9 books everyone looking for a job should read

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Whether you’re just starting out in your career or making a transition, odds are there’s some part of the job search process that’s at least a little mystifying.

From interviewing to negotiating your salary, there are a lot of factors at play when looking for a new job, and one mistake could put the kibosh on the whole thing.

To master the art of the job search, here are nine books that can guide you through the process:

Richard N. Bolles' 'What Colour is Your Parachute?'

Great book for: getting started

If you're only going to read one book on the list, you may want to choose this one. Why? It covers a little about everything when it comes to a job search.

The first half of the book talks about how to create an eye-catching résumé and cover letter, as well as how to improve your networking, interviewing, and negotiating skills, while the second half focuses on how to find your ideal career.

Find it here »

David Allen's 'Getting Things Done'


Great book for: staying organised in your job search

Considering all the moving parts that come with getting a new job, this book is a must-read because it teaches you the basics of time management and organisation.

It can also help you through the transition of finding a new job by teaching you how to reassess goals and stay focused.

Find it here »

Dale Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends & Influence People'


Great book for: networking

There are a number of lessons you can learn from Carnegie's classic that will help you in your personal and professional lives. Importantly, especially when it comes to networking (and also the job interview), you'll learn how to make people like you and win them over to your side.

Carnegie's advice focuses on maximizing your interactions with other people, and he instructs readers, for example, to encourage people to talk about themselves, instead of dominating the conversation, emphasising the things you both agree on.

Find it here »

Danny Rubin's 'Wait, How Do I Write This Email?'

Great book for: writing anything career-related

Don't let the title of this book deceive you -- 'Wait, How Do I Write This Email?' is not just about writing professional-sounding emails -- though, yes, it does include practical tips for that, too.

The book covers just about any job search situation you can think of that involves a written component, from crafting LinkedIn profiles, résumés, and cover letters to soliciting a referral or career guidance. Even if you'd never written a word in your life, this book could help you pass for the most competent professional out there.

Find it here »

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's 'The Elements of Style'

Great book for: editing your cover letter and résumé

One of the biggest faux pas you can make in your job search is sending out a résumé or cover letter rife with grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

Strunk and White's classic grammar book will help anyone drastically improve their mastery of the written word.

From commonly misspelled words to grammar and punctuation, you'll find all the answers in this concise and entertaining read.

Find it here »

Steve Dalton's 'The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster'

Great book for: getting the first interview

The book offers practical tips for how to wade through the sea of internet job postings.

You'll learn how to complete three important steps in very little time using Excel, Google, LinkedIn, and alumni databases: Prioritise your target employers, contact them, and recruit people to provide you with internal referrals.

Find it here »

Michael Port's 'Steal the Show'

Great book for: interviewing

You may not need a whole book to prepare you for the kinds of questions you might hear in a job interview. You can easily check out Glassdoor or articles about interview questions for that.

What's more important is figuring out how to convey with maximum impact that you're the best person for the job. This book can help you with that.

According to the author, every interaction is a performance, including the job interview, and as a job seeker, you have to persuade and motivate people to hire you. This book shares practical advice for shining during even the most nerve-wracking interview.

Find it here »

Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton's 'Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In'


Great book for: getting the job

This 30-year-old book is a great primer for going into any negotiation.

Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, this classic offers practical steps for negotiating, including key takeaways like understanding your counter-party's interests well.

Find it here »

Lewis Lin and Christine Ko's 'Five Minutes to a Higher Salary'

Great book for: negotiating your salary and benefits

Understanding the theory behind salary negotiation is one thing, but putting it into practice is often easier said than done.

The book's authors, who are salary negotiation experts, offer scripts with the exact words you can use to phrase your request for more than 60 negotiation scenarios, taking much of the pain out of negotiating.

Find it here »

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