The Best Books to Boost Your Career in 2013
New guides to help you find a job or start a business this year
As part of my job as a career coach and as the Work and Volunteering blogger for Next Avenue, I make it a point to keep up with the latest career books. So to help you get 2013 off to a strong start, I wanted to share my favorite work-related books published in recent months.
One or more of them could help you find a job, start your own business or downshift into semi-retirement this year. Enjoy — and let me know in the comments below this post if you have any other suggestions:
How to Look for a Job
You’re probably pretty familiar with the basics of a job hunt, so I selected two books focusing on using technology shrewdly to land a new position:
100 Conversations for Career Success: Learn to Network, Cold Call, and Tweet Your Way to Your Dream Job! by career coaches Laura M. Labovich and Miriam Salpeter offers advice on everything from the best way to ask for a reference on LinkedIn (don’t wait until you’re in a job search; make the request when your work is fresh in their mind) to crafting a powerful Twitter bio to cold-calling a potential employer. The book includes dozens of practical scripts, templates and outlines to help you land your next job.
(MORE: 50 Books to (Re-)Read at 50)
The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster is an interesting read by Steve Dalton, a senior consultant at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Dalton teaches you how to network your way into job interviews more effectively by leveraging electronic tools, like Excel (to create a list of targets), Google (to gather contact information) and LinkedIn (to determine which companies to pursue). I think the targeted strategies in this book will keep you from wasting time during your hunt and help you find your next position faster.
Sage Career Tips
30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans by Karl Pillemer is not technically a career book. It’s a compilation of life lessons distilled from interviews with more than 1,000 people 65 and older conducted by Pillemer, a gerontologist and professor at Cornell University. (Next Avenue published an article featuring five of the book’s career lessons.) After reading them, I bet you’ll rethink your career and how you’ll want to work in the future. I recommended 30 Lessons to several clients who loved the book, especially because it helped them focus on such “big” questions as: Are you doing work that matters? Should you be spending less time on the job (and more time with family and friends)? My favorite career tip from the book: Embrace a “take a risk” attitude when it comes to making those challenging “time vs. money” choices we all face.
If You Want to Freelance
The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams – On Your Terms by Sara Horowitz, the founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union who was just named a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will show you the ropes of being a free agent. And if you’re thinking about becoming a freelancer or a consultant in 2013, you’ll be in good company. The United States is increasingly becoming a “gig economy”; by some estimates, nearly half of employed Americans will be freelance and temporary workers by 2020. The Freelancer’s Bible has real-world tips on how to set up shop and price your services as well as the best strategies for collecting on delinquent payments. I especially liked its advice on selecting a profitable market: “Match your skills, your metrics and your specialty ideas to what the market needs – not what you think they should need, but what they actually need.”
Be an Entrepreneur
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau, founder of The Art of Non-Conformity blog, makes a compelling case that you no longer need significant start-up capital or a high tolerance for risk to open a business. Guillebeau provides an exciting look into micro-entrepreneurship, filling the book with fascinating examples of people earning at least $50,000 a year who created businesses around doing something they love. I was somewhat skeptical when I first saw the title ($100, really?) but found this book to be well researched and anchored by pragmatic advice. Guillebeau’s a big believer in building new ventures methodically. “One business idea can lead to many others," he writes. "Whenever something is going well, think about offshoots, spin-offs and side-projects that could also bring in income.”
Career Books by Next Avenue Writers
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention three new career books written by Next Avenue writers (I’m one of them):
- Great Jobs For Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy…and Pays the Bills by Kerry Hannon, who writes the weekly Women and Money blog on Next Avenue.
- The Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher, a vice president at Encore.org, the nonprofit think tank with many articles and videos on Next Avenue.
- Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement, the book I wrote that’ll be published Jan. 8.