Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success

Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success


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Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success by Dan Schawbel

How people perceive you at work has always been vital to a successful career. Now with the Internet, social media, and the unrelenting hum of 24/7 business, the ability to promote yourself in person, as well as online, effectively has become absolutely essential.

Dan Schawbel gives you the new rules for success, and answers your most pressing questions about your career:

· How do I decide on the right career path?

· What are managers really looking for?

· What do you do if you're stuck at work?

· How do you create a personal brand for professional success?

· How do you use social media to propel your career?

Promote Yourself lays out a step-by-step process for building a successful career in an age of ever-changing technologies and economic uncertainty.

Promote Yourself is the definitive book on how to build an outstanding career. Now with a new chapter on strategies to help you take charge of the job market, and take advantage of opportunities that will help you find the best career path for you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250044556
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 09/03/2013
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dan Schawbel is a columnist at both Time and Forbes, and is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. Recognized as a "personal branding guru" by The New York Times and named to both the Inc. and Forbes "30 Under 30 List," he is also the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future and the founder of the He lives in New York, New York.

Foreword by MARCUS BUCKINGHAM, New York Times bestselling author of Now, Discover Your Strengths

Read an Excerpt

Promote Yourself

The New Rules For Career Success

By Dan Schawbel

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2013 Dan Schawbel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-02567-8


The Future Is YOU

Millennials hold the keys to unlocking the secrets of tomorrow.


We are Millennials. We are eighty million strong and we're taking over the world. I am fully confident that this generation will transform business as we know it for the better. We've lost trust in organizations, we're pushing them to align with social causes, and we want them to support our local communities. We aren't fond of corporate hierarchies and don't want to feel constrained by a nine-to-five workday. We believe that companies shouldn't judge performance by tenure, age, or hours worked but on results achieved. As more of us enter the workforce, change will happen rapidly and companies that don't adjust will lose out on the most in-demand talent pool in history. In 2014, 36 percent of the U.S. workforce will be Millennials (aka Gen Y). By 2020, we'll be up to 46 percent, and we'll account for 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. We have the power to change corporate America because a decade from now we will be corporate America. We have the power to change corporate America because a decade from now we will be corporate America. Valerie Grillo, Chief Diversity Officer of American Express, understands the full potential and magnitude of Millennials. "We live in a world where digital and social media have completely changed the way we connect with and market to our customers. Attracting and retaining the best available talent is critical to long-terms success—Millennials are a key component of that strategy."

But this isn't a story only about the future. A recent study by my company and PayScale concluded that 15 percent of Millennials are already in management positions. As our influence continues to grow, I believe that we'll force companies to be more transparent in the workplace, have a more honest recruitment process, and become more collaborative. Hierarchies will collapse, mega corporate buildings will consolidate and turn into optional co-working spaces. Employees will be able to work anywhere at any time and will be judged only on the results they produce.

The workplace will become more like a game instead of a chore, and will have a culture that looks more like a start-up than an old-school enterprise. This is great news for workers and for any and all companies that adapt to these changes. But don't just take my word for it. Cynthia Trudell, Chief Human Resource Officer at PepsiCo, also sees the tremendous impact Millennials will have on the workplace. "Many of the operating changes we're making today are designed to move ourselves to a flat hierarchy and away from the old traditional command and control. If you envision the future and you watch the way Gen Y works as a team, it's because they're trained to do that in school, and that's the way of the future."

So why am I telling you all of this? Simple: I think that by understanding the impact your generation will have on the workforce in the years to come, you'll know what you need to do now to get noticed at work and get people interested in your ideas. Once that's in the bag, you're well on your way to becoming a leader at your company.

Some companies have already begun changing their culture to make it more Millennial-friendly. The same PayScale study I worked on shows that the average tenure for Millennials is two years (five for Gen X and seven for Baby Boomers). Chegg Inc., an online textbook rental service based in Silicon Valley, had trouble retaining its Millennials for even the two-year average. The company created an unlimited paid-vacation policy, something that HubSpot, Netflix, and a few others implemented years before. Employers that offer these plans find that besides being a good recruiting tool, they also increase employees' productivity by eliminating stress from their lives that could impact their job performance. Some employers have gone even further, actually giving employees spending money to use during their vacation, but with the caveat that they can't do any work and have to be completely disconnected from technology while they're away. Employers say that when employees get back they're more refreshed and ready to go.

The annual turnover rate of Millennials at Chegg has fallen by 50 percent each year for the last two years as a result of the program. Another company, software maker Aprimo, guarantees recent college grads an increase in responsibility within a year, a policy the company credits with increasing their Millennial retention rate by 85 percent. Bottom line: Companies that demonstrate to employees that they care about them and their careers (in part by making the workplace more Millennial-friendly and providing opportunities to take on more responsibility) will retain them. Everyone else will lose the battle for talent. But we still have a long way to go.

