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Add the best books for a career change to your reading list

November 11, 2022 - 17 min read


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Here’s what changing careers means

6 books for insights to changing careers

If you want to advance your career, these books might provide some help

Consider these last career change tips 

Your next move

If you’ve never had a career change before, it’s understandable to feel intimidated. But you should recognize that opening yourself up to new opportunities is also exciting. 

Being more informed about your upcoming change might help limit any new job jitters. And one way to do that is by reading the right. 

Reading exposes you to new vocabulary, teaches you world knowledge, and improves your verbal skills. Studies show that reading reduces stress — and it’s no secret that the job search is stressful. Coupling the benefits of stress reduction of reading with being more informed about your new field, this is the perfect way to prepare.

Reading the best books for a career change gives you insight into what lies ahead. You’ll learn how others navigated this journey, some mistakes to avoid, and tips to carry along the way. Let the best books on finding your career path serve as a roadmap to guide you through uncertainty.


Here’s what changing careers means

If you’ve decided that a career change would be the best thing for you, congratulations. That’s a huge decision to help you live a more meaningful life. The benefits of finding a new career span across your personal and professional life, impacting how you view your work, how you spend your free time, and your mental well-being. 

If your career change demands going back to school, don’t worry — people of all ages return for the education their dream careers require. Studies have found that 38% of today’s college students are older than 25, showing that it’s never too late to go back to school, and it’s certainly never too late to pursue your passions.

Going back to school means that you’re ready to make your dreams a reality, even if it means spending a couple of years working toward your education. But all that effort is worth it if it means you’ll find a career that fills you with joy and purpose. 

Regardless of why you’re doing it, here are four benefits of changing careers:

  1. Improved self-awareness and a better understanding of your values and needs

  2. Greater career development and professional experience

  3. Better work-life balance that allows you to enjoy your personal life and pursue your professional goals

  4. Less stress at work and greater well-being because you find the work more fulfilling

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6 books for insights to changing careers

Some of the best books for career development are also the best books to find your career if you’re unsure of your direction.  

Here are six books to help you with your career change:

1. Designing your life: How to build a well-lived, joyful life

By: Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

This book aims to explain how “design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are.” If you’re looking to learn how to view your career and life with a perspective that values creativity, incorporates technology, and welcomes problem-solving techniques, this is a must-read.


2. The pathfinder: How to choose or change your career for a lifetime of satisfaction and success

By: Nicholas Lore

You could feel lost as far as what career path is best for you and unsure what of direction to take. Lore’s book offers over 100 self-tests and diagnostic tools that’ll give you more clarity for your career change and help you find a new perspective. It’ll give you insight into why your current career isn’t fulfilling and teach you how to develop a more positive attitude toward your professional life.


3. Switchers: How smart professionals change careers—and seize success

By: Dr. Dawn Graham

Dr. Graham’s book champions career switchers and encourages you to find a career that’s passionate and fulfilling for you. This book discusses psychological theories, provides exercises to practice, and shares inspiring stories of others who have switched careers. You’ll read a guide that “will help you pull off the most daring — and fulfilling — career move of your life.” Insights cover better resume crafting, describing transferable skills, how to ace job interviews and more.


4. Pivot: The art and science of reinventing your career and life

By: Adam Markel

This book will resonate with you if you’re trying to connect with your real self. Markel’s book will guide you as you strengthen your self-knowledge by giving you exercises and prompts to practice. You’ll learn how to banish your limiting beliefs and pivot toward a greater sense of clarity. The key takeaway from this book is that you can take charge of your life and uncover what your true potential is at any time.


5. Career change: Stop hating your job, discover what you really want to do with your life, and start doing it!

By: Joanna Penn

If you ask yourself questions like, “Am I sick of my job?” or “What should I do with my life?” this book will come in handy. It’ll teach you that you don’t have to settle for a job you hate and how to change your situation. As author Joanna Penn puts it, “life is too short to just exist on the edge of a breakdown, and there is a better way of living.” This book also features some bonus articles and case studies to give you more insight into how to change your career.

6. The quarter-life breakthrough

By: Adam Smiley Poswolsky

Take a moment to think about what kind of questions you ask yourself about your career. Author Adam Smiley Poswolsky asked himself big questions and realized that it didn’t matter how well his job paid him if it made him miserable. You could be feeling the same, and a career change would be the best option for you.

Let this book help you answer “How do I find meaning in my workplace?” and find inspiring advice to help you break free from a career that’s holding you back.


If you want to advance your career, these books might provide some help

Advancing your career demands similar skills and steps. Luckily, there are plenty of books about that available. These books will help you develop strategies to climb whatever ladder you face in your industry. 

Plus, some of these are the best books for career hardship since you’ll inevitably face challenges as you try to advance your career. You’ll learn how to handle the ups and downs but never give up when faced with adversity.

Here are three books to provide insight into advancing your career:

1. What color is your parachute? A practical manual for job-hunters and career-changers

By: Richard N. Bolles with Katharine Brooks

Author Richard N. Bolles’s 1970s book offers evergreen advice to recent graduates looking for careers that pay well and inspire them. The newest edition, with words by Katharine Brooks, has been revised to include up-to-date information about the economy and modern obstacles that recent grads may face. Pick up advice on job hunting strategies, how to make the most of social media tools, and what it takes to ace job interviews.


2. Do what you are: Discover the perfect career for you through the secrets of personality type

By: Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger

Newly updated and revised, Do What You Are introduces you to Personality Type, which is a self-test to learn how you process information, interact with others and the world, and make decisions. This information will help you complete the workbook exercises that instruct how to use your strengths while job hunting. You’ll learn what career paths are best for you based on your personality type, as well as how to lead a more purposeful professional life.


3. StrengthsFinder 2.0 from Gallup and Tom Rath: Discover your CliftonStrengths

By: Don Clifton

What are your natural talents? They’re what you’ve always excelled at but never explored. Author Don Clifton’s book explains how “we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths,” and he wants to change that. Using Gallup’s StrengthFinger 2.0, you’ll take an assessment that narrows down your strengths. And after, you’ll finish the book by learning strategies for applying those strengths.


Consider these last career change tips 

You can absorb a lot from career change books, and identifying what your greatest skills are or discovering what type of job fits your dream life are valuable to learn. But if you experience an information overload, it might seem overwhelming or impossible to absorb.

If you need a break from reading or want to take it slowly, here are four other tips to consider that’ll help you look for a new career:

  1. Welcome learning opportunities to update your skills and expand your industry knowledge

  2. Cruise around LinkedIn and organize informational interviews with people who work at companies you’re interested in

  3. Set clear, practical goals that serve you on a short and long-term basis

  4. Go on a self-discovery journey to learn what’s meaningful to you and how your new career will honor that

Keeping these tips at the forefront of your job search alongside anything you learn from these books about career change will help you make the best decision for you.

Your next move

The best books for a career change will empower you along your journey. It might be scary, but reading these books will help you see that you aren’t alone in your decision to advance your career. 

Whether you’re making a career change at 50, before that, or after, there will always be books to help guide you through the process. Just remember to look for new books with an open mind and excitement about this new chapter of your life.

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Published November 11, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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