There are thousands of career books on the market in the self-help category. We often read books about how to achieve something we desire: I want to be 20 lbs lighter, I wish I had a high-paying job, or I want to have less stress in my life. We gravitate to the ideal state and want to read about what it will be like when we get there. I suggest that the best chance for eventually realizing this dream, is to start from where you are today, taking one step at a time. The book you need is the one that gets you started.
Many of us are looking for tips on how to advance in our career, find a new job, or become a better manager. A book with high impact will stress slow but steady improvements, starting with the job or skills that you have right now.
To find the right book, I suggest a quick self assessment:
1) What job do I have today?
Are you an individual contributor or a manager of others? How many years of work experience do you have? What would be the next likely move for you? If you are in an entry-level position, then reading a book intended for C-Suite executives may leave you confused about how to improve productivity and performance in your cubicle tomorrow morning. If you are a mid-level manager, then you already come with a set of your own experiences which may go beyond the author’s recommendations.
2) What problems are you having at work today?
Take some time to study your environment at work. Do you feel your place of employment or the people you are working with are holding you back? Are you holding yourself back? Often our thoughts about others and our work location can give us the biggest tips on what we need to concentrate on personally. How can a personal change impact the way I am viewed or treated at the company? By exploring this line of questioning, you probably can quickly identify what work skills need improvement. If your desk at work looks like my teenage son’s bedroom, search for books about organization, productivity and time management. If you are having trouble connecting to coworkers, search for books on teamwork and continuous improvement. Identify what appears to be an external problem, and then internalize it.
3) What kind of learner am I?
Do you like short stories or thoughtful reads in small print? Do you like the theory or fact-based evidence about success, or would you prefer light stories? Would you enjoy reading about how others achieved success, or do you want the author to talk directly to you? The book that you are most likely to finish, is probably the right purchase for you, even if it is slightly off-topic. You will retain the material and find something to take away, if you enjoyed reading it.
Congratulations! Just by doing this short assessment, you have taken the first step forward in your career. You have identified what you want to work on, and can begin to search book titles. I suggest reading a preview for each book where the title appeals to your situation while keeping in mind the type of style you desire. Most booksellers allow you to read the first few pages for free, and you can determine the style, tempo and subject matter from what the author leads with in the first few pages. That is how I wrote my book. If the preview is short and to the point, the book will be to. If the preview is personable or thought provoking, so will be the next 20 chapters.
Good luck and connect with me online!
About Joyce Jarek:
Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates. She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html