Richard N. Bolles – What Color is Your Parachute?

Richard N. Bolles

Richard N. Bolles – What Color is Your Parachute? – Contents

  • Richard N. Bolles Biography
  • Richard Nelson Bolles – Big Idea:
    • What Color is Your Parachute?
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about Richard N. Bolles
  • Career Advice Quotes by Richard N. Bolles
  • Business Advice Quotes by Richard N. Bolles
  • Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Richard N. Bolles
  • Richard N. Bolles Inspirational Quotes
  • Books by Richard N. Bolles
  • Questions about Richard N. Bolles
  • Richard N. Bolles – Videos

Richard N. Bolles Biography

Richard Nelson Bolles (1927 – 2017) was the author of the best-selling job-hunting book, “What Color is Your Parachute?” It is one of the most highly regarded career advice books in print, with over ten million copies have been sold worldwide.

Bolles initially self-published his book in 1970, and it has now been commercially published since 1972. The book is available in 22 languages and used in 26 countries around the world. Richard Nelson Bolles wrote numerous spinoffs of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” targeted at specific audiences and career issues.

“What Color is Your Parachute?” first appeared on The New York Times best-seller list in 1979, where it remained for more than a decade. The Library of Congress in 1996 named his book as one of 25 that have shaped readers’ lives.


Richard N. Bolles – What Color is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute?” is a “Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers” by Richard Nelson Bolles intended for job-seekers. Bolles’ Big Idea was to create a manual full of tools, tips, and strategies to help the reader find the right job. The book, rewritten and republished annually,

The themes in the book include:

  • Job Hunting Process: There are many avenues to finding a job in addition to the “traditional approach” of resumes, ads, and agencies, the book recommends networking to find “the person with the authority to hire you.”
  • Self-Inventory: Job-hunting starts with a self-inventory. Deciding who you are the first step before deciding the kind of work you want to apply.
  • Parachute Approach: The book guides the reader through the fundamental questions concerning What, Where, and How.
  • Plan and Prepare: It can take a long time to find a long-term full-time job, and having a Plan is essential. Always prepare by researching before your interview.

Bolles’s “Parachute Approach” to job hunting takes focus and commitment, but the objective is to secure a job with an organization that fits your preferences and one where you can thrive.


Interesting Facts and Insights about Richard N. Bolles

  • Born: Richard Nelson Bolles was born in 1927, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
  • Graduated: Richard N. Bolles grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, and graduated from Teaneck High School in 1945.
  • Navy: Bolles served briefly in the United States Navy.
  • Engineering: Bolles attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and studied Chemical Engineering.
  • Harvard: Bolles attended Harvard University, where he graduated with a B.A. in physics, cum laude.
  • Theology: Bolles graduated with a master’s degree in the New Testament from the General Theological Seminary (Episcopal) in New York City.
  • Clergyman: Bolles served as a Fellow and Tutor at the Seminary and then served churches in New Jersey.
  • Pastor: Bolles served as Canon Pastor of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
  • Education: Bolles served on the National Staff of United Ministries in Higher Education.
  • Self-Published: Bolles initially self-published his book “What Color Is Your Parachute?” in 1970.
  • Published: Bolles’ book was commercially released in 1972 and is now published annually.
  • Best Seller: Bolles’ book first appeared on The New York Times best-seller list in 1979, where it remained for more than a decade.
  • International Success: Bolles’ book is available in 22 languages and used in 26 countries around the world. Over ten million copies have been sold worldwide.
  • Library of Congress: The Library of Congress in 1996 named his book as one of 25 that have shaped readers’ lives.
  • Internet Age: In the 2014 edition of the book, Bolles wrote about how to adapt one’s job search to the Internet age.
  • Died: Richard Nelson Bolles died in Danville, California, at the age of 90.

Career Advice Quotes by Richard N. Bolles

“Passion plus competency, not just competency alone, is key to securing employment.”

“You want to take action every day, not sit around waiting for something to happen.”

