Excellent, good, fair, poor what's your level of satisfaction at work? If something, or a lot of things, about your career could use a change, four new books can help you get where you want to be. If you're just starting out in a career, these books can launch you on the right path and teach you what to watch for along the way.

Monstrously helpful "We dream, worry, fantasize, agonize about out careers, and yetÉit's amazing how many people let their careers just...sort of...happen to them," says Jeff Taylor, founder of the Monster job-search website. In Monster Careers: How to Land the Job of Your Life (Penguin, $18, 416 pages, ISBN 0142004367), Taylor, with Doug Hardy, general manager of Monster Careers, challenges readers to steer clear of boredom, resignation or despair about a job. This comprehensive book offers wise, upbeat information and exercises to get readers thinking and acting. Topics include current hiring practices, having the right attitude, defining what you want to do, creating rŽsumŽs and cover letters that market your talents effectively, researching and applying for a job, interviewing, negotiating and transitioning into a new job.

The book has an interactive companion at monstercareers.com with resources such as rŽsumŽ templates, self-assessment tools, networking information, relocation resources and alternative work arrangements.

Finding fulfillment Be real. Get real. We hear that a lot these days. When your work life seems removed from who you really are, it's time for some serious soul-searching. Two thought-provoking books can help guide you through the process. Each useful on its own, together they offer a tremendous array of techniques for finding answers to that nagging question: what job would make me truly fulfilled? The Authentic Career: Following the Path of Self-Discovery to Professional Fulfillment (New World Library, $14.95, 209 pages, ISBN 1577314387) offers an in-depth process to achieve integration of who you are and what you should be doing. Author Maggie Craddock, career coach and former award-winning Wall Street fund manager, has developed a therapeutic, four-stage process that identifies the demands and expectations others have put on you and helps you decide what you really want and need to be fulfilled. Arguing that working from your authentic self allows you to function at your best, Craddock offers insightful questions and exercises and uses real-life examples of how clients came to better understand themselves and realize more job and personal satisfaction.

If you don't want to be doing the same old thing three months from now, check out the advice offered in Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction by life coach and author Laura Bergman Fortgang (Living Your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top). To find the truth about who you really are, what you really want and what you're really capable of, Fortgang has developed a high-energy, 12-week, chapter-per-week program based on the process that has successfully enabled hundreds of her clients to make important life changes. The first 45 days help you find a new direction, the remaining 45 days help you set the course toward reaching it. Fortgang's empowering exercises, client stories and tools enable you tap into your own "life blueprint" and the work that will make you happiest and most fulfilled.

From no job to the right job If a career crash is imminent or you've recently experienced one, you'll find calming, caring advice in Bradley G. Richardson's Career Comeback: 8 Steps to Getting Back on Your Feet When You're Fired, Laid Off or Your Business Venture Has Failed and Finding More Job Satisfaction Than Ever Before (Broadway, $14.95, 336 pages, ISBN 0767915577). A job expert and national manager of CareerJournal.com, the recruitment website of The Wall Street Journal, Richardson presents a clear strategy for recognizing whether your career is in trouble. Then he presents the basics on how to react: evaluating and negotiating a severance package, reviewing what went wrong so you'll learn from the past, relating to family and friends, establishing a support system, coping with stress and finding a new job that's better than the old one. Addressing both the practical and emotional elements of a major career setback, Richardson's book is a valuable aid for those who need to dust themselves off and jump back into the fray.

 

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