Resources to help you make your second career decisions

Your Resumé



Lose the Resumé – Land the Job by Gary Burnison (2018). This book has very current information and covers a number of helpful aspects to finding a new job. The subtitle of the book is "Almost everyone gets it wrong. This is how to get it right." Here's a sample of the chapter titles: Your Wake-up Call, Targeting Your Next Opportunity, and Networking is a Contact Sport. Excellent illustrations.

What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Rethinking Resumés by Richard N. Bolles (2014). Most of the resumé books are big with many examples of resumés. That’s great and they’re very useful. This one is different. It’s a little book, only 104 pages. If you’re working on a resumé, I’d recommend a quick read of this book in conjunction with using one of the larger resumé books. The advice here is right up to date and one of its main themes is that old-style resumés don’t work anymore.

Before and After Resumes by Tracey Burns-Martin (2012). Resumés for over 500 careers. There’s a chapter on resumés for the over-50 worker which includes tips for age-proofing your resumé.

Knock ‘em Dead Resumes by Martin Yate (2016). I liked this book. It shows the importance of taking the time to gather all the relevant material before you start putting your resumé together. There’s a whole chapter on how to systematically organize your relevant information. The author reminds the reader to take the time in gathering this important foundational resumé content. He has over 25 years of experience in the job-search field so really knows what he’s talking about.

Changing careers


When to Jump - If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want by Mike Lewis (2018). There's nothing like experience. This book tells the stories of people who have made career changes. Big ones. Why they did it and how they did it.

After all those years in law enforcement you may be interested in a second career in some other part of the public sector. Here are two links to a Public Administration Education Guide that may help you find some suitable training or an education upgrade. 

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski  (2018). Great book. It's easy to read and covers a wide range of retirement issues, including what you would like to do for work. Very insightful. It makes you think about what you'd really like to do after your main career ends.

The Art of Finding the Job You Love  by Cara Heilmann (2019). The subtitle is An Unconventional Guide to Work With Meaning. This is an interesting book, especially if the usual job search techniques haven't worked for you. Of special interest to introverts or those having a hard time with that job interview.

The Ultimate Job Search Guide by Martin Yate (2017). This is part of Martin Yate's Knock em Dead series. I'm a big fan of this guy. He covers everything I can think of when doing a job search. If I was going to buy one book about job searching this would be it. Watch for updated versions of the book as he keeps it current.

Cracking The Hidden Job Market by Donald Asher (2011). You could use this book as a roadmap in your search for a second career. Choosing your industry, networking, resumés, it’s all here. Something I haven’t seen much of in other books, he recommends joining a job club, much like people with other interests join clubs. It’s a way of staying motivated and accountable in your job search.

Finding Work After 40 by Robin McKay Bell and Liam Mifsud (2011). Chances of having a boss younger than you increase as you get older. I know. My boss in my second career was about 25 years younger than me. This book will help you get over it. Good advice about how to break through the unspoken age barriers when looking for your second career. It also has a good section on networking for the older person, including improving your network before you leave your present job.


I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This. A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work by Julie Jansen (2003). This is a book about finding work that you’ll be happy with. The author has really been there. She’s been hired, fired, worked at everything from cutting lawns to writing for radio to becoming a career coach. Want gratifying work? Some great insights here.

Your reputation



The Reputation Economy by Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson (2015). How to protect and optimize your most valuable asset, your reputation.

The Power of Reputation by Chris Komisarjevsky (2012). We often think about skills and talent but sometimes forget the importance of our reputation. This book is a strong reminder about the big part it plays in our career profile. Once you read this book you’re unlikely to underestimate the importance of reputation. A great and enlightening read.

Manage Your Online Reputation by Tony Wilson (2011). Lots of revealing information about how you are revealed to the online world. Future employers will search for your name. Learn how to protect your reputation in this book. Good examples and case studies.




Many of the books listed above have chapters about networking. It keeps coming up in books about careers. It doesn’t seem to matter what angle the book is written from, networking in some form is always there. Obviously it’s important, no matter how much we don’t like the term.

These books examine networking in more depth than just a chapter or two. So if you really want to get into expanding and organizing your network, check these out.

It's Who You Know by Janine Garner (2017). An excellent book about networking that includes some unique ideas. For example, you need four core network contacts and who to cut out of your network. Well laid out, easy to read.

Networking by Colleen S Clarke (2006). The book points out that the term Networking has been around so long that we think we know everything about it. Not so, as the author shows us. Includes topics about overcoming networking fear and expanding your network. Much good information in a book of only 78 pages.

