With 2011 a distant memory, it's time to reassess your career and job prospects. Regardless of your career resolutions for the New Year, you're bound to need help achieving them.
Narrowing your fields of interest, learning how to dress, improving your interviewing skills and understanding how to network are common areas for improvement. Many people overlook easily available resources that provide step-by-step, practical advice that can help you get there faster.
Career books nowadays go well beyond the career bible everyone should have on their bookshelves. Here's our list of the top 10 career books coming out in 2012.
Crazy Good Interviewing: How Acting A Little Crazy Can Get You The Job, by John B. Molidor with Barbara Parus
(Wiley, May 2012)
In this job market, it's critical to stand out. Hiring managers say they've seen it all: candidates who break into song, answer the phone calls of other hiring managers, and show up wearing clothes they wore to the bar the night before.
If you don't want the job, those are great options, but if you do, author John Molidor suggests you opt for "crazy good" tactics, as opposed to crazy awful ones. "Slightly eccentric behaviors can tip the scales in the applicant's favor," Molidor says, like creating keynote presentations that can be shown on an iPad. "Crazy good behavior... can make an applicant stand out favorably in a sea of mediocrity."
Related: The Top 10 Ways to Blow a Job Interview, Questions You Should -- and Shouldn't -- Ask in an Interview
Sharpen Your Heels: Mrs. Moneypenny's Career Advice for Women, by Mrs. Moneypenny and Heather McGregor
(Penguin, February 2012)
Women who want to advance, listen up: Mrs. Moneypenny, a small-business owner and Financial Times columnist has some humorous advice on how to get ahead.
Whether it's social events ("I am occasionally accused of being prepared to go to the opening of an envelope") or the glass ceiling ("I think the best way we can smash any glass ceiling is to smash the myth that women can 'have it all'"), Mrs. Moneypenny provides realistic pointers for any woman taking steps up the corporate ladder.
Related: FINS Special Report: Women in the Workplace
Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen, by David Novak
(Penguin, January 2012)
"Behind every great leader is a great team" became a cliche for a reason. David Novak, the chief executive of Yum! Brands, learned early on how to manage people so they remain loyal, dedicated and enthusiastic.
When you're knee-deep in management issues, you don't need theories, Novak says, you need to know how to set the right goals and get your employees to achieve them.
Related: What to Do When Your Mentor Leaves
Resume 101: A Student and Recent-Grad Guide to Crafting Resumes and Cover Letters that Land Jobs, by Quentin J. Schultze
(TenSpeed Press, an imprint of Random House, March 2012)
For those new to the workforce, and even for more seasoned professionals, this guide is critical to learning how to write a resume that won't wind up in the trash bin.
"Cookie-cutter" resumes won't cut it in an extremely competitive job market, Schultze says, so knowing things like when to include hobbies and interests can help you get a call back. "The most effective college-student and recent-graduate resumes in today's tight job market leverage life experience to demonstrate the applicants' potential to serve an organization," says Schultze.
Related: The 10 Worst Things to Put on Your Resume, The 10 Worst Things to Put in Your Cover Letter
Ten Things Employers Want You to Learn in College: The Know-How You Need to Succeed (Revised), by Bill Coplin
(TenSpeed Press, an imprint of Random House, July 2012)
Transitioning out of college into a solid career path requires more than a great GPA. Knowing how to get skills like the ability to influence people, number crunch and work with a team will help you fill holes on your resume. Coplin spoke with employers, recruiters, HR specialists, and graduates to find out what works and what doesn't. "Improving the 10 sets of skills described in the book will get you a job, and more importantly, it will help you climb whatever career ladders you climb," Coplin says.
Related: FINS Student -- Career Paths and Profiles, The 10 Worst Mistakes of First-Time Job Hunters
All Work, No Pay: Finding an Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience, by Lauren Berger
(TenSpeed Press, an imprint of Random House, January 2012)
If you haven't heard by now that getting internships as a student is critical to landing a job, you have a lot of work to do. According to Berger, studies indicate that internships increase the chances of getting a job and lead to higher starting salaries.
The book describes how to find and secure internships and make sure those you're considering are worth the time and energy. "The theme of the book is go after what you want and never take no for an answer," says Berger.
Related: Volunteer Your Way Into a Job, No Pay, No Problem
Conversation Transformation: Recognize and Overcome the Six Most Destructive Communication Patterns, by Ben Benjamin, Amy Yeager and Anita Simon
(McGraw-Hill, March 2012)
Let's face it, everyone has bad conversations at work. If you're able to identify why the conversation turned sour in the first place, and figure out a way to how to put a productive spin on it, you can eliminate those moments altogether.
Benjamin talks about six kinds of destructive conversations, like making negative predictions, using defensive language and asking leading questions, and tells you how to alter you communication style. "Just one of these unconscious habits can make the difference between landing a great new job or promotion and getting passed over," says Yeager.
Related: Seven Networking Event No-Nos, Four Body Language Lessons for Office Leaders
How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (Second Edition), by Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp
(McGraw-Hill, May 2012)
Becoming active in some of the biggest social networks these days takes nothing more than Internet access. But contributing to them professionally takes strategy and effort.
"Social networks are tremendous tools for job seekers, as they provide access to key contacts and jobs openings they may not have had access to otherwise," says Brad Schepp, "but they can be tremendous time sinks, unless you use the tools they offer for staying organized." If you're not sure how to use Twitter and Facebook lists, LinkedIn maps and Google+ circles, take a look at this book.
Related: Recruiters Shifting Budgets to Social Media, Ignore Social Media at Your Peril
The Career Lattice: How Lateral Move Strategies Can Grow Careers and Companies, by Joanne Cleaver
(McGraw-Hill, June 2012)
Recession-weary companies have begun abandoning traditional advancement paths and creating cultures of lateral moves, which can help you grow your skills in a different business area and add to your relevancy across an industry.
Cleaver explains how to use these opportunities to your own advantage and open doors that could have remained closed. "Technical skills are part of the solution, but employers also want business and creative problem-solving skills," Cleaver says. "All of these are essential for growing through lateral moves, which offer immediate growth and an alternative path to promotion."
Related: The 10 Risks and Rewards of a Lateral Career Move
Personality Style at Work: The Secret to Working with (Almost) Anyone, by Kate Ward
(McGraw-Hill, May 2012)
Not all colleagues are created equal. Competency goes beyond how dedicated someone is to their job; it encompasses the roots of a person's personality.
Ward highlights four personality styles -- direct, spirited, considerate and systematic -- and how they can help you on the job and while interviewing. "If you're a job seeker, the book will help you in three ways: identifying the ideal work environment and occupation for your personality role; increasing your ability to get on the same wavelength and develop rapport with your interviewer; and improving your work relationships and performance once on the job," Ward says.
Related: Career Tips from Annoying Office Mates
Write to Kelly Eggers at Kelly.Eggers@dowjones.com