This commencement season might find you honoring a graduate who has yet to find a job, leaving him or her with time (and no money) to burn this summer. While spare change is always well-received, consider instead giving the gift of a good business or job search book. Something quick to read and relevant will be appreciated by new high school and college graduates alike, and remains useful long after the green stuff has disappeared from its envelope.
A few to consider:
Talent Is Overrated: What Really separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. Not every incredible performer was born that way. Discipline and smart practice make all the difference. A gifted actor, accountant, cook or chief executive achieves nothing without deliberate hard work. And if you are less than gifted in the thing you love? Go for it, anyway. Colvin shows how anyone with the will to work smart can be a world-class success.
The Gospel of Good Success by Kirbyjon H. Caldwell. According to Caldwell, true success in work and life comes from combining spirituality with action. This fast-track-stockbroker-turned-pastor has a critical message and common-sense tone that will resonate with new grads.
You Majored in What? by Catherine Brooks. “Embrace the chaos,” says Brooks. I love that. In this job market, I think Brooks is right on. As a new graduate, you don’t have to know where you will be in ten years; the job you will be in then might not even exist yet. You just have to be open to recognizing opportunities as you find them.
How to Keep Your Job in a Tough Market by Michael Kitson. Good ideas for new grads lucky enough to be working. Now that you have a job, figure out how to keep it.
Another good book along these lines is They Don’t Teach Corporate in College by Alexandra Levit. This one is current and relevant and includes everything “kids” today need to know about navigating the adult working world they’re becoming a part of, in a casual voice young adults will appreciate.
Giving books is better when you add your own flair. Consider tucking into the cover a top-ten list of your own insights. Job search, career success, and how-to-do-laundry lists are all popular and make a book gift more personal and fun. Whether your new graduate is headed to corporate America or the Peace Corps, he or she will thank you later for the books you share today.