Networking Magic by Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin (2014). This book is right up to date. It covers all the current issues of modern networking. Two of the most interesting chapters are about the “Do’s” and the “DON’T’s” of networking. There’s a chapter for each with good lists of what to do and what not to do. There are Networking Nuggets throughout the book, short practical tips about networking. There’s good advice about using the Internet, including how to greatly increase your network on the web.

Finding a new job online



What Color is Your Parachute? Guide to Job-Hunting Online by Mark Emery Bolles and Richard Nelson Bolles (2011). Like all the parachute books this one is very good. Take a look at the website related to the book. It’s Job-Hunting Online and is an up-to-date support website for the book. You can’t go far wrong by taking an in-depth look at the What Color is Your Parachute books and website.

The Web 2.0 Job Finder by Brenda Greene and Coleen Byrne (2011). Use the Internet to find a whole lot of background information about a company before you approach it for a job. This book discusses that important point and suggests paying ongoing attention to the organizations you’re interested in. There’s also good information about networking and how employers use LinkedIn. The authors will also tell you to “be careful out there” when posting on social media, with a good horror story of a hiring that went bad because of what the hiring employer found on the web.

The Panic Free Job Search by Paul Hill (2012). Build your professional brand and get discovered on the Internet. Avoid the frenzy of pounding the pavement to find a job. Use technology to do it for you on the web. Very detailed advice on how to get noticed.

Job trends



150 Best Jobs for a Secure Future by Laurence Shatkin (2012). Good information, including fastest-growing jobs and matching personality types to jobs. If you have your eye on a specific second career job, it may be in this book. If so, this would be a good book to use in your planning. Describes educational or training requirements by job.

The Big Book of Jobs by The Editors of McGraw-Hill & the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014). This is a good book for looking up an occupations and getting a concise explanation of the nature of the work, training or education required, earnings, job outlook, etc. It would be good if you have an idea of what you might like to do for a second career but aren’t completely sure what the job entails.

Need more resources? Read on . . .

More resumé information



The Targeted Resumé by Kate Wendleton (2014). I like the way the author works you through the 13 steps of putting a resumé together. It’s really simple and easy to follow, yet very thorough. I think if you followed her steps you wouldn’t leave anything out of your resumé that is important, but you’d have a well structured and focused resumé. There’s an excellent chapter on using LinkedIn. She also deals with electronic resumés and online company job applications as well as other online issues.

Best Canadian Resumés by Sharon Graham (2013). This is an especially helpful book if you’re going to be submitting a resumé in Canada. It shows you how to plan and develop your resumé. There are lots of sample resumés, including one for an RCMP member applying for a position.

New Resumé New Career by Catherine Jewell (2010). I picked this one because it deals specifically with resumés for career changers. It has 50 examples of displaying transferable skills in a resumé. There’s an interesting page about how to know choose the right resumé style for you.

The Everything Resume Book by Lin Grensing-Pophal (2013). One of the many resumé books out there. This one is very current though. If you’ve looked into updating your resumé you might have discovered there are now many ways to format and deliver your resumé. Includes sections on the video resumé, virtual job fairs, and resumés for the internet.

The Career Change Resumé by Kim Isaacs and Karen Hofferber (2003). Lots of resumé examples in this book. The authors cover a wide range and neatly divide the book by careers in each chapter. One of the chapters is for Legal/Law Enforcement, including a sample police officer resumé. There’s a good chapter about reinventing your resumé for a career change and FAQs about career change resumés.

Gallery of Best Resumes For People Without A Four-Year Degree by David F. Noble (2009). No degree but lots of experience? This might be the resumé guide book for you. Lots of examples showing you how display your experience and training.

More career change



What Color Is Your Parachute? Job-Hunters Workbook by Richard N. Bolles (2012). Don’t want to spend a lot of time reading about second careers? If you’re a person who wants to jump right into the work of discovering who you are through self-testing, this is the book for you. It’s only 77 pages long and is full of excellent ways of figuring out what you’re looking for. No wordy pages of advice, just the work that needs to be done.


Getting the Job You Really Want by J. Michael Farr (2002). Nice and clear self-testing worksheets. This is a good workbook to help you organize your thoughts, organize your skills lists, and think about what you want to do next. 


Over-40 Job Search Guide by Gail Geary (2005). This book starts out with some good advice about transitioning to a different career. Then it discusses some of the parts of a process to make a change (updating skills, resumés, interviews, etc.) Near the end there’s an interesting chapter about working into your retirement years.

