100 Inspirational Books Every Job Seeker Should Read

by Staff Writers

During an economic storm in which jobs are disappearing, executives are taking massive pay cuts, and qualified applicants are being turned away from pursuing their careers, handing in your resume might seem like a shot in the dark. These books tell you, "hit them with your best shot." Instead of teaching you to focus on the negative and dwell on the "what-ifs," these motivational books will encourage you to walk into any office, look the manager in the eye and remember that you deserve the opportunity to follow your dreams.


Interview with confidence and class, and be prepared to answer even the toughest questions with the help of these great books.

  1. Winning Job Interviews: by Paul Powers. This book was designed for interviewers, so it powerfully gives the interviewee a look at the other side. Be prepared for any interview question with this book.
  2. Fearless Interviewing: How to Win the Job by Communicating with Confidence: by Marky Stein. Dazzle your interviewers immediately and set the stage for the rest of your perfect interview.
  3. Interviewing: Principles and Practices: by Charles Stewart and William Cash. Offers comprehensive coverage of a wide range of interviews, as well as the most thorough treatment of the basics of interviewing.
  4. Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job: by Tony Beshara. Don't let unemployment zap the spunk out of your interpersonal skills. Go into your interview like a professional, and use the tactics in this book to ace your interview.
  5. 10 Steps to Interviewing With Confidence: by Jeanne Knight. This DVD-book is sure to get the interview butterflies out of your stomach. Go into your interview and knock the ball out of the park with Jeanne Knight at your side.
  6. Instant Interviews: 101 Ways to Get the Best Job of Your Life: by Jeffrey Allen. What are you waiting for? You could be having more fun and more success than you've ever had in your life. Instant Interviews turns you into an interview magnet.
  7. Best Answers to the 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions: by Matthew DeLuca. Ever wondered what to say when a potential employer asks you what your biggest weaknesses are? If you were previously convinced there is no easy answer, this book will change your career forever.
  8. 96 Great Questions to Ask Before You Hire: by Paul Falcone. You probably want a little insight into your interview before you walk through those office doors, so read this book and take a look at yourself through the eyes of your interviewer.
  9. 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions: by Vicky Oliver. Be prepared for even the most off-the-wall interview questions with this know-it-all book.
  10. Competency-Based Interviews: Master the Tough New Interview Style And Give Them the Answers That Will Win You the Job: by Robin Kessler. Figure out what the head honchos are looking for, and be the person they need you to be.


Like it or not, much of your success is based on who you know rather than what you know. Link yourself to your fantasy future via use of your natural network.

  1. Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty : The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need : by Harvey Mackay. Learn to make the connections you need before you need them.
  2. Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-how for Business And Career Success: by Anne Baber. You don't have to be best friends with the CEO of the company to get where you want to go. Make use of who you do know by making use of this great book.
  3. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time: by Keith Ferrazzi. This networking bible has everything you need to get where you imagine yourself going.
  4. The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success You Want By Tapping Into the People You Know: by Diane Darling. Extend your web of social and business contacts even further by tapping into the resources you already have.
  5. Guerrilla Networking: A Proven Battle Plan to Attract the Very People You Want to Meet: by Jay Conrad Levinson. The success you reap in life is directly correlated to-not how many people you meet-but rather, how many people want to meet you. Guerrilla Networking is all about "becoming the type of person other people want to meet."
  6. Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job: This book is sure to help you meet the right kind of contacts.
  7. Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day: by Dave Evans. This book will introduce you to the basics, demonstrate how to manage details and describe how you can track results.
  8. Social Networking: The Essence of Innovation: by Jay Liebowitz. Author Jay Liebowitz presents strategies for developing personal knowledge networks; linking social networking to innovation and strategic intelligence; and exploring synergies between knowledge management, business intelligence, and competitive intelligence.
  9. Facebook Marketing: Leverage Social Media to Grow Your Business: by Steve Holzner. Holzner reveals new social marketing techniques that do work, and shows you exactly how to make the most of them.
  10. Social Networking in Plain English: by Lee and Sachi LeFever. Social Networking is changing the way people get things done, by making connections between people visible to others. Common Craft explains in simple and understandable terms how Social Networking works and why it matters.

Effective Communication

You can't spell employment without communication skills. Read these books to learn how to talk, give presentations, interview, and debate like a professional.