“Always define WHAT you want to do with your life and WHAT you have to offer to the world, in terms of your favorite talents/gifts/skills-not in terms of a job title.”

“Hope depends upon taking care that we have at least two alternatives, in every situation we find ourselves, and with every task confronting us.”

“In any situation, no matter how much we may feel we are at the mercy of vast forces out there, that are totally beyond our control, we can always find something that is within our control, however small and work on that.”

“Just because you can’t find them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You’ve got to change the way you’re looking for them. Because there are always job vacancies out there.”

“For many of us, the job-hunt offers a chance to make some fundamental changes in our whole life. It marks a turning point in how we live our life.”

“Many people take career tests with the hope that someone can definitely tell them who they are and what they should do. No test can do that. I recommend that people use the results of their career interest tests to stimulate their own ideas about possible occupations.”

“If someone out of work knows only three words about their impending job-hunt, I’m willing to bet those three words will be: resumes/CV, interviews, and networking.”

“Most job-hunters (and even a few resume writers) assume a resume’s purpose is to “sell you,” or secure you a job. No, no, no. Its only purpose is to get you an interview.”

“Selling is what you do after you’re in the interview room. It’s your task when you’re face to face, not that piece of paper’s.”

“I have always argued that change becomes stressful and overwhelming only when you’ve lost any sense of the constancy of your life. You need firm ground to stand on. From there, you can deal with that change.”

“Things that can get you rejected: bad grammar or gross misspelling on your Facebook or LinkedIn profile; anything indicating you lied on your resume; any badmouthing of previous employers; any signs of racism, prejudice, or screwy opinions about stuff; anything indicating alcohol or drug abuse; and any—to put it delicately—inappropriate content, etc.”

“The success of your job-hunt depends on you—with a little help from your friends. You must be in charge of it. You must plan it. You must direct it. You must know what works and what doesn’t work. Your job-hunt is by its very nature a “self-directed search.”

“Hope can give you wings, persistence, and energy. If you’re out of work and want to stay upbeat, then greet the sunrise, go for a walk, count your blessings, listen to beautiful music, drink more water than usual, eat simpler, exercise more, laugh with your family and friends, watch cartoons, take naps in the daytime if you can’t sleep well at night, but for heaven’s sake, don’t obsess about depressing statistics.”


Business Advice Quotes by Richard N. Bolles

“High tech needs to be complemented by high touch.”

“A disability is something within you. Prejudice is something within the employer.”

“A vast majority of employers now Google your name—yes, Google has become both noun and verb—before they’ll consider hiring you. There’s your new resume, using the word resume loosely. Bye, bye, control.”

“God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.”


Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Richard N. Bolles

“Self-introspection is the way to improve any company, any marriage, any nation. And any job-hunt.”

“In today’s world, he or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do that job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired.”

Always define WHAT you want to do with your life and WHAT you have to offer to the world, in terms of your favorite talents/gifts/skills-not in terms of a job title.”

“One of the saddest lines in the world is, ‘Oh come now – be realistic.’ The best parts of this world were not fashioned by those who were realistic. They were fashioned by those who dared to look hard at their wishes and gave them horses to ride.”

“The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.”

“We want to find that special joy, “that no one can take from us,” which comes from having a sense of Mission in our life.”

“The object is to keep busy being something…as opposed to doing something. We are all sent here to bring more gratitude, more kindness, more forgiveness and more love into this world. That is too big a job to be accomplished by just a few.”

“As most of us know, the proper attitude toward ourselves is called “good self-esteem.” But self-esteem is an art. An art of balance. A balance between thinking too little of ourselves, and thinking too much of ourselves. The name for thinking too much of ourselves is “egotism.”

“Job-hunting is or should be, a full-time job. If your job-hunt isn’t working, you must increase the amount of time you’re devoting to your job-hunt.”

“So many times you will see people wringing their hands and saying ‘I want to know what my mission in life is,’ all the while they are cutting people off on the highway, refusing to give time to people, punishing their mate for having hurt their feelings or lying about what they did.”

