The holiday shopping season has arrived, and it is time to start thinking about gifts for the people who are important in our lives. What could be better than something that helps move someone’s career forward?
With that in mind, I asked for suggestions as to what the "must have" career gifts are this season. Here are some of the best ideas I received:
• Cindy Y. Chan, founder of StyleSynch.com, suggests a McKlein Geneva Leather Laptop Tote ($143.99). According to Cindy, "A bag says a lot about a woman. The same is true for working women. A professional yet feminine career laptop will say to others that its owner is confident, capable and has got all her stuff together, literally and figuratively."
• Business etiquette consultant Arden Clise thinks a business cardholder would be the perfect gift: "So many people hand out business cards that have been bent in their wallet or stained in the bottom of their purse. A nice business card holder helps your cards and you to look classy." Consider the deluxe stainless steel cardholder from Blomus ($20). Clise also suggested an engraved pen and pencil set or pen and letter opener set.
• In the gadget category, Renee Volpini suggests the WakeMate ($50), a smartphone accessory that uses Bluetooth sensor technology to track personal sleep data. As many executives suffer from a lack of sleep, the WakeMate wristband measures body movement during sleep and communicates directly with the wearer’s mobile phone to find the ideal wake point closest to his or her alarm setting.
• On a lighter note, Norma Rosenfield from Marbles: The Brain Store suggests games that stimulate the mind. Two of her favorites are Link 26 ($14.99), a game that tests your memory and vocabulary as you recall words and think of new words, and Quarto! ($34.99), a strategy game that tests judgment, organizational skills and ability to categorize, as players are required to keep track of the multiple attributes of the playing pieces.
Kyra Lausman suggests Spitball Dartpads — Decisions, ($11 from knockknock.biz) The decision-making process can be fraught with agony, sleeplessness, and potential regret. Avoid making those hard decisions. Leave it to chance.
• Books also are a great holiday gift that can really make a difference in someone’s career, but only if they actually read them. Here are a few ideas:
Selena Dehne suggests "Find A Job Through Social Networking." Millions of people have embraced social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but too few understand how much influence these sites can have in accelerating their job search and career. According to Dehne, this book offers "a guide, to use social networking tools" to find jobs, seek advice, research employers, build a network and create online portfolios and blogs. Additional guidance and worksheets help readers develop and communicate their personal brand online."
Doug Carlson offers up his book, "Me and Him Are Killing English!" as an inexpensive stocking-stuffer for individuals just embarking on their careers. He notes that it can serve "as a not-so-subtle message to mend their grammar to improve chances for success and advancement because business leaders aren’t ‘me and him’ talkers and they’re not likely to promote those who are."
And for the women in your life, I am not beyond suggesting my own new book, "A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating," co-authored with my daughter Jessica, a director with Cushman & Wakefield. Negotiating is a skill that is a virtual prerequisite for success in business. Men and women negotiate differently, and this book was written to help women learn to use what comes naturally to them to become more effective negotiators. Most of us put a lot of time and effort in trying to find the right gifts for the people we care about. When giving gifts this season, keep in mind this advice from Peter Handal, chairman, CEO and president of Dale Carnegie Training: "Keep it simple, know your boundaries, and be sure to add a personal touch."