  1. Business Communication: by Carol Lehman and Debbie DuFrene. Get the basics of business communication here.
  2. Harvard Business Review on Effective Communication: by Harvard Business School Press. Harvard has one of the top ranking business schools in the country, so read this publication for the best advice.
  3. Business Communication: Process and Product: by Mary Ellen Guffey. It's true that communication skills don't come overnight. If you want to do it right, follow these rules.
  4. Messages: The Communication Skills Book: by Matthew McKay. Avoid miscommunication by reading this book.
  5. People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts : by Robert Bolton. Bolton's self-help guide shows you how to handle the toughest aspects of conversation.
  6. 101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly: by Bennie Bough. Unlike other books, this awesome guide shows you how to make important changes, fast.
  7. The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace: by P. S. Perkins and Les Brown. Indeed, effective communication is an art, and an interpersonal science, and this book has what you need to develop the right techniques.
  8. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High: by Kerry Patterson, et al. The most important interactions you'll have in life will involve huge negotiations, so make sure you put your most powerful words forward.
  9. Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders: by John Baldoni. Learn from the gurus, and follow in their powerful, successful footsteps.
  10. Conversationally Speaking: Tested New Ways to Increase Your Personal and Social Effectiveness: by Alan Garner. The best thing about this book is that its advice is new but just as effective as the older ways of looking at communication.


From your original proposal, you can expect at least one "no" before you reach your final goal. What you do after that "no" can potentially determine the rest of your life, so make sure to negotiate like you mean it.

  1. Bargaining For Advantage : by G. Richard Shell. Get ahead of the game with the right persuasive skills.
  2. 3-D Negotiation : by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius. This book shows you negotiation like you've never seen it before.
  3. The 4-Hour Workweek: by Timothy Ferriss. With this guide, you'll learn everything you need about working "smart, not hard."
  4. I Will Teach You To Be Rich: by Ramit Sethi. Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does buy comfort. This book will help you negotiate the salary you need and deserve.
  5. Secrets of Power Negotiating: by Roger Dawson. If you think you know everything there is to know about negotiating, think again. This book has the true secrets of persuasion.
  6. The Only Negotiating Guide You'll Ever Need: 101 Ways to Win Every Time in Any Situation: by Peter B. Stark and Jane Flaherty. Packed with counterarguments and rebuttals, this shows you how negotiating is like a game of chess–and how to win it.
  7. Fearless Negotiating: The Wish, Want, Walk Method to Reaching Agreements That Work : by Michael Donaldson. Go from wanting to having, from thinking to doing, with this one of a kind guide.
  8. Harvard Business Essentials Guide to Negotiation: by Harvard Business School Press. If you've never considered yourself a haggler, this book will help you along the first crucial steps from being a push-over to winning the world over.
  9. Getting Past No: by William Ury. You're bound to hear a firm "no" every now and then; it's a simple fact of life. How you handle rejection determines who you are in your career, so learn how to do it right with this book.
  10. Negotiating with Giants: by Peter D. Johnston. Wish you were bigger, better, faster, or stronger? Learn how to command the attention of whatever audience you face with this expert book.
  11. Getting to Yes: by Roger Fisher. Whether in your career, in your family, or in your friendships, learn to negotiate without giving in.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Don't be afraid to put your ideas out there. Use these books to show you how to cultivate your dreams and imaginings, then turn them into plans that make sense.

  1. Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures: by Bruce Barringer and Duane Ireland. Your plan is moot if you can't launch it correctly, so use this book to make sure your bases are covered.
  2. Innovation and Entrepreneurship: by Peter Drucker. Business guru Peter Drucker does it again with this one-stop business guide. Not only can his books be applied to everyday life, they should.
  3. Entrepreneurship for Dummies: by Dr. Kathleen Allen Ph.D. This guide is great for readers with little business experience who need to know how to turn an idea into cash.
  4. Entrepreneurship: A Process Perspective: by Robert A. Baron and Scott Shane. Again, success doesn't grow on trees, and even if it did, it might take years to blossom. Learn to be patient yet optimistic with the help of this book.
  5. The Art of Innovation: by Tom Kelley and Johnathan Littman. If change is an art, this book makes you Van Gogh. Learn how to control your craft, and then how to share it with the world.
  6. Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking: by Tim Hurson. An innovation starts as a thought, and only becomes a reality after the thought has enough power to take flight. This book will show you how to give your idea wings.
  7. The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation: by A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan. This book is great for readers who have already found a bit of success but want to take their product or idea to the next level.
  8. Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques: by Michael Michalko. Although it can be argued that creativity is natural and cannot be learned, this business must-have will fine tune your creative energy and show you what to do with it.
  9. Managing Creativity and Innovation: by Harvard Business School Press. Like its title implies, this book doesn't pretend to teach you how to become an innovator, but rather what to do with it once you get started.

