There are many ways to give the gift of career support. What can you do to give the gift of support for the job search or career development of the recent grad, advancing professional, or person you know who wants to make some sort of career change. Here is a list of gift ideas to help you give the gift of self-actualization and career fulfillment!
Gift Career Coaching or Resume Reviews
I get asked if it is okay to give career coaching or resume reviews as a gift. Of course! If you know a person wants to make a change or is struggling a bit with the job search, it’s a thoughtful way to help. However, if you aren’t sure that the other person is looking for another job or wanting to make a change in the future, it could be awkward – so make sure you know it is something they can use. When in doubt with all professional development gifts, it is okay to ask the recipient if they could use the gift or if they would appreciate it. It removes the surprise a bit, but is a great way to vet out the idea if you aren’t sure it is what they want.
Professional Association Memberships
Professional association dues can be pricey, especially for someone early in their career, which is often when involvement in the association can be so beneficial. These groups do a lot to develop professionals and advance the profession and provide excellent networking opportunities. This is an especially great gift for the recent grad. Much like the previous idea, you’ll want to discuss this with the recipient to make sure they want to get involved with a group and that it is for the group of which they would most like to be a part. It is important to note that for lots of professionals there are a wide variety of groups that would be beneficial, so if they are already part of one (which they are paid up for) ask the follow-up question if they have any additional associations they’ve been interested in joining as well?
Courses and/or Certifications
I won’t repeat the advice to ask on this one, but will mention that certification processes can be so expensive as sometimes it requires multiple types of fees; fees to join the certifying body as member, fees for coursework, and fees for the actual certification test or application process. If you know that someone is undergoing the process of becoming certified, ask if you can make a contribution to support them in that process. Chances are they would love a benefactor to join in on shouldering the weight of the investment and will be touched to have you support their advancement.
Books on Professional Development
Last, but certainly not least, books are a wonderful gift idea. There are so many books that professionals can use to get ahead in their role. If you know there is a new book out by their favorite business writer or inspirational leader, that can be an easy win (sometimes you can even get signed copies from the author’s website or you local book seller when they have promotional events like book tours). Here are some great books on professional development that can work for a variety of types of professionals:
5; Where Will You Be Five Years From Today – Is a light and breezy book that helps people answer a number of questions around their career goals and helps them begin to imagine that future more clearly. This is my go to book for college grads, but can be great for anyone who is still wondering and exploring what the future holds for them.
Crucial Conversations; Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High – Helps all types of professionals have important and sometimes complicated discussions in their professional lives. This is a great book especially for new managers and leaders.
Case in Point – Is the essential preparation book for anyone who will have to do a case interview, which applies to anyone entering the field of consulting, but also professionals in private equity, strategic planning, marketing, logistic, operations, and human capital.
You’ve Got the Interview Now What?: Fortune 500 Hiring Professionals Tell You How to Get Hired – Is a great basic interview guide for either a new professional or a person who hasn’t been in the job market for a while and might be a little rusty. This takes them through what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do/not do in an interview.
The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Creating a Winning Resume – At 292 pages, this really is the COMPLETE workbook on how to get a professional and polished resume together on your own. When I initially ordered the book, it was to see why it was so long, and once I received it, I realized it was because the author does a great job of taking you through every element of how to create a great, polished resume. So, if you want an amazing resume without hiring a writer, this is the book for you.
The Elements of Resume Style: Essential Rules for Writing Resumes and Cover Letters That Work – This is a shorter book and a great one if you want some insights on creating a clear and impactful resume from the perspective from someone who has hired many people and seen many resumes.