“Just determine to find alternatives for everything you are doing about your job-hunt and your life. You want to be the exception to whatever the odds are, about anything. Hold on to Hope, and you can beat those odds.”

“It is a great victory if you learn how to survive in today’s hard times; it’s an even greater victory if you help someone else survive and find meaningful work.”


“Passion plus competency, not just competency alone, is key to securing employment.”

– Richard Nelson Bolles

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“Hope depends upon taking care that we have at least two alternatives, in every situation we find ourselves, and with every task confronting us.”

– Richard Nelson Bolles

Richard N. Bolles Inspirational Quotes

“After each rejection, take comfort in the fact that you are one “NO” closer to “YES”

“Job-hunting is always mysterious. Sometimes mind-bogglingly mysterious. You may never understand why things sometimes work, and sometimes do not.”

“Job-hunting is all about human nature, and in its essence is most like another human activity that we call dating.”

“Nothing that happens to us is just senseless and meaningless. In the context of our total life, it will eventually turn out to have meaning.”


Books by Richard N. Bolles

  • What Color Is Your Parachute? 2020: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, by Richard N. Bolles, annual editions
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, and Plan for Your Dream Job (What Color Is Your Parachute for Teens), by Carol Christen, Richard N. Bolles, 2015
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? Job-Hunter’s Workbook: A Companion to the Best-selling Job-Hunting Book in the World, by Richard N. Bolles, 2018
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? for Retirement: Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future, by John E. Nelson, Richard N. Bolles, 2011
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumes: Write a Winning Resume and Cover Letter and Land Your Dream Interview, by Richard N. Bolles, 2014
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Interviews: Ace the Interview and Land Your Dream Job, by Richard N. Bolles, 2014
  • How to Find Your Mission in Life, by Richard N. Bolles, 2011
  • The Career Counselor’s Handbook, by Howard Figler, Richard N. Bolles, 2011
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? Guide to Job-Hunting Online, by Mark Emery Bolles, Richard N. Bolles, 2011
  • The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide: How to Find Hope and Rewarding Work, Even When “There Are No Jobs” by Richard N. Bolles, 2012
  • Job-Hunting for the So-Called Handicapped or People Who Have Disabilities, by Richard N. Bolles, Dale S. Brown, 2001
  • The Three Boxes of Life: And How to Get Out of Them, by Richard N. Bolles, 1981
  • How to Create a Picture of Your Ideal Job or Next Career, by Richard N. Bolles, 1989

Questions about Richard N. Bolles

  • What is the website for Richard N. Bolles – What Color is Your Parachute?
  • What is eParachute?
    • eParachute is an online interactive self-inventory, based on “What Color Is Your Parachute?”
  • How to follow Richard N. Bolles?
  • When did Richard N. Bolles die?
    • Bolles died in Danville, California, at the age of 90.
    • He was survived by his fourth wife and his children.
  • What were Richard N. Bolles’ Political Views?
    • Bolles was an Independent Democrat (voted republican for Dwight Eisenhower).
  • What were Richard N. Bolles’ Religious Views?
    • Bolles was Christian-Episcopal. He is quoted as ” I have a strong faith in God and a great love for the Lord Jesus. I have been a Christian all of my life.”

“A vast majority of employers now Google your name – yes, Google has become both noun and verb – before they’ll consider hiring you. There’s your new resume, using the word resume loosely. Bye, bye, control.”

– Richard Nelson Bolles

BIG IDEAS:

“Strategies for Influence” explores and shares the BIG IDEAS from the Leaders of Influence that can help you with your Career, Business, and Leadership. Click on any of the links below to explore the Big Ideas that have influenced our work and culture.

Mini-MBA of the big ideas that have shaped Careers, Leadership, and Business.


“The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.”

– Richard Nelson Bolles

Richard N. Bolles – Videos

Dick Bolles: “How to Decide what you’ll be doing Five Years from Now” – Talks at Google

The Importance of Self Inventory in Finding Your Ideal Job, by Dick Bolles


“In today’s world, he or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do that job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired.”

– Richard Nelson Bolles

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