Personal Finance

Without work often means without pay. Control your pocketbook, and don't let unemployment get the best of you.

  1. Your Money or Your Life: by Joel Dominguez & Vicki Robin. Make the right financial decisions with this book's help.
  2. The Millionaire Next Door: by Thomas Stanley & William Danko. Coveting his car, clothes or mansion? Learn how to get where you want to be by observing those who have reached success.
  3. The Boglehead's Guide to Investing: by Taylor Larimore, et al. Take control of your finances, even if it seems like an overwhelming concept. This book will get you started and keep you going.
  4. Fail-Safe Investing: by Harry Browne. Scared about investment risks? Investing should have your respect, not your fear.
  5. Work Less, Live More: by Bob Clyatt. You don't have to be slave to your career. Strike a healthy balance with this great book.
  6. It's Not About the Money: by Brent Kessel. At the end of the day, there are simply more important things in life than striking oil. Keep life in perspective with the help of this guide.
  7. Accounting Made Simple: by Mike Piper. Sure, most people go through years of school to become accountants, but anyone can learn the basics–even you.
  8. Essentials of Accounting: by Robert N. Anthony and Leslie K. Breitner. These fundamentals are everything you need to get you headed for a balanced checkbook.
  9. The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Finance: by Robert A. Cooke. Devote three days to your financial future with this guidebook and workshop in one.
  10. How to Read a Financial Report: by John A. Tracy. Sooner or later, every adult is going to have to conquer the conundrum of report reading. This book will get you started.

Management Skills

Even the most desperate job seekers don't want to settle for less than they deserve. Let your managerial skills flourish and get a management position that pays with the help of these books.

  1. The Unwritten Laws of Business: by W.J. King. This etiquette and professionalism guideline will undoubtedly improve your managerial and relational skills.
  2. First, Break All the Rules: by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman. A nonconformist view of managing and building relationships.
  3. 12: Elements of Great Managing: by Rodd Wagner & James Harter. Look at the key characteristics of successful managing in today's work environment.
  4. Growing Great Employees: by Erika Andersen. Hire the right people, then develop them into your star employees.
  5. Hiring Smart: by Pierre Mornell. This is another great guide for conducting the best and most productive interviews.
  6. The Essential Drucker: by Peter F. Drucker. Sixty years of managerial skills, all rolled into one, easy-to-read book.
  7. Tribes: by Seth Godin. Lead by using the most basic rules and theories of interpersonal relationships.
  8. The Halo Effect: by Phil Rosenzweig. Read about the nine "business delusions that deceive managers."
  9. The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan: by George Bradt, et al. So, you're in charge…what next? Find out how to make your first 100 days your ultimate advantage.
  10. Judgement: by Noel Tichy & Warren Bennis. Make good calls, and be confident about your decisions with this great guide.


To be successful, you simply cannot let the bad times get you down. Keep your chin up and cultivate that winning attitude to propel you into your brighter, richer future.

  1. Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring: Take Charge of Your Career, Find a Job You Love, and Earn What You Deserve: by Ford Myers. This book maps the new world of job search and reveals essential strategies for your success. You'll learn how to seize opportunities that aren't posted yet, how to make yourself an instant asset to potential employers, how to clearly stand out as the best candidate, and how to leverage social media, blogs, and other Web tools.
  2. The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search: The Proven Program Used by the Worlds Leading Career Services Company: by Orville Pierson. The techniques in this book, developed by author Orville Pierson, have been used successfully for ten years by Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), the world's premier career services company. Here, Pierson provides you with the job-search techniques that up to now have been limited to the LHH consultants he trains.
  3. Perpetual Motivation: How to Light Your Fire and Keep It Burning in Your Career and in Life: by Dave Durand. Drawing on the author's investigation of the factors that motivate successful people, this is a guide on how to find and maintain energy sufficient to reach one's goals. It explains how to balance five key life components as a method of staying motivated.
  4. Motivation and Goal-Setting: by Jim Cairo. Aiding listeners in examining their personal and professional goals, this audiobook gives them motivational tools that can be applied right away in order to make their goals realities.
  5. The 7 Hidden Secrets of Motivation: Unlocking the Genius Within: by Todd Beeler. Get maximum motivation in minimum time.
  6. 17 Lies That Are Holding You Back and the Truth That Will Set You Free: by Steve Chandler. Before you make life-altering career decisions, read this book and get your life and your outlook in order.
  7. Fish. A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results: by Stephen Lundin. This high-energy, motivational book will teach you how to reach your maximum potential.
  8. Awaken the Giant Within: by Anthony Robbins. Take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical, and financial destiny.
  9. Little Gold Book of YES. Attitude: by Jeffrey Gitomer. How to find, build, and keep a YES. attitude for a lifetime of success.
  10. Reinventing Yourself: How To Become The Person You've Always Wanted To Be: by Steve Chandler. There are two kinds of people, asserts motivational speaker Chandler: victims and owners. Transforming oneself from the victim mindset to the owner mindset is the purpose of this recording. This book will help you develop the attitude you need to turn your life and career around.

