Gift ideas for job seekers (and other career-minded folks)

Article Title: Gift ideas for job seekers (and other career-minded folks)
Author Byline: Grace Kutney
Author Website:

Do you have any job seekers, prospective interns or new professionals on your holiday shopping list? Here are some fun gift ideas for those career-minded folks for whom you may be shopping. I’ve tried to suggest gifts with varying price ranges and also offer ideas appropriate for close family and friends, and for colleagues with whom you may be less familiar.

I’ve encountered many students whose idea of dressing up for an interview is wearing jeans with no holes in them (understandably a step up if their daily attire consists of pajamas, sweatshirts and flip flops). As we all know, looking the part in a professional setting is important, but can be quite expensive. A few key wardrobe items will help get your job seeker, intern or new professional started in the right direction.

If purchasing clothing items as gifts, stick with conservative colors, such as black, charcoal, navy, brown and gray, however it’s alright for dress shirts or blouses to be a bit more colorful.For men, consider:

For women, consider:


When it comes to accessories, again, stick with conservative styles. For example, choose a leather-looking laptop bag as opposed to a canvas one. Even with high-end items, select those with no or only conservative print. For example, most Coach monogram bags are fairly neutral, but a Juicy Couture bag may be a bit more edgy. With time and more experience, the gift recipient will eventually develop their own professional style, but for now, conservative items will act as foundational pieces upon which the rest of their wardrobe can be built.
Some items to consider:
  • leather, or faux leather padfolio $10 – $50+ at Office Depot
  • briefcase or laptop bag $25 – $200+ at eBags
  • handbag $30 – $500+ at Zappos
  • personalized business card case $6 – $40+ at Red Envelope
  • watch $40 – $150+ at Nordstrom
Gifts to stay organized
Staying organized is key to successfully navigating job search waters and is equally important when starting out in a new job.
Items to consider:
  • USB memory card (to save all those resumes and cover letters) $8 – $100+ at Walmart
  • A calendar or organizer to keep track of when application materials have been sent and when follow-up should occur $12 – $26+ at Office Depot
  • Rolodex $2 – $50+ at Office Depot or business card case $8 – $30+ at Office Depot
Memberships and subscriptions
Many college students, recent grads and young professionals would greatly benefit from membership in a professional association and from staying current with trends within their industry.
Gifts to consider:

  • One year subscription to a trade magazine (fees vary)
  • Subscription to BusinessWeek $46 or The Wall Street Journal $119,
  • One year membership to a professional association – remember that student memberships can often be more affordable than full membership (fees vary)

BooksThere are tons of helpful and interesting books out there for job seekers, new professionals, interns, and even for younger college students who are in the midst of choosing their major. Keep in mind that many college career centers also carry these or similar titles, but if your gift recipient loves books, they may want to have their own copy for their collection.

Titles to consider:
  • Specialized career books, such as “Great Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors,” “Careers in Focus: Computers,” “Career Opportunities in Marketing,” “Opportunities for Extroverts and Others Gregarious Types.” Most of these books can be purchased for less than $25 from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
  • Internship directories, such as “Peterson’s Interships” or “Vault Guide to Top Internships 2008.”
  • Books for new professionals, like, “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World,” or “10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College.”
  • Choosing a major books, such as, “The College Majors Handbook” or “Smart Moves for Liberal Arts Grads: Finding a Path to Your Perfect Career.”
Occupation-specific tools
Keep in mind, your gift recipient may already own some of the tools for his or her trade, but may be longing for better quality versions. Hold off on buying these speciality items unless you know the exact tools and brands most sought after.
Here are some items to serve as examples:
  • art supplies for artists (prices vary)
  • gift certificate for professional headshots for performers (prices vary)
  • a cosmetic brush set for makeup artists $20 – $100+ at Crown Brushes
  • A box or boxes of blank thank you cards – keep them plain, nothing too flowery, cute or quirky. $5 – $25+ at Target
  • office supplies, like desk caddies, pens, and note pads $3 – $50+ at Office Depot

FREE Gifts

  • the names and contact information of some key industry professionals
  • set up an information interview with a professional in his/her field
  • your support and encouragement!

(Prices and merchant links are provided as a convenience and do not necessarily indicate an endorsement of specific merchants or their products.)

About the author: Career development professional with 10 years of experience in career advising. Specializes in working with undergraduate students with little-to-no work experience. Special interests include: international students, immigrant populations, parents transitioning back into the workforce, faith in the workplace, and Christian career counseling.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

About the author, Chief Executive Restaurant Recruiter

Born in Arkansas, moved to FL for 3 years as a youngster. Lived in GA most of my life. Married in 1985, 2 kids, one of each. Graduate of USNA Class of 1980. Love golf, computers, poker, photography, and gadgets.

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