Choosing a career for the first time or changing careers is often unsettling and exciting. With so many people redefining their career goals, we are constantly bombarded by advice and information about how to make good career choices. Still, many patrons have asked me what I see as the best book or the best resource for career planning. My answer is always: It depends. You need to find the one that works for you.
Here are some favorites of mine and my clients, along with some hints on deciding whether or not these are the right resources for you:
The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore
This is my favorite. Nicholas Lore writes in a clear, down-to-earth style that is encouraging without the pep rally in print feeling. He also strikes a good balance between activities and homework for the reader—including a self-assessment. If you are looking for a no-nonsense career planning guide to get you started, this is an excellent choice.
What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles
This is the career book almost everyone knows about. Richard Nelson Bolles self-published this book in 1970 in an effort to fulfill a need he saw for practical job-hunting books after his own brush with unemployment. It is now purchased by over 20,000 people per month. Maybe there's a lesson in here for the rest of us. While What Color Is Your Parachute? is beloved by many readers and remains a classic in the career development world, it is important to remember that Bolles views career development as a spiritual process. If your faith is an integral part of your career decision-making process or if you see career decision-making as a spiritual process, this could be a terrific book for you.
Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger
If you have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and are interested in finding out more about which careers could be a good fit for your personality type, this is a great resource for ideas. (We currently offer an electronic edition of this book in addition to our print volumes.)
Launching the Right Career by Kate Wendleton
Like all of The Five O'Clock Club's books, this one purports to be about the job search, but it includes a lot of helpful self-assessment exercises in addition to the tips on networking, resume writing, and interviewing skills.