process by asking probing questions and giving thoughtful writing assignments at the end of each chapter that can help assess your unique talents and value and identify the type of work you really enjoy. She then shows you how to brand yourself and use your skills and experience to become a problem-solver who gets hired by employers who will thank you for wanting to work for them.

The work world is changing, and “Reinvention Roadmap” provides advice for examining new, unlimited opportunities, such as consulting, starting your own business, as well as 9 to 5 positions to earn a living.

Creativity, passion and your life’s work experience are key. Peppered through the book are stories of people who have used her methods successfully to reinvent themselves and land on their feet. One is Sarah, who used her knowledge of her employer’s business to keep it running during a crisis while the owner was away, which led to a higher position with more responsibilities and pay. Another is Bruce, an IT guy who became an IT consultant to small businesses so he could work hours he wanted and earn more than company pay.
The colorful illustrations in “Reinvention Roadmap” help make it an easy read. Most of all, I found the book to be a confidence builder. Sometimes, it’s a little too heavy on the positive thinking side, and the questions and writing assignments require deep thought, so if you may reap the most benefit from the book if you take the time and complete the assignments.

To land the position you want, Ryan recommends these ways to “break the rules” of the conventional job search:

  • DON’T respond to a job ad exactly the way it’s spelled out.
  • DON’T create a resume that “lists your past employers and your skills.”
  • DON’T write cover letters to explain how your background matches the job description.
  • But DO contact a department manager directly.

Finding the job of your dreams is possible if you’re willing to take a leap, Ryan says. What do you have to lose? You may find yourself becoming employed and unafraid of ever being unemployed again.


Ethel Shepard, a public relations consultant with more than 20 years experience working with  corporations and nonprofits, can be reached at

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