Resume Writing

Even before you get a chance to blow your could-be boss away in the interview room, you need to make a lasting impression on him through your resume and cover letter. Fail to grab his attention immediately, or waste his time with a badly written resume, and you're sure to fail. Do it right with these expert books.

  1. Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer: by Susan Whitcomb. Filled with "before and after" resume examples that not only teach the author's special techniques but also show why they work, "Resume Magic" divulges the secrets of better resume writing from an expert with more than a decade of experience producing powerful, effective resumes.
  2. The Resume.Com Guide to Writing Unbeatable Resumes: by Warren Simons. Write a professional resume and blow your potential employer away.
  3. Resumes For Dummies: Whether you're entering the job market for the first time, changing jobs, or changing careers, Resumes for Dummies, 5th Edition will show you the ropes and rules for a new era in recruiting and job finding.
  4. Knock 'em Dead Resumes: Features the Latest Information on: Online Postings, Email Techniques, and Follow-up Strategies: by Martin Yate. For more than a decade, this book has shown job seekers how to make their resumes appealing and eye-catching to employers in a competitive job market. With this invaluable resource, readers will discover what prospective employers are looking for.
  5. The Only Resume and Cover Letter Book You'll Ever Need: Get instant access to 600 resumes for all industries and 600 cover letters for every situation 150 positions from entry level to CEO.
  6. The Resume Handbook: How to Write Outstanding Resumes and Cover Letters for Every Situation: by Arthur Rosenberg. Only 1 interview is granted for every 250 resumes received-with The Resume Handbook, you can make sure yours is the one on top.
  7. How to Say It on Your Resume: by Brad Karsh. Ever wondered how to word your previous experience and job responsibilities. Become a wordsmith with the help of this awesome book.
  8. The Elements of Resume Style: by Scott Bennett. Follow these essential rules and create your perfect resume.
  9. ACE the IT Resume: Resumes and Cover Letters: by Paul Moreira. Stand out in a crowd of IT job applicants by creating and submitting a winning resume and cover letter with help from this practical guide.
  10. 101 Best Resumes: Endorsed by the Professional Association of Resume Writers: by Jay Block. Top resume writers share their secrets to help you land the job you want. Members of the Professional Association of Resume Writers have pooled their expertise to create 101 of the very best resumes available anywhere.


Now that you have the resources you need to help your dreams take flight, put the right power behind them to market them into success.

  1. Guerrilla Marketing: by Jay Conrad Levinson. The concept of guerrilla marketing was invented as an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget. Apply it to your resume and see sell yourself like never before.
  2. Marketing: by Roger Kerin, Steven Hartley, and William Rudelius. These are the very basics of a concept that can make or break your career.
  3. Word of Mouth Marketing: by by Andy Sernovitz, Guy Kawasaki, and Seth Godin. Get your name where it needs to be using the awesome power of networking.
  4. Principles of Marketing: by Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong. Learn everything you would in a college course without paying tuition prices. This book contains what you need to market from the ground-up.
  5. Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide: by John Jantsch. This book was designed for business marketing, but apply these principles to your job hunt, and you're sure to succeed.
  6. Social Media Marketing: by Dave Evans and Susan Bratton. You can't say "sales" without social media. Use today's biggest phenomenon to your advantage.
  7. Marketing for Dummies: Like the other "For Dummies" books, this is the ultimate reader-friendly marketing book.
  8. Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself As a Business of One: by Jeff Beals. Pay close attention to details, because even if you have the power and smarts that deserve the job, you won't get far if you don't know how to market yourself.
  9. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: by Al Ries and Laura Ries. Read them, study them, learn them, love them. Get to know these 22 rules and you'll have everything you need for the ultimate marketing strategy.
  10. Brands and Branding, Second Edition: by Rita Clifton and John Simmons. This textbook-like resource is similar to something you might learn in a marketing classroom, but with the convenience of moving at your own pace.