It seems like so many aspects of our lives are on hold or have been canceled. Weddings, graduations, long-awaited and well-deserved vacations. The list goes on. With all that being said, it may seem like a horrible time to job search, but I’m here to tell you that it most certainly is not. Wheels you put into motion today could present opportunities down the road. And, believe it or not, there are still a good number of companies hiring right this very moment.
If you started looking for a new job before the pandemic shut down the majority of the country, or if you were unfortunately laid off as a result of it, you can (and should) actively engage in a job search.
Of course, finding a gig that’s a great fit for you requires some strategy, and that’s truer than ever in the new world we’re living in. To approach your search on the right foot, these 13 books will provide not only tactical action steps, but inspiration that the right job is out there—and well within your ability to get it.
1. Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One By Jenny Blake
In the game of life, there are many possible endings, and it’s easy to get too caught up in what the ultimate outcome will be. Blake, a former training and career development specialist for Google, shows you how to focus on just one step at a time, leveraging your strengths and interests to figure out what the right next step is for you and your career.
2. Reinventing You, With A New Preface: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future By Dorie Clark
It’s okay if you’re not exactly where you want to be in your career—it’s never too late to dig deep and reimagine how you’d like your professional life to play out. Clark’s step-by-step guide includes powerful personal anecdotes and interviews that will help you identify your strengths and build a strong personal brand. Because knowing what you should be doing with your life is hard if you don’t know who you are and what you’re good at.
3. Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life By Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Burnett and Evans strongly believe your career should be crafted in the same way designers develop innovative solutions to problems. In this case, your problem is living a life that leaves you unhappy, frustrated, and bored the majority of the time. This book will help you solve that, step by very actionable step.
4. What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual For Job-Hunters And Career-Changers By Richard N. Bolles
This is one of the most popular job search books in the world—and for very good reason. Inside, you’ll find comprehensive advice on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, networking, and everything else you need to get your ultimate dream job. Plus, it includes a self-inventory activity that will help you identify your transferable skills, true passions, and more.
5. So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion In The Quest For Work You Love By Cal Newport
Contrary to popular belief, Newport posits that “follow your passion” is horrible advice. In fact, he thinks it can lead people astray. So, he spent time with individuals from a variety of industries—like farming, investing, and writing—who truly love the work they do. In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, he outlines the strategies these workers used to get to where they are today, so you can implement them in your own life, too.
6. Do What You Are: Discover The Perfect Career For You Through The Secrets Of Personality Type By Paul Tieger, Kelly Tieger, And Barbara Barron
The results of personality tests are more than just another label. They help you understand yourself (and others) better. Tieger, Tieger, and Barron will help you leverage one of the most famous tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to curate a list of careers that would best fit your personality. And trust me, having that list will make it a whole lot easier for you to narrow down your job search.
7. Knock 'Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide By Martin Yate
As I’m sure you already know, there’s a lot that goes into a job search, from forging meaningful professional connections to crafting well-written resumes and cover letters to expertly answering a slew of interview questions. Yate provides actionable ways for you to tackle each component successfully.
8. Start Now: Because That Meaningful Job Is Out There, Just Waiting For You By Reynold Levy
No matter what your situation is—whether you want to throw your name in for an opportunity at your current company, switch careers completely, or jump back into the workforce after being laid off or fired, this book will walk you through the entire job search process so you can land in a career you love.
9. The Art Of The Interview: The Perfect Answers To Every Interview Question By James Storey
Your (potential) future employers probably won’t ask you to regurgitate the bullet points on your resume. Rather, they’re going to ask a set of questions that’ll help them judge whether or not you’re right for the job. And while you can’t predict every single question, Storey will equip you with strategies on how to respond to every type, including the dreaded hypothetical situations.
10. The Only Job Search Book You Will Ever Need: Using The Marketing Mix To Rise Above Competition By Curtis Jenkins
The likelihood that you’ll be the only candidate who submits their resume to a job posting is, well, incredibly small. The ability to stand out is crucial. In this book, Jenkins provides you with tips on how to do that. He also explains how to use the four “Ps” of marketing—product, price, place, promotion—to prove that you’re just the candidate they’ve been looking for.
11. Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers—and Seize Success By Dr. Dawn Graham
Changing careers is no easy task, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If there’s a different field or industry that’s calling to you, one that you think fits your skills, interest, and personality better, than you absolutely should. Graham, a psychologist and career coach, will teach you how to get inside the hiring manager’s head, highlight and communicate your transferable skills, transform your personal brand, and so much more.
12. The 2-Hour Job Search, Second Edition: Using Technology To Get The Right Job Faster By Steve Dalton
Efficiency is important, even during quarantine, when we theoretically have more time on our hands (though we working parents would heavily contest that, wouldn’t we?). Nobody likes a long, drawn out job search. So it’s a good thing that Dalton’s book outlines three quick and easy steps to leverage technology and fast track your job search.
13. Art Of The Job Search: A Step-by-step Guide To Finding A Job You Love By Heather Hund
I am a firm believer that your work, for the most part, should excite you. And so is Hund, who interviewed more than 50 Fortune 100 employees for this book. When you read it, you’ll gain top insights on what your career path should look like, becoming more confident in your search, nailing interviews, optimizing your networking strategy, and more.
Finding your dream job requires figuring out the type of thinking you’re best at (your Genius) and the work that’s most meaningful to you (your Purpose). Combined, these create your Zone of Genius. My book will help you figure out these components, which will be endlessly helpful in helping you determine what your next career move will be.
To approach your search on the right foot, these 13 books will provide not only tactical action steps, but inspiration that the right job is out there—and well within your ability to get it.