When you’re first starting out in your career, there’s a lot to learn. From navigating the job interview process and working with others in a new office to figuring out how to have your ideas heard and earn a promotion, it can get overwhelming. The career path you dreamed of in college may not be as easy to follow now that you’re in the real world.
If you’re looking for help, turn to the badass females who have figured it out. These women have all learned the ins and outs of getting a job, negotiating a raise, remaining kind in a competitive industry and more. Their books are some of the best for anyone figuring out their first job path while looking ahead to a kickass career.
1. “The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success” — Kate White
The Skinny: Author Kate White is the real OG of figuring out your career. After years in the magazine industry, she worked her way up to the editor-in-chief role at Cosmopolitan and is now looking to help women navigate their careers the same way she did. This read is quick and easy and will help you understand exactly how to ask for a higher salary when you land that job offer, what to say to your boss when you have a game-changing idea, when to ask for a promotion and more. This book will have you breaking all the rules in the right ways so you can get ahead and find success in your career, even at an early age.
2. “The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate” — Fran Hauser
The Skinny: No matter how competitive your industry may be, there’s always time to be kind. Fran Hauser worked her way up quickly in her own career by maintaining her kindness and being nice at work, even when others saw it as a weakness. While you’re learning the ins and outs of your first job, Hauser will walk you through many situations where you, too, can remain kind. From giving credit for an idea when it’s due to owning your empathy in the office to remaining authentic at all times, Hauser gives advice on it all in this quick and easy read that’s perfect for your commute.
3. “Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth” — Mika Brzezinski
The Skinny: Negotiating your salary early in your career can make a huge difference over the course of your lifetime (like a millions of dollars difference). And with the pay gap still being a very real thing, it’s important to learn how to ask for what you deserve ASAP. Mika Brzezinski learned the hard way during the early days of her “Morning Joe” career and wants all women to get ahead so they don’t make the same mistake she did. Between the research and stories of other women who experienced the same inequality in the workplace, you’ll learn how to negotiate your salary, when you need to ask for a raise and more. Keep a copy of this book handy so you never forget to ask for what you’re worth in your career.
4. “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” — Jen Sincero
The Skinny: First jobs can bring out self-consciousness in all of us. From making mistakes to not knowing how to do something that your boss needs completed ASAP, the insecurity we can feel is real. Author Jen Sincero gets it and aims to knock it out of all her readers with this book. Between the hilarious and heartwarming anecdotes from her own life and actionable advice you can start following right now, Sincero teaches you how to be a badass. You’ll overcome your self-sabotaging ways in no time so you can thrive in your career for years to come.
5. “Own It: The Power of Women at Work” — Sallie Krawcheck
The Skinny: When you first get a job, there are a lot of financial things to figure out. From negotiating your salary and signing up for benefits to stashing cash away for retirement in your brand new 401(k) (or another type of account), it can get confusing. Plus, now that you’re making money, you might want to start planning for the future and getting that money to do some of the work for you. Author Sallie Krawcheck will inspire you to really learn about it all ASAP so you can own your finances and be fierce in your career. Beyond the money advice, Krawcheck dives deeply into how women can work together to support one another in meetings and get ahead without losing their sense of ethics and values.
Editor’s Note: This book is the reason I started investing money in my 20s!
6. “Drop The Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less” — Tiffany Dufu
The Skinny: When you’re at the assistant/associate level, it’s smart to say yes to anything and everything so you can learn as much as you can, as fast as you can. However, it’s also important to recognize when you’re close to burning out. Tiffany Dufu didn’t realize this until years into her career, and through her book, she empowers women to understand that we can’t do it all, no matter how much we try. Dufu’s book is the best read for anyone who holds themselves to an unhealthy standard of perfection. She reminds us that perfection doesn’t exist, we all need a squad we can lean on for help and that, sometimes, something’s gotta give and that’s completely okay.
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