Giving a career book for a holiday gift probably won't result in a teary-eyed moment of appreciation, but if the job seeker on your gift list finds a tip in your present that helps him or her land a job, you should be eligible for at least a free lunch. "We don't think about practical gifts that much during the holidays. They almost seem insulting," says Joseph Silbar, a career consultant in Baltimore. "But when you stop and think about it, what kind of gift can you give someone who's looking for a job? You want to give them access to some of the tools that can help them find a new employer, whether it's a new tie or a gift certificate for a resume upgrade."
Silbar says he often gives out career-related books for Christmas.
"It's a good way to personalize advice for someone you care about," Silbar says. "You pick up on things about that person that he or she may not realize about himself and you plan your gift accordingly. If you think someone needs more confidence, give him a book about being more confident. If you have a friend who just doesn't get the 'dress for success' theory, send her a book on putting together a strong work wardrobe."
With that in mind, here are several books to consider for those job seekers on your gift list this holiday season:
The Golden Apple: How to Grow Opportunity and Harvest Success
Kathy Aaronson (Wiley, $22.95)
l Who doesn't need encouragement now and again? As the CEO of The Sales Athlete Inc., Aaronson provides valuable insight into dealing with rejection and building positive business relationships. The book also features case studies, examples and checklists on how to transform this information into action.
The 100-Mile Walk: A Father and Son on a Quest to Find the Essence of Leadership
Sander and Jonathon Flaum (Amacom, $24.95)
l One of the major issues facing businesses today is bridging the gap between generations. In this book, father and son executives Sander and Jonathon Flaum embark on a six-month long walk discussing each other's views on an array of topics, such as the purpose of leadership and their outlook on life and work.
The Truth About Managing Your Career ...And Nothing But the Truth
Dr. Karen Otazo (Prentice Hall, $18.99)
l A multitude of misconceptions about the working world can cloud almost anyone's judgment, however, this book tackles several key issues workers face. From starting a new job to working with bosses and colleagues, "The Truth" delivers exactly what the title implies.
The Art of Connecting: How to Overcome Differences, Build Rapport, and Communicate Effectively With Anyone
Claire Raines and Lara Ewing (Amacom, $24.95)
l As today's workplace evolves into a pool of diverse talent, companies - and employees - can benefit from the knowledge and experience each individual brings. But, what if you simply have nothing in common with a co-worker, team member or boss? This book provides valuable insight into connecting with people and gaining common ground.
Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
Bill Buford (Knopf, $25.95)
l New Yorker writer Bill Buford set out to do a profile of celebrity chef Mario Batali but in the process trained in Batali's restaurants to become a sous chef in his own right. An inspirational read for anyone considering a culinary career or even thinking about a mid-life career change.
The Nature of Leadership: Reptiles, Mammals, and the Challenge of Becoming a Great Leader
B. Joseph White (Amacom, $21.95)
l Look around and you will see that leaders are everywhere; dogs, humans and just about every other mammal not only have leaders, they need them. "Leadership" offers unique views on becoming a great leader through mutual trust and open communication, as well as developing change within the organization.
Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos: 10 Strategies for Stepping Up to Success and Satisfaction at Work
Lynette Lewis (W Publishing Group, $21.99)
l Today, many workers are striving for something more. Now more than ever, achieving a balance between work and personal life is of utmost importance. This book addresses these issues, particularly those that are unique to women, and offers insight into creating purpose, working toward and succeeding at getting a promotion, and myriad other common concerns.
The Superior Person's Book of Words
Peter Bowler (David R. Godine, $15.95)
l Know someone who's smart but sometimes has a limited vocabulary? Maybe you want to subtly help him or her score big points on an interview? Peter Bowler's book will provide your gift recipient with enough unique words to give him or her an aura of intelligence and professionalism.
Crunch Point: The 21 Secrets to Succeeding When It Matters Most
Brian Tracy (Amacom, $17.95)
l Have you ever crumbled in the face of pressure at work? Many employees encounter such frustrating reactions to these situations, but that shouldn't get you down. "Crunch Point" offers solutions to keeping problems under control even when they have the potential to get downright disastrous. The author's straightforward approach to discussing these points allows the reader easy access to the meat of the matter.
How to Recognize and Reward Employees: 150 Ways to Inspire Peak Performance
Donna Deeprose (Amacom, $13.95)
l Managing employees can be an art all to itself. This book offers unique views on improving employees' morale, productivity and quality of work, as well as how to create fair-minded recognition and rewards systems. Additionally, the author provides the do's and don'ts of multiple situations and how to best address them.
Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace: Building Effective Relationships in Your Organization
Dennis and Michelle Reina (Berret-Koehler, $16.95)
l Trust seems to always be a main issue in the workplace. With the ever-present possibility mergers, buy-outs and reorganizations, trusting your colleagues is imperative. And that's exactly what the authors accomplish in this book. Some issues they address are how to rebuild a trusting relationship and how to encourage collaboration.
What People Want: A Manager's Guide to Building Relationships That Work
Terry Bacon (Davies-Black, $27.95)
l Employee-manager relationships can be tricky. Some workers need a disciplinary type boss, while others thrive in a team atmosphere. This book offers intriguing results from research on the topic while offering tools to creating a respectful environment and setting the right tone.