The beginning of a calendar year is a great time to give your career management efforts a bit of extra attention. That’s even truer for those whose performance reviews happen on a calendar year cycle. Get your résumé or CV out and make sure it reflects your professional achievements from the past year.
Make some personal and career development goals for the coming year and a plan for achieving them. You may elect to call these New Year’s resolutions, but if you’re like many of us who have forgotten our resolutions by the time we turn our calendars to March, let’s agree that these goals are something a little bit different.
As it has been noted on this blog and others, reading, reading, and more reading is always a valuable career management effort. So allow me to recommend some books to add to your reading list.
Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
You can’t be all things to all people (or all employers for that matter) so it makes sense to identify your relative strengths and build your personal brand and self-marketing around them. Strengths Finder 2.0 is a tool for identifying the competencies that you are strongest in and provides you with a language for exploring and expressing those strengths. If you happen to manage people or lead teams, you may also find that the way Roth frames the 34 strengths discussed in the book helps you in coaching others.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
If you already intuit that neither the carrot nor the stick are foolproof in their ability to motivate people, then maybe the truth of motivation isn’t as surprising as the title of this book suggests. Nonetheless, this is an easy but potent exploration of the power of intrinsic motivation. I find Pink’s discussion of purpose especially important, and his toolkit is practical and valuable. Incidentally, as part of the toolkit, Pink offers you an additional 15 book recommendations. If you are interested in a taste of the material, watch Pink’s 2009 TED talk.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz
Plenty of career and executive coaches will call this something like “an essential guide to networking,” but don’t let that scare you away. The authors are not teaching you about empty small talk, aggressive hand-shakes, and insincere card exchanges. They walk you through real relationship building that can make a difference to lives, businesses, and careers.
Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant
The good guys don’t have to, and in fact often don’t, finish last. Wharton Professor Adam Grant shares compelling research along with a compelling narrative explaining how and why. This book addresses networking, collaboration, influencing, and a number of other potent soft skills while emphasizing practical pro-social behavior. If you’re intrigued but not convinced, take a look at this Forbes article about “Why Being a ‘Giver’ Is a Smart Career Move.”
Career Success: Navigating the New Work Environment by Kal Ghayur, CFA and Dwight Churchill, CFA
Last but not least, this free e-book from CFA Institute examines a model for career management and planning, and provides lots of tools (i.e., assessments, interviews with leading investment professionals, and case studies) for putting the models to practical use in your career.
Happy reading and let me know what career management and leadership books you’ve found most impactful over the course of your career (so far).
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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