By Linda Van Valkenburgh, CCMC, CJSS
Being proactive over the summer will put you in good stead when the fall hiring season starts.  Taking steps to advance your search now can make all of the difference and give you a leg up! One way to do this is by reading.  So I have compiled a reading list of 3 books that are valuable reading to bring to the beach, the park, on a family visit or wherever your summer plans take you.

The first book is Called “Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It” by Peggy Klaus.  For those of you who find it difficult to talk about yourselves to let people know about your accomplishments and other career highlights, this is the book for you! I have often said that the workplace as we have known it is gone and that we have to become the masters of our careers. No longer do we work for companies and get the proverbial pocket watch at the end during an emotional retirement dinner. The only emotion left today happens when you are stunned by the words, “Sorry, but we have to let you go.” So who is going to speak up for you out in the workplace and the world, if not you? Peggy Klaus’ answer is to “start thinking like an entrepreneur and start bragging about your most valuable product: you!”

Ms. Klaus starts by writing about the myths that keep people from promoting themselves such as “modesty is a virtue” or “if I brag about others, they will brag about me.” The answers she provides are helpful in overcoming these types of things that hold us back.  As she puts it “bragging is about becoming more of who you are and bringing forward your best parts with authenticity, pride and enthusiasm. It’s about telling your story in a way that showcases your strengths. It’s a way of building a bridge to others and to better opportunities.”  How many times have I told you about telling stories to hiring managers to convey your core expertise and how it can help solve the problems of the company with which you are interviewing? By changing the way that you think about bragging, Ms. Klaus takes the agony out of it and turns it into a tool so you can convey your message with sincerity and ease. You will learn how to create a “brag bag” filled with “brag bites” and “bragologues,” short or long stories that you use as appropriate to the situation at hand.  This book is an enjoyable, easy read filled with valuable information that you can use in search and in life in general. Start with yourself and disseminate the information down to your kids. Everyone can benefit from learning how to “brag” about themselves in the correct manner!

The next book that I put on your reading list is entitled, “Never Eat Alone And Other Secrets To Success, One Relationship At A Time,” by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz.  This is one of the consummate books on networking and relationship building. Another easy, enjoyable read, Ferrazzi shares the fruits of his expertise with informative, concrete examples to help you take the concepts and incorporate them into your everyday life. He shows you how to create valuable relationships and to nurture them with the “secret to success” which, according to Ferrazzi, is “generosity.” For “… its value in the world of networks is proven.”  Ferrazzi sums up his version of connecting as “… a constant process of giving and receiving – of asking for and offering help. By putting people in contact with one another, by giving your time and expertise and sharing them freely, the pie gets bigger for everyone.”  One statement that he makes is often hard for some people to do. As Ferrazzi puts it “You’ve got to be more than willing to accept generosity. Often, you’ve got to go out and ask for it.” This is where many people go wrong and Ferrazzi shows you how to improve in this type of situation and why.

As Peggy Klaus mentioned in her book, Keith Ferrazzi also mentions that where generosity in the past was found at the company you worked for, today it is found in the network that you nurture to help you promote you! Throughout the book, there are fascinating examples of famous people and the way that connecting to others helped make them successful. Reading about Bill Clinton and Michael Milken, among others, will help synthesize the concepts that Ferrazzi brings to light.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, however, if you struggle with networking, connecting with people and would rather die than reach out, this book can change your life. Read it and be transformed!

Saving the best for last, I also recommend that you read the book “The Twitter Job Search Guide, Find A Job and Advance Your Career In Just 15 Minutes A Day.” Written by Susan Britton Whitcomb, Chandlee Bryan and Deb Dib, here you have a bible on how to use Twitter in job search. These three authors have come together to take you on a tour of Twitter, explaining in detail, the nuts and bolts of Twitter. I cannot stress enough that Twitter is one of the most important social media channels out there. With learning about how to create your Twitter handle, your Bio in 160 characters, to tweeting in 140 characters, following people, tweeting and a whole host of other tips and tidbits, you go from newbie to intermediate and beyond in using this valuable job search tool.  As I have mentioned in the past, you cannot ignore Twitter when millions of jobs are being tweeted on a regular basis on this social media medium. This book provides you with information on using hashtags, creating tweets, following your targeted companies, using Twitter for job leads and more.  Whitcomb and her colleagues show how you can do all of this and devote 15 minutes a day, not 15 hours as some people mistakenly think. I require my clients to use this book as a resource. I tell them to continually go back as they a work on becoming a savvy tweeter.

So here you have it. Three books that provide valuable information for your job search that are also enjoyable, entertaining quick reads.  Bring them to the beach or wherever you go to relax and recharge and you will accelerate you search to the next level at lightning speed.

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in your career search, please contact me at [email protected] or 203-323-9977.

Every success!