Books make great gifts for a new graduate. Whether it’s a classic novel, a self-help book or an industry-focused guide, a book is a keepsake that will continue to benefit the graduate throughout their career. Selections based on interests and aspirations, and on what they hope to achieve in their life, will inspire and guide the giftee on their journey.

Here are eight books that Robert Half leaders recommend to those preparing to step into the working world:

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty by Harvey Mackay

One of my favorites to recommend, even BEFORE graduation, is Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty by Harvey Mackay. If you’ve ever wondered what it means when people say to you, “It's not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know,” this book tells you why and how to build and leverage a strong social and business network.

If you wait until you need a network, it’s often too late. Create a profile on a business networking site, connect with your peers, your family, your friends. Offer to connect others with your network, even BEFORE you need their connections. I wish I would have realized early that a strong network is as important (and often more helpful) than a great resume or GPA.

Jim Johnson, Senior Vice President, Robert Half

What Next? Your Five-Year Plan for Life After College by Elana Lyn Gross

My book recommendation is What Next? Your Five-Year Plan for Life After College by Elana Lyn Gross. Upon graduation, you are ready to go out and conquer the world — some of us had the job lined up, some of us were still considering our options. What I found helpful is to really think about the next five years and what success looks like.

This book balances work, financial direction and more. You achieved your goal to graduate for yourself, your family, your friends — why stop planning? Don’t be afraid to take risks, but be calculated. Stay curious and always keep learning. Network and then network again. Embrace whatever comes your way, both the good and the failures, as it is part of the learning process. Keep the goal setting going with this valuable reading experience. Congratulations to all the new graduates!

Jamy Sullivan, Executive Director, Legal, Robert Half

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay is my favorite book for college graduates because it presents questions instead of answers. It covers entering the workforce, major life changes 20-somethings will experience, and examples of peers navigating similar challenges.

The relatability helps dispel the stigma of feeling alone in one’s experiences. Distractions, avoidance, and self-comparison can hinder personal growth, and instant gratification is becoming the norm. To foster growth, we need to empower new graduates to answer their own questions to promote informed decisions. Biased advice can be unhelpful or ignored, and your 20s define your earning power and shape how your future will look. This book promotes a growth mindset by encouraging us to be intentional about our goals.

I hope this book inspires you to be intentional in creating the future you want and deserve. It’s OK to not have all the answers in your 20s, but it's important to ask yourself if you’re avoiding adulthood or building your identity capital.

Abby Thompson, Practice Group VP, Robert Half Finance and Accounting, Robert Half

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

For the past few years, I have recommended Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success. A chapter that I think is important for new graduates is “The 10,000 Hour Rule.” (40 hours x week x 50 weeks = 2000 hours per year.)

I feel today, graduates are a little too eager to change jobs, want promotions, or change companies. There might be good reasons for those, but as I have always said, the first years of your career are to learn your craft. Don’t be in a rush, and Gladwell very eloquently gives examples of why the 10,000-hour rule or five years are pivotal to honing your craft.

Ask anyone who has been successful, and all will attest that it takes a few years (usually about five) to really get good and master what you do. One may see early successes, but the time that you will invest in the early years building the foundations of your career and the hard work — yes, hard work — that you put in will benefit you down the road.

Ash Athawale, Senior Group Managing Director — Global Executive Search, Robert Half

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

I remember receiving the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I thought the gift was a joke at first, but the book really made an impression on me when I read it during my transition. I find it a classic gift for those new grads and ones making a change in their careers.

Gene Kim, Director of Permanent Placement Services, Robert Half

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. This timeless classic holds all of life’s meaningful lessons and was gifted to me upon my graduation. I still have it proudly displayed on my bookshelf.

Megan Slabinski, District President, Robert Half

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I was given this book as a graduation present as well. It takes a lighthearted but insightful view of life’s possibilities, opportunities and challenges. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of your attitude in dealing with all those things as well!

William Driscoll, Senior District President, Technology Staffing Services, Robert Half

It’s Not Just Who You Know by Tommy Spaulding

It’s Not Just Who You Know by New York Times bestselling author Tommy Spaulding. Success, in both business and life, is about relationships. In this book, Tommy illustrates how establishing deeper connections is about authenticity, not manipulation and reciprocity, not selfishness. Meaningful relationships are not just about who you know and what they can do for you, but what YOU can do for THEM.

In this powerful guide, Tommy shows how developing deeper relationships through putting others first can, in turn, benefit you.

Angela Lurie, SVP — Full-Time Engagement Professionals, Robert Half

Living With a SEAL by Jesse Itzler

It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and conditioning your mind and being repetitive and disciplined to be successful.

Rich Deosingh, District President, Robert Half

Atomic Habits by James Clear

One of my favorite books that I frequently recommend to new graduates is Atomic Habits by James Clear. The book is a New York Times bestseller, and it provides simple, proven methods to help individuals enhance the way they think, while building practical and healthy habits designed to make them more efficient in their personal life and career.

Jordan Quigley, Vice President, North America, Robert Half

Robert Half leaders (top row, from left): William Driscoll, Jordan Quigley, Rich Deosingh and Megan Slabinski; (middle row, from left): Abby Thompson, Jamy Sullivan and Ash Athawale; (bottom row, from left): Angela Lurie, Jim Johnson and Gene Kim.

For more insight into how to succeed at finding a job after graduation, see this post featuring some of Robert Half’s senior leaders sharing the best job search advice they have ever received.