Here are a few more examples of the tremendous impact Millennials will have on the workplaces of today and tomorrow:

We'll take down the firewall. Millennials are always connected through technology, and use social media tools and their smartphones to keep in touch with family, friends, and coworkers. Smart companies will allow for social usage at work because it makes workers more productive, allows for fast and cheap communication across the world, and makes their employees happy. On the other hand, companies that block social media sites in the workplace and limit our mobile device choices will have trouble recruiting and/or retaining Millennials. When Millenials take charge of the workplace, all companies (with a few exceptions in highly regulated industries) will allow for open technology use. Thirty-three percent of Millennials would choose social media freedom and device flexibility over a higher salary. And according to Cisco, 56 percent wouldn't work at a company that banned social media use.

We will turn work into more of a game than a chore. Millennials grew up playing video games, and we're constantly pursuing our dream jobs. We aren't willing to settle, are highly optimistic, and believe that our job should reflect our lifestyle. When we're bored with our job, we end up leaving. In the future, Millennials will turn the way that work gets done around. Gamification in the workplace is already starting to gain traction now but will become standard in the future. Gamification is a new way to train and develop employees using games. One example of a company that's already used gamification to cultivate a loyal millennial employee base is BlueWolf Consulting. Employees at BlueWolf earn points by posting new topics for discussion or responding to coworker posts, which keeps the company innovative and increases engagement. In addition, they are encouraged to share posts, white papers, and other materials through their own social network profiles. They earn points when their posts are clicked, which can be cashed in for different prizes such as iPads or lunch with the CEO. As a result, their Web site traffic increased by 45 percent, and traffic on their corporate blog went up by 80 percent. Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70 percent of companies will have at least one gamified application.

We will work with our friends. Millennials want work to feel more like home, and we're more likely than workers of previous generations to choose a job just to be with our friends. This is why so many of us start businesses and choose our friends as business partners. We see the lines between personal and professional blended and feel that it's easier to bring our social life with us to work that way.

We will build a collaborative organization. Millennials are big on collaboration. And if we're going to have a more collaborative workplace, the actual physical structure of the workplace has to be redesigned (individual cubicles, for example, are quite isolating). So instead of traditional office space, we will have social spaces customized to our own needs. Two examples of this are Unilever's Hamburg office and Microsoft's office in Amsterdam, where employees don't have permanent desks and are encouraged to move around and find the place they can be most productive. In the workplace of the not too distant future, you'll see offices designed without cubicles, more extensive use of open spaces and round tables, virtual offices, and more companies using coworking spaces instead of enormous corporate buildings with thousands of employees in them. Technology will be a major part of how employees collaborate and we're seeing this already through internal social networks and social media tools that allow for blogs, forum posts, video, and so forth. The goal in all of this is to facilitate employee-to-employee communication and interaction.

We will have a positive influence over older generations. Actually, this is already happening. For example, we were the first to adopt social networking. Older generations came on board later often because they wanted either to keep in touch with or spy on their children. Since Millennials are so different from previous generations in how they act, behave, make purchasing decisions, and see the world, they will start to change the perceptions and behavior of their elders (74 percent of Millennials already believe that they influence the purchase decisions of their peers and those in other generations). "We can actually see Gen X changing their perception of brands and what they expect of products and services and experiences because Millennials are raising the bar for everybody and that plays out in the workforce," says Ross Martin, Executive Vice President at MTV Scratch at MTV Networks. Part of the issue is that Gen Yers don't just want to be marketed to, they want to be part of the branding and product creation process and engaged with online.

Gen Y's influence extends to the offline world as well. Traditional retailers such as Macy's have begun to offer completely new fashion brands—and are even redesigning their brick-and-mortar stores—to make them more attractive to younger shoppers. And in the workplace, younger workers are reverse mentoring Boomers, making them more tech-savvy, and helping them better use technology to do their jobs.

We'll give corporate America a better reputation. In many circles, corporate America is still seen as impersonal, out of touch, and driven by the bottom line. But 92 percent of Millennials believe that business should be measured by more than just profit and should focus on a societal purpose. Millennials are all about giving back to communities, making a positive difference in the world, and we're known to place meaning over money when it comes to making decisions about where to work. In this way, we're going to have a positive influence on the way business is done, support global charities and nonprofits, and paint a better picture of corporate America in the future.

We will change the way workers are promoted. Promotions typically come after a certain length of time on the job. But Millennials want faster promotions and often aren't willing to wait years to get to the next level at a company. We believe that promotions should be more aligned to accomplishments and results instead of based on age and years of experience. Traditionally, promotions tend to happen at the beginning of a company's fiscal or calendar year. But as our influence grows, promotions will happen anytime they're deserved. The key word here is deserved. You're still going to have to work hard and produce results to constantly add value to your team and your company.

By understanding the impact your generation will have on the workforce in the years to come, you can better prepare for it now and become a leader at your company. This will help you get noticed at work, make people interested in your ideas, and even give you more confidence.

Sounds pretty great, doesn't it? The future is bright and the future is you!


Discover What You Were Meant to Do

We are all born with extraordinary powers of imagination, intelligence, feeling, intuition, spirituality, and of physical and sensory awareness.


