No matter how long you’ve been out of school, June calls up memories of the first glorious days of summer vacation. For me, that meant lazing in the sun reading a great book.

As I’ve grown older, summer still feels like the season of reading. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a straw bag full of “beach reads,” like suspense novels and fashion magazines (although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few of those). Summer can be a great time to fill your brain with business, particularly if you’re involved in a job hunt.

Reading can help your job hunt and career in numerous ways:

  • Reading books, articles and news related to your industry will keep your skills and knowledge sharp, and help you to feel and sound “in the know” at networking events and during other professional interactions. As Harry Truman once said, “leaders are readers.”
  • Reading insights from successful people and business experts may spark new thinking or a jolt of inspiration about your career planning or job hunting tactics.
  • Reading helps you discover great content to share with people in your LinkedIn network. This builds your relationships with the connections who see your updates and provides opportunities for people to keep you in mind when they hear about jobs in your field. (p.s. If you post an article that would really resonate with one person in particular, LinkedIn now offers the ability to “mention” a LinkedIn connection in any post you share by typing in that person’s name. For example, “Check out what Bill Gates said he has learned from Warren Buffett — you will particularly enjoy this, Jane Smith!”)

To help you achieve these outcomes and others, here is your unofficial LinkedIn summer reading list, including four books, two blog posts and an ongoing daily assignment:

Recommended Books:

Linchpin by Seth Godin

This book by marketing guru Seth Godin gives unique advice on how to view your career in today’s constantly changing world. According to Godin, a linchpin is “somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable.” Read this book to discover how to position yourself as a “linchpin” to potential employers.

The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, both successful start-up entrepreneurs, advise individuals to treat their careers like start-up businesses. This means investing in yourself, taking risks and doing quite a bit of hustling. Read this book to rethink your overall career strategy and learn how to build a professional network that will help you make things happen.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

According to “introvert spokesperson” Susan Cain, there are far more introverts in the world than you might think. You may be one yourself and, no matter what field you work in, you will certainly have introverts in your network and as colleagues in your next job. In fact, you’re probably interacting with introverted recruiters and interviewers as we speak. In this book you’ll learn what makes introverts tick, and most important, how to communicate better across personality types.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

Never Eat Alone, written almost a decade ago, is still my most recommended book on professional networking. Ferrazzi gives specific, actionable tips based on his own relationship building success.  If you don’t quite “get” how to network or you never know exactly what to say when you want to reach out to someone, then this is the book for you.

Recommended Blog Posts:

Deepak Chopra’s 2013 Commencement Speech

No matter what year you graduated, Chopra’s “seven skills of self-awareness” will inspire you to be true to yourself and forge a career that has meaning to you. Beyond feeling inspired, why not post a quote from this or another notable commencement address to your LinkedIn profile as a way to engage your connections? It’s a simple and positive way to stay on people’s radar screens (Keith Ferrazzi calls it “pinging”) without directly mentioning your job search.

My Best Mistake: Writing the Un-cover Letter by J.T. O’Donnell

When it comes to job hunting, sometimes you have to trust your gut and take a chance. That’s why I love this post from LinkedIn Influencer J.T. O’Donnell, about how she broke the rules of cover letter writing — her “big mistake” — and landed her dream job. Scan through other posts in LinkedIn’s “My Best Career Mistake” channel as well, not only because they share helpful advice, but also because they will remind you to take risks and welcome failure. Risk and failure can often lead to the greatest moves of your career.

Ongoing Reading Assignment:

My final reading recommendation is to continually expose yourself to professional information and ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with your career or industry. Why? Because it will make you different. Because an article about healthcare could spark a truly unique idea in your mind about your field of architecture. Because exposing yourself to a range of topics gives you a different perspective from other job seekers and a much wider world of opportunity. A quick and easy way to do this is by subscribing to LinkedIn’s Editor’s Picks, which includes smart content on a variety of subjects.

Bonus Tip

When it comes to any blog posts you read on LinkedIn or elsewhere, be sure to check out the comments beneath them as well. While viewing the comments of other readers, you may come across someone you want to reach out to, perhaps a recruiter or another professional in your industry. As a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium subscriber, you can do this through an InMail message.

When you reach out, be sure to relate your message to the article where you found the person’s comment. This will help establish rapport and lessen the potential awkwardness of reaching out to a stranger. Check out the person’s full LinkedIn profile as well to see if you have anything else in common. And then write something like this:

Jeff,

I really enjoyed the comment you posted on the article, “9 Business Books that Will Change Your Life.” I completely agree that some magazine articles and blog posts have changed my career more than books. Your comment led me to your profile and I discovered that we are both former IBM-ers. Would you be willing to connect here on LinkedIn and perhaps chat by phone sometime about the mobile tech market? I am in the midst of a job search and would value your career advice as someone with such a successful path and similar background.

Thanks for considering my request,

Lindsey

It’s also, of course, a wise move to comment on LinkedIn Today articles yourself. You never know when a recruiter or contact might reach out because he or she was impressed by a smart observation or suggestion you shared. Leaders are readers… and they are writers, too!