By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Summer is great time to catch up on your reading list. If you are not working, either by choice or not, gaining perspective from other professionals is one of the best ways to hone your skills. Add a few of these recommended titles to your summer reading list and beef up your job skills for today’s marketplace.

Keeping Good People by Roger E. Herman

This book may be geared toward employers and managers rather than employees but seeking the kind of company that cares about employee retention can be just as critical for the employee. The other side of this is, of course, becoming one of those “good people” that a company would want to keep! What qualities do you have that the companies in your industry are looking for?

Reading this book also helps you look for indicators at a company as to whether or not they understand employee turnover including why it happens and what they, as a company, can do to fix it.

To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink

Even if your profession has nothing to do with sales, you have to “sell” something at some point. Whether or not you’re selling your boss on an idea or selling a new process to your coworkers, you have to get buy-in from other people. Daniel H. Pink’s book gives tips for selling anything which can also help during your interview process. In many ways, you are selling your new employer on your skills and personality as being a good fit for their office.

Forbes suggested this book on their list of summer reading.

How Will You Measure Your Life?

This book was co-written by Clayton M. Christen, Karen Dillon, and James Allworth is more than a career book- it is a book for your life. This book has been reviewed by Harvard Business Review, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and other highly acclaimed publications that all sing its praise as one of the best books for career oriented individuals. The stories told all have lessons in them that don’t preach but still teach the lesson. Learning from people who have lived through situations you may encounter is a great way to understand real life situations and be as prepared as possible for the outcome.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Principles of this book can be applied to your job seeking endeavors.  Change is not easy and if you are currently a job seeker, you’re obviously making a change! If you are looking for work in the same field your last job was in, consider the concepts in this book to ensure you’re going to be happy at your new job. Finding the issues, seeking motivation, and environmental factors are all key aspects of both a successful business but also a successful career.  Ensuring you are in the right place at the right time isn’t luck, its strategy.

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

This book is a good read regardless of if you are job seeking or you’ve been at your current position for many years. Seeking possibility in difficult situations not only makes you more positive, it transforms your outlook on life.  The words of the first chapter, in fact the title of the chapter, are “It’s All Invented”. Consider that for a moment. It’s ALL invented. When you remember that what the business is doing was, at some, point invented by someone just like you, it seems much less daunting to walk in the building for an interview.This book has the ability to change perspectives as well as lighten your work, personally and professionally.


Summer reading can be just as informative as it can be fun! Pick up some of these picks for insight into the job market and what you can do to better yourself as a job seeker.

Let’s get to work!

– Linda

If you have questions about your executive job search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected].