Navigating your way through your professional life can be tricky at times, especially if you aren’t clear on the direction to take. Some of us venture in one direction only to find out that path wasn’t for us, while others just let life lead us down a road that doesn’t match our strengths and values, but is comfortable enough and pays the bills.
Regardless of where your career journey takes you, you’re bound to hit a bump or two along the way and find yourself in need of a little help. Hiring on a career coach is a great option to get you back on track to reach career nirvana. Or, if you prefer to take the self-discovery approach, there are plenty of great books out there to help guide you.
With that in mind, we put together a list of our top must-read books to find a career you love.
“What Color is your Parachute” has been dubbed the world’s most popular job-hunting guide, now with over 10 million copies sold.
It is published annually and the 2017 version is due out mid-August. “This is the career changers “bible” Discussing everything from discovering your strengths to what to do once you have landed the job. The website is full of information and even offers an assessment to take for only$4.99 for lifetime access,” says career coach Marla J Williams. “Career coaches including myself use this book every year to help guide their clients.”
“One of the books I really like is actually from a Noomii coach, Jessica Manca. It’s called ‘Finding Passion, A Self-Discovery Approach for Navigating Career Crossroads,” says career coach Mary Kruger. “It is laid out well, has easy to use exercises, and Jessica shares some of her own journey moving from a corporate consultant to a coach. I have personally used some of her exercises with my clients.”
“I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was” shows you that there is more to life than what you are getting. “A life without direction is a life without passion” according to author, career counselor and motivational specialist Barbara Sher. This book teaches its readers how to get off the fast track and onto the right track, how to regroup after losing a big dream and how to stop waiting for luck and start creating it.
“Fun, inspiring and very practical for people who are in the idea generation stage of career design,” says career coach Sally Anne Giedrys.
Also written by bestselling author Barbara Sher, “Refuse to Choose” affirms that not all of us are programmed to follow just one career path. Barbara refers to them as ‘Scanners”—people whose unique type of mind does not zero in on a single interest but rather scans the horizon, eager to explore everything they see.
“Refuse to Choose is focused on people who have multiple interests, skills and talents. Her message (one that very much resonates with me and a lot of folks I work with) is that you don’t have to find that one thing—you can embrace your desire not to choose and still build a career you love. Great for people who like the creative or portfolio career idea.
“Becoming a Life Change Artist,” written by Fred Mandell and Kathleen Jordan, is “an innovative approach to reinventing yourself at any stage of life.” According to the pair, there are seven key strengths that the most creative minds in history shared. They believe that anyone rethinking their future can cultivate to change their life effectively by “preparing the brain to undertake creative work, seeing the world and one’s life from new perspectives, using context to understand the facets of one’s life, embracing uncertainty, taking risks, collaborating and applying discipline.”
“Inspiring stories and practical exercises to get you thinking differently about what’s next.” Sally Anne says.
In “Finding Your Own North Star,” author and life coach Martha Beck shares her step-by-step program that teaches you how to “read your internal compasses, articulate your core desires, identify and repair the unconscious beliefs that may be blocking your progress, nurture your intuition, and cultivate your dreams from the first magical flicker of an idea through the planning and implementation of a more satisfying life.”
The book includes tested case studies, questionnaires and exercises to help you find your own North Star.
“A deep dive into what you really want and how to get it, with humor, wisdom and helpful journaling exercises,” says Sally.
In “A Whole New Mind,” bestselling author Daniel H. Pink explains that the era of “left brain” dominance is now giving way to a future where the creative and innovative “right brain” prevails.
“This book is wonderful for getting people to think differently about their skillset and how to cultivate valuable skills for the new world of work,” says Sally.
Written by one of our writers, career coach Kathleen Murray, “Love it or Leave It” is the perfect book for you if you didn’t feel like getting up and going to work this morning, if you’ve been cruising social media a little too often during the work day to kill him and your depleted energy about your job is affecting your home life.
“I hope my story will help you understand why I love the challenge of helping people get out of passionless jobs. And my story, interestingly enough, begins with a career that I truly loved,” Kathleen says.
In “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women,” author Valeria Young uncovers the reasons why successful women often suffer from the “imposter syndrome”—the belief that they aren’t deserving of their professional titles, that their accomplishments came from luck and not skill and that they are imposters in their own lives and careers.
“Data, validation and strategies related to the insecurity and “imposter complex” that many professional women struggle with. It’s not a traditional career book, but I recommend it to book to nearly every woman I work with because it’s so often a part of designing work (and a life) you love,” says Sally Anne.
In “Body of Work,” author Pamela Slim gives readers the tools needed to pave your own career path in this new world of work where having a stable career is now a rarity. Pamela shows us “how to find the connections among diverse accomplishments, sell your story, and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.”
“Smart primers for anyone wanting to navigate today’s ever-changing work landscape,” coach Sally Anne says.
Kristen is the editor and community manager at Noomii.com and the Noomii Career Blog. Kristen's desire to ask questions and share information with others led her to pursue journalism. While she has worked at various publications, covering everything from municipal politics to local restaurants, it was her love of self-improvement and sharing inspiration with others that made Noomii the perfect fit. Connect with Kristen on Twitter and LinkedIn.