When college students graduate, after four years of intense reading and writing, the last thing they want to do is pick up a book.
In fact, many students never pick up a book again, which can be detrimental to their post-grad career. There are plenty of books written about career advancement and how to survive after college, many of which can offer advice and inspiration to college graduates trying to find their way in the real world.
Here are 5 books new grads should read for career success:
1. What Color is Your Parachute by Richard N. Bolles
It’s not a book about jumping out of an airplane (the appropriate title for that would be God, I Hope I Have My Parachute), but instead it’s about developing goals and learning about what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s almost like a career journal. The best part is that it’s time-tested: It’s been helping college graduates for more than 40 years, coming out with new editions annually.
2. What Should I Do With My Life by Po Bronson
Whoa. Kind of a heavy question for a book title. But the cool thing about this book is that, through individual stories, it helps readers understand that not everyone knows exactly what they want to do fresh out of college or high school. Sometimes, it’s just life experience that shapes people and how they get to where they are.
3. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
One thing your college or university might not teach you is how to network. They educate you in the ways of book-smarts and facts, but when it comes to having relationships with people, that’s not always on the agenda. This book is out to supplement that education.
4. Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger
If you like taking personality tests and quizzes, then this is the book for you. Do What You Are’s aim is to help people identify their personality types and from there discover what jobs for which they may be suited.
5. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Sure, it’s a children’s book, but it offers a lot of amazing adult advice (plus, it’s short!). What’s written can be applied to most any career situation, and it also helps post-grads get out of the “college bubble” their university often unintentionally puts them in.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
It’s good to humble yourself and remember that when you graduate, there are thousands of college graduates in the same boat out there, vying for the same entry-level positions as you.
Not all of a college graduate’s career questions will be answered in a book, but continuing to read and educate yourself after graduation helps propel you in the right direction toward self-discovery. Remember, that after college, the educational journey isn’t over—it’s never over.
Megan McLachlan writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a career and education resource for individuals interested in getting started in a criminal justice career and featuring interviews with law enforcement professionals and school reviews by students.