Your Next Move. Success Strategies for Midcareer Professionals by Dan Finnigan and Marc Karasu (2006). Are you wondering if it’s time to move on? This book has a very thorough chapter on the issues around when it’s time to go. That’s followed by one about how to think through your move and what to consider. Also, if you don’t want to read a whole book about networking, there’s a good chapter that covers it.


Cracking the New Job Market: the 7 rules for getting hired in any economy by R. William Holland (2012). I especially liked his chapter on using social media in your job hunt. He had helpful and direct comments about staying computer literate. The chapter about how your passion relates to your career choice had some surprising and insightful ideas.

I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This. A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work by Julie Jansen (2003). This is a book about finding work that you’ll be happy with. The author has really been there. She’s been hired, fired, worked at everything from cutting lawns to writing for radio to becoming a career coach. Want gratifying work? Some great insights here.

Undecided by Barbara Kelley and Shannon Kelley (2011). This book examines the frustration and dissatisfaction women often feel in their careers. The authors tackle issues unique to women in the work world. Why is there so much indecision and confusion for women trying to find happiness in their career? Sure, some of the issues are the same for men. But many are not. This is a refreshing look at how women can gain insight into themselves and their career choices.

Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire – Business Sense & Sensibility by Mireille Guiliano (2009). Practical advice for women about the work environment. There’s a good section on changing careers.


The New Job Security. The 5 Best Strategies For Taking Control of Your Career by Pam Lassiter (2002). Right to the point, some excellent advice about securing your new career. Includes some very good advice about networking in this new age.


Get The Career You Want by Karen Mannering (2011). This book has a good chapter about taking stock of yourself. It also has 25 activities that are short pieces of advice and tips about things like assessing your skills, setting goals, and creating a profile.


Work Your Strengths by Chuck Martin, Richard Guare, and Peg Dawson (2010). Have you found some of your jobs or assignments very easy to carry out or particularly hard to do? Maybe it’s just the way your brain is wired. This book helps you find the “executive skills” that you’re best at. Those are the skills that get things done. Once you know what they are, find the career that’s going to be the best fit for you. The book is based on science but it isn’t a hard read. It’s easy to understand, very insightful, and has great practical value.


Thank You for Firing Me! by Kitty Martini & Candice Reed (2010). What to do when the job is over. You had a good police career and didn’t really bother with a plan about what to do next, kind of like the person who suddenly gets fired. Now it’s time to figure out your next job. Some great advice about how to survive the experience and settle on something you really want to do. Lots of examples. Also quite an entertaining and funny book.


Coach Yourself to a New Career by Talane Miedaner (2010). Shows you how to move forward and reinvent your professional life. The book includes a chapter about designing your ideal life, which was quite thought-provoking. We should probably all do that when we’re thinking about a career change. One interesting chapter is about how to transition to a new career. Good resource section at the back of the book.


Be The Captain of Your Career – A New Approach To Career Planning & Advancement by Jack Molisani (2014). This isn’t a big book at 147 pages so if you’re looking for a fairly quick read of some refreshing ideas this might be for you. There are a couple of lists in the book that I think are very valuable to those planning for a second career. He has a list of seven things that managers are looking for when reviewing a resumé, with advice about some important things to include. The other is a list of the top ten common mistakes made by people looking for work. I’d read the book just for that list if I was planning a new career.


What Next? By Barbara Moses (2009). This book contains a wide range of career changing ideas and related issues. It has a good self assessment chapter that helps you flush out your career assets. There’s also a section on preparing for change, including ideas for discussing your next move with your spouse or partner. The Career directory is especially helpful for career changers in Canada.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport (2012). Get good at something and you’ll learn to love it. Forget the “follow your passion” idea. These are two of the themes in this book. I believe what he’s saying because it’s how things unfolded in my careers. The book is a different way of looking at your work life. If you’re not in love with the skills you’ve learned, this book might help you at least put more value on them.


Making Your Major Decision – Powered by the Myers-Briggs Assessment by Peterson’s (2013). I’ve always found the insight provided by taking the Myers-Briggs assessment to be helpful. If you’ve never done this assessment, I’d suggest it’s a good way to help you decide what second career fits with your personality. This book is actually intended to help students chose a university course of study but it’s a good introduction to Myers-Briggs, clear and easy to understand.

Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (2007). This is quite a unique book. It gives you a code that allows you to access the Strengths Finder website. There you do a self assessment to discover your greatest potential strengths.

Life After Policing by Alan Roadburg (2008). The obvious thing to like about this book is that it’s about retirement from policing. The book is well researched and helpful for a police officer pondering retirement. It includes lots to think about for street cops looking ahead to retirement, including working.