Most of us who fall into the Millennial demographic grew up hearing our parents tell us over and over that we're special, that we could be anything we wanted to be. And they tried to help us along by praising everything we did whether we deserved it or not. We got trophies for just about everything, win or lose (when I was a kid, I was the goalie on my soccer team and let through more goals than I stopped. But I've still got a closet full of trophies). I hate to break it to you, but as special as you are, life in the real world is a little more complicated than our parents made it out to be. While there are plenty of opportunities for success, there are also obstacles. Lots of them. In this chapter we're going to be taking an honest look at both with the aim of helping you figure out a solid career path.

Who Are We, Anyway?

For the most part, we Millennials are a pretty optimistic bunch. 84 percent of us believe we're going to get where we want to be in life. We expect to find our life's calling, and in the pursuit of meaningful work, we're willing to make sacrifices—including lower pay—to get it. We also expect to retire at age sixty-three (just two years older than today's average retirement age).

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we're going to be able to get by on optimism alone. Thanks to a tough job market, student loan debt, low starting salaries, and a low savings rate, it's going to take us longer to reach adulthood than previous generations. We're getting married, buying our first homes, and having children later than our parents did. In my research with, we found that only 71 percent of Millennials are living on their own after starting their career. Compare that with 88 percent of Gen X and 96 percent of Boomers when they were our age. Put a little differently, 21.6 million of us were still living with our parents in 2012. That's a lot.

We've also had to rethink the definition of "career." Back in 1980, young workers were twenty-six years old when they hit a median wage of $42,000 per year. The average Millennial won't hit that benchmark until age thirty. Fewer than a third of us are working in jobs that are related to our undergraduate college major, and only 62 percent are in jobs that even require a college degree at all. That means that the career you set out to create might not be the same one you end up with. You'll have to accept that and adapt if you want to be successful.

Given that, it's not much of a surprise that 38 percent of Millennials who are currently working are actively looking for a different role and 43 percent are "open to offers." Only 18 percent expect to stay with their current employer for the long term. This is both a generational trend as well as a global economic one. Millennials don't want to settle for a job they aren't passionate about, and workers see both financial and career development opportunities by moving around.

Another way to look at this is that our generation is the first ever to have a lower quality of life than their parents did. How low? One study estimates that by the time we reach age sixty-five, our generation will be 25 percent less well off than our parents. Despite our optimism, we're not actually going to be able to retire until age seventy-three.

So what does all this mean? On the most basic level, it means that we're going to need to be better at adapting to change. When it comes to the workplace, there's no promise of a "greater tomorrow." The days of going to college, having a few good internships, graduating, and landing a nice job are long gone. These days being special isn't enough; neither are those trophies you got for just showing up. Companies are downsized, merged, or can disappear more quickly than ever before as entire industries are now disrupted by new technologies no one had even thought of a few years—or months—before. And, as mentioned above, what you study in college may not have anything to do with what you do in your career so don't waste your time on regrets if, when looking back, you chose the "wrong" major.

It also means that our definition of "family" is going to change. Besides telling us how great we were (and still are), our parents tend to be very involved in our personal and professional lives. I'm sure you've seen stories (which, sadly, are true) about parents who call a college professor to complain about their child's grades, or about the 8 percent of college grads who actually bring their parents to job interviews. Despite (or maybe because of) that intrusiveness, 37 percent of us say a parent is our mentor (compared with 28 percent who say it's a professor, 21 percent who say it's a friend, and 17 percent who say a current or former employer.)

Perhaps because we've relied so much on our parents, we tend to look at the workplace as a kind of second home. Eighty-eight percent of us want a fun, social work environment. Seventy-one percent want our coworkers to be a second family, with our manager as a kind of work "parent." It has also become much harder to separate what we do at work from our personal lives because technology has made it hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

The problem here is that the workplace is not a place for parents—especially the biological kind. It's nice to have mentors and get advice from people you trust, but ultimately, it's about independence. If you get a job because it's something your parents think you should be doing, you'll be less happy, less engaged, and more likely to quit or get fired.

So, what do you do?


Excerpted from Promote Yourself by Dan Schawbel. Copyright © 2013 Dan Schawbel. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreward by Marcus Buckingham

Introduction: Thinking Inside the Box

1. The Future is YOU

2. Discover What You Were Meant to Do

3. Hard Skills: Be More Than Your Job Description

4. Soft Skills: Make Every Impression Count

5. Online Skills: Use Social Media to Your Advantage

6. Gain Visibility Withough Being Known as a Self-Promotional Jerk

7. What Managers Look for When They Decide Whom to Promote

8. Develop Cross - Generational Relationships

9. Build Your Network at Work and Beyond

10. Turn Your Passion into a New Position

11. Start Your Own Business While on the Job

12. Moving Up, Moving Sidewaysm or Moving ON?

Epilogue: Your Career Is in Your Hands



About the Author

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Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone interested in building a successful career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Promote yourself gives you an inside look on how to effectively brand...or in my case re-brand yourself into a successful employee. I always wanted to be better and do more than everyone else to get ahead. After following the steps dan laid out throughout the book I was able to improve my brand and online social presence within my company. (I created my own twitter and facebook page branded to my company and my name...and then some!) I also highly recommend pairing this book with Napoleon Hill's "Think & