10 Books To Start Your Career After Graduation

A lot of new degree holders flounder, because they don't have the proper tools to help them succeed in a highly competitive job market. If you want to get the jump on success, it's essential that you read the right books to start your career after graduation.

When you wrap up the last of your finals and walk across the stage with the rest of your class, you enter a confusing and frightening transitional period. You're no longer a student, but a job candidate, and you have to learn to speak and behave like a qualified, competent member of the workforce. It's OK to not feel confident, so long as you pretend otherwise. As a recent graduate, you have to fake it 'til you make it.

Of course, the ideal scenario would have you fake as little as possible. New degree holders catch a lot of flak, and have tons of factors working against them, so it's important to sift through the muck and find the positivity, wisdom, inspiration, and guidance you need to succeed.

I know you probably don't want to look at another book all year, but trust me: you need good books to start your career after graduation. Your job search will go a lot smoother if you set out with a well-defined plan and know what you're doing.

1. The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky

If you're heading off to grad school, pick up a copy of this indispensable tome. Karen Kelsky's The Professor Is In lays out what you should do each semester to be ultra-competitive when the time comes to find tenure.

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2. From Graduation to Career Ready in 21 Days: A Guide for English Majors by Alyssa W. Christensen

Greetings, fellow English majors. This one's for you. Don't flap about after college, and don't let anyone tell you that you're only qualified to teach or flip burgers. Go out there and get the job you want with the skills you have.

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3. Springboard by G. Richard Shell

What does "success" mean to you? In Springboard, author G. Richard Shell not only helps you examine everything you've been told about what makes a successful career, but also gives you the tools you need to personalize your career path.

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4. The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins

Unlike the other books on this list, The First 90 Days isn't made for new graduates in particular. Instead, it's intended for anyone going through a transitional period in her professional life.

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5. Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

In Leave Your Mark, personal branding guru Aliza Licht gives you the tools and strategies you need to promote yourself in this brave new — digital — economy.

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6. Do Cool Sh*t by Miki Agrawal

In a world where the number of good ideas available seems to shrink every day, would-be entrepreneurs should pay attention to WILD founder Miki Agrawal's career advice volume, Do Cool Sh*t.

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7. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Do you dream of appearing on Shark Tank or attending TechCrunch Disrupt, but have no idea how to turn your startup idea into a reality? If so, check out Chris Guillebeau's The $100 Startup to get your business booming.

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8. The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth

I was an underachiever until I finished my Gen Eds. I would tell people — not professors, obv — that my Give-a-Sh*t was broken, but really, I was just a lazy kid who didn't think that what she was doing right now would affect her future. Don't be me. Pick up a copy of The Achievement Habit and get yourself on track.

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9. Reinventing You by Dorie Clark

If you graduated with college major regret, Dorie Clark's Reinventing You is the book you need to get turn your life around. This self-help career guide centers on carving out a niche to build your own, unique place in the world.

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10. Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg

You've heard of Sheryl Sandberg's disruptive 2013 book, Lean In, but did you know there's an updated and expanded edition, tailored for college grads? Lean In for Graduates has all the information you need to plot and pace your career launch, with an eye to the future.

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