Book Review: Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.
A Handbook for Millennials.
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, by Dan Schawbel. $24.99. Hardback. 250 pages. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press. Pub. Date: September 2013.
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Ready. Set. Take charge of your career!
If anything, that’s the underlying mantra of Dan Schawbel’s new book, Promote Yourself.
Forget about millennial angst. Ignore about a quarter-life crisis. Don’t fret that baby-boomer bosses don’t totally understand you.
Instead, make the focus about what you can control — about what you can do to chart your career, to make progress moving ahead, to build and enhance your brand… your reputation.
Schawbel’s book, while not breaking any new ground, does provide a very thorough roadmap for any and all Gen Ys trying to understand the workplace… trying to gain career traction. As an added bonus, the book designed to help motivate Millennials to achieve career success is written by a Millennial who has made great strides in his career (some of which are documented throughout the book).
The book is an easy read and a great roadmap for any person looking to be proactive about his or her career.
Promote Yourself discusses 10 major topics:
- Your job description is just the beginning. The focus here is that all workers who want to get noticed, get promoted or find new jobs, must seek out opportunities to go above and beyond their job duties.
- Your job is temporary. In other words, always be prepared for the next opportunity because the job you have today could be gone tomorrow.
- You’re going to need a lot of skills you probably don’t have now. Part of these are technical, job-related skills — some of which don’t exist because the jobs do not yet exist. The other skills are soft skills, which employers are increasingly putting more importance — skills such as communications, leadership, teamwork.
- Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have. You may be a hard worker, but if your reputation — your personal career brand — does not support your work ethic, you’ll struggle to get ahead.
- Your personal life is now public. The lines that your parents might have kept between personal and work life have been totally erased by social networking — and your reputation can be enhanced or crushed by how well you manage yourself online.
- You need to build a positive presence in new media. This section deals with branding yourself an expert (via a Website or blog) and expanding your professional network of contacts.
- You’ll need to work with people from different generations. Schawbel talks a lot about how Millennials will take over and completely transform the workplace during the next 20 years — but in the meantime, you’ll have to learn how to work with older (Gen X and Baby Boomers) as well as younger (Gen Z) workers.
- Your boss’s career comes first. The more you help your boss succeed, the more it will help you advance your career.
- The one with the most connections wins. Success will be more about who you know than what you know… and, again, being deeply connected will be key to your advancement.
- Remember the role of one. All it takes is just ONE person to change your life for the better; even if many people are saying no, you just need that one person who believes in you.
- You are the future. By 2020, almost half of the U.S. workforce will be Millennials… and by 2025, Gen Y will account for three-quarters of the global workforce.
- Entrepreneurship is for everyone not just business owners. You may or may not ever start your own business, but you have to treat your future career — and brand — as your own to grow, nurture, and sell.
- Hours are out, accomplishments are in. It’s no longer about how many hours you work, but what you achieve — and then how well you promote those accomplishments
- Your career is in your hands, not your employers. Neither your employer nor your boss is responsible for your future; you must be accountable for your own career and take charge of your own life.
Promote Yourself is divided into five sections. In the first, Schawbel shows you how to build the hard (technical) and soft (interpersonal) skills you need to succeed; the good news is that there are many avenues for building your skill set. In the second, Schawbel plays to his strength and takes the reader through the maze of building your brand and learning how to promote yourself without getting labeled a braggart. In the third, Schawbel discusses what managers are looking for when hiring and promoting young professionals. In the fourth, Schawbel highlights what activities you should be doing outside the workplace to build your brand. In the final section, Schawbel helps you with assessing when you should stay with your current job and employer and when you should make a change.
Besides being a Millennial himself, Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. His previous book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, is about how to find a new job by leveraging social media and other emerging technologies.
For additional information on taking charge of your career and your career brand, see also:
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.