Over 40 & You’re Hired. Secrets To Landing A Great Job by Robin Ryan (2009). Over 40 and looking ahead to your second career? There’s a lot of things in this book you can relate to. I liked what the author had to say about the skills you have acquired by age 40. She also has some good tips about volunteer experience.

Retire – And Start Your Own Business by Dennis J. Sargent & Martha S. Sargent (2008). If you’ve had it with working for someone else and want to start your own business, you’ll find this book useful. Figure out what your best skills are for owning a business, gets some ideas for what kind of business you want, and make a plan. The authors cover a wide range of important issues in setting up a business.

The Job of Your Life by Karen Schaffer (2008). A book about getting out of your rut and finding your passion. Karen Schaffer has some very good insight into looking at getting the job your want. Lots of good-humored stories to illustrate her points.


150 Best Jobs for Your Skills by Laurence Shatkin (2012). Includes an assessment of your top skills, then matches the top skills to jobs. Describes jobs and shows which skills are most important for each job.


50 Best Jobs for Your Personality by Laurence Shatkin (2012). This is very interesting stuff. What kind of personality do you have? Enterprising? Social? Investigative? Figure it out with the help of this book. Then match your personality type to job descriptions. Work your way through the self-testing and discover some career insights. You might also confirm your beliefs about what type of second career would suit you best.

Reinvention. How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life by Brian Tracey (2009). As the title suggests, this is about reinventing yourself. It’s also about taking charge of your life and finding out what you’d like to do next. The author has personal experience in all this. He tells a great story of doing a tough job as a young man and suddenly realizing he was responsible for himself. It was all up to him! And he passes his life’s lessons on to the reader. I liked the style of the book. He chops it up into easy-to-read sections.


The Career Within You. How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality by Elizabeth Wagele and Ingrid Stabb (2010). Do you have a feeling that there’s a different career within you? Learn which of the nine careers types fits your personality. Are you a helper? An observer? Maybe you’re an adventurer. Those are only three of the career types. This book could give you a good insight into what you’d like to do for a second career.


12 Steps to a New Career by Carl J. Wellenstein (2009). He walks you through the whole process, from reviewing your achievements and skills, marketing yourself, communicating and developing your own strategic plan.

Targeting A Great Career by Kate Wendleton (2014). This book has very up-to-date information about the state of the job market. There’s great advice about understanding yourself and finding out what you want. It shows you how to target the job you want. The exercises and worksheets are very thorough will take you through a good analysis of what you are looking for in a second career.


Knock ‘em Dead – The Ultimate Job Search Guide by Martin Yate (2014). The Knock ‘em Dead books are very well done. This one takes you all the way. Create your resumé; build your professional brand, network, job search, and the interview. All written by an author who has over 25 years in the job search business.

More networking



One Phone Call Away – Secrets of a Master Networker by Jeffrey W. Meshel with Douglas Garr (2005). A theme through many of the networking books is being helpful to others builds your network. This book really emphasizes that and the author gives several good examples of how helping other people resulted in new contacts that didn’t just sit as a name on his contact list. They actually formed a loyalty to him and returned the favor. He also devotes a chapter to the issue of overcoming shyness to expand your network.


Highly Effective Networking by Orville Pierson (2009). He deals with a lot of the myths around networking, including a big one. Some people think you have to be a real schmoozer to network well. Not true, as this book will show you. He’ll also make you think about how large a network you really have. It may be a lot bigger than you think.

Networking is A Contact Sport by Joe Sweeney with Mike Yorkey (2010). If the title doesn’t let you know that the author really likes sports, the picture of the football team on the front cover certainly does. There are lots of sports references along with very in-depth advice about networking. If you want to learn about networking AND you like sports, this could be the book for you. There’s also a good chapter about networking for women. I haven’t found that kind of specific information for women networkers very much in other books so it’s a very helpful feature of this one.


Monster Careers: Networking by Jeff Taylor with Doug Hardy (2006). A good basic book about career networking. It explains how networking helps get jobs and tells you how to get started networking.

Networking is Dead by Melissa G. Wilson and Larry Mohl. (2012). You might think this is an odd title for a networking book. The authors’ point is that there are misconceptions about networking and that it has changed. They emphasize quality connections over quantity. The book reads like a story with tips at the end of each chapter. If you prefer the story-book style as you learn about networking, instead of a self-help textbook style, try this book.


Knock ‘em Dead Social Networking by Martin Yate (2014). Published by Adams Media. You couldn’t get much more current information about networking than this. It’s a really useful book. If you networked in all the ways mentioned here, you’d have it covered. In person, online, social media, your personal brand, it’s all in this book.