I remember starting my career after my PhD.
I was lost, uncertain of my own worth in the marketplace, and just generally unaware of what I could do with my degree.
I’ve read a lot of career books, but there are three I’d recommend above all others. They’ve changed my perspective on work and, ultimately, my life.
Here they are.
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What Color is Your Parachute
I first saw this book lying on a friend’s coffee table, and later got a copy for myself. It is, full stop, the best careers book I’ve ever read.
Well, I think it’s the fact that it teaches you to approach job hunting totally differently.
Forget looking at postings, forget dropping resumes into dark holes or ATS scanners, this book has a common-sense guide to choosing your own career.
If you’re starting your career, it has all sorts of great tests to figure out what sort of career would be a great fit, then it teaches you step by step how to approach employers you might want to work for.
Yup, it’s a networking focus. And it’s so shaped my career thinking that a lot of the advice on Roostervane was learned from this book.
Read it. It will change your career.
Linchpin: Are You Indispensible?
Written by one of the best-known marketers of our time, this book makes a simple argument that new grads best listen to.
Education trains you to be totally replaceable, like a cog in a machine. Our paradigms of education come from the industrial age, but society no longer works like the factory.
In a world of people trying to fit into a predictable career and blend in at their jobs, Godin argues that the only way to truly have a great career is to fight that instinct.
The answer, he argues, is to leverage your creativity and individuality to become totally unique.
If you’re starting your career, forget about trying to look like everyone else and follow the advice in this book to become a linchpin.
Graduate to a Great Career
Catherine Kaputa is the branding master credited with inventing the concept of “personal branding,” so it’s not a surprise that her approach to building a career starts with building a brand.
In this book, she teaches how to leverage digital platforms to cultivate “brand you.” The answer is to be intentional and have fun as you explore your identity and how to share it with others, and to “work on your relationship with you.”
She tells lots of stories of how real students built their careers, incorporating their personal brands into the process, and you’ll have a clear sense of how to play the game by the time you’re done.
I totally recommend this book.