Our Five Favorite Job Search Books


Are you determined to start the new year off right and find a new job? Or do you know someone who is, and want to support them with a gift?

The holidays are the perfect time to catch up on some reading and get inspired for the new year, so here are five of our favorite books to help you navigate the job search:

1. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life – this book summarizing the most popular course taught at Stanford was released in September and quickly rose to #1 on Amazon and The New York Times Bestseller List. Why is it so popular? Because it contains tools and exercises that help you design and move toward goals using small, concrete actions. While it’s not strictly a job search book, there is a big focus on how to improve your career and how your happiness and satisfaction at work ties to the other dimensions of your life. We love how the authors apply design thinking principles to the job search, as we firmly believe there is no way to find out what you want to do without trying different things.  

2. The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster – almost every job seeker struggles with networking at some point. After coaching hundreds of MBA students trying to land jobs, this book’s author Steve Dalton came up with a system to make the process of networking clearer and easier to execute. We appreciate his explanation about why a networking approach to your job search is so critical and how he breaks the process into very precise, actionable steps. We don’t agree with all of his advice, as we think networking inherently has some grey areas and judgement calls and following a prescriptive process like the one he outlines doesn’t allow for that. But as long as you take that part with a grain of salt, we think he shares some great advice and the book is a revealing look at how the hiring process has changed, why the current system is broken, and what you can do about it.

3. StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Anyone who’s worked with us knows we am a big fan of Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment. This is the companion book, and is a great resource in addition to the materials you receive through the online assessment (the book includes a code that allows you to take the assessment). It includes descriptions of all 34 strengths as well as action steps you can take to better utilize yours. Knowing your core strengths is the foundation of any job search, so if you don’t yet feel solid on that, this is a great place to start.

4. Pivot – If “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up” is a statement that’s ever resonated for you, you’ll probably like this one! It’s centered around the philosophy that change happens through small steps, not through big leaps, and that taking some action is the key to avoid getting stuck, and it has lots of exercises and activities that will help get you moving toward your next step. Jenny Blake, the author, is known for working with millennials and is one herself, so if you fall into that category you may especially appreciate this one.

5. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success – understanding what motivates people is important as you navigate the job search process: today more than ever, to get a job you are fundamentally reliant on people’s willingness to help you. Adam Grant, a Wharton Professor and researcher, explains how we all fall into one of three categories: “givers”, who help others without regard to their own benefit; “takers”, who take from others without feeling obligated to give something in return, and “matchers”, who give only if they anticipate the favor will be returned. If you’ve ever thought about karma in the job search and networking process or wondered why some people are so helpful to you while others can’t seem to be bothered, we highly recommend this book. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is another classic book about human behavior if you want more on this topic.

There are so many books out there about career and job searching; some are great, some not so much. We like these because we find them both helpful and interesting to read, and we’d love to hear what you think of them and which others have had an impact on you.

Happy holidays, and happy reading!

Are you thinking about making a change in the new year? Sign up to learn when our next Job Search Bootcamp group coaching program kicks off! Get everything you need to launch a strong search, with accountability and support built in.

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