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Read This First: Best Books For Those Considering a Career Change

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There are plenty of reasons for a career change. Some ditch the corporate job in favor of taking the side hustle full-time. Others choose new careers based on earnings potential, and there are those who need to make difficult choices post-layoff. Whatever the reason, you’re not alone. More than 6 million people – or 4 percent of the workforce – switch occupations each year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help you prepare for the major life event, look at the career data, network with those in your desired field, and read up. Here are four books to provide inspiration and actionable tips for a smooth and successful transition.

“Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One” by Jenny Blake

Written by a career coach and former Google employee, Blake specializes in helping people move beyond burnout to build sustainable careers they love. Blake designed a four-stage process (the Pivot Method) to provide a tangible roadmap for your career future. She does this my helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses and figure out what opportunities exist to bridge the gap between your current career (or lack thereof) and your ideal landing spot. The book is quick read and provides practical and actionable tips for those who are considering a change regardless of the reason.

“New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career” by Alexandra Levit

If you know you need a new career, or are looking to make big job switch, but haven’t been able to put the pieces together to figure out HOW to do it, this is the handbook for you. Wall Street Journal columnist Alexandra Levit interviewed dozens of people who switched careers, and the book weaves in their stories with larger life lessons. The takeaway is that it’s never too late to start a new path. But while many books also sell that notion, Levit provides actionable information, including financial planning advice and networking tips, to help you make the leap with confidence. The personal stories are also empowering, and includes a large representation of people in varying age groups and income levels.

“Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

When people say, “you should do the thing you love,” do you wrinkle your nose because you aren’t 100 percent sure what that is? This book is for those that haven’t yet identified their passion project (nearly 80 percent of us, according to research). The authors, Silicon Valley veterans who co-founded Stanford’s Life Design Lab, argue that we aren’t born with a passion, rather it’s a learned experience. The book, part art, science, and data-supported tips, provides a spark to help you navigate a path towards a better version of your career.

“What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018” by Richard N. Bolles

While the book has been around for more than 40 years (and is a perennial best-seller), it’s updated annually to reflect changes in the job market, social networking and career trends. What it retains is the sense that you have a guru at your side guiding you through a taxing process. Bolles, who died in 2017, was a former Episcopalian priest who found it difficult changing careers, so he wrote a book to share the knowledge he gained. He organized the book with self-discovery tools such as the flower exercise (to uncover your seven different sides), practical job advice, and chapters about emotional support and leading a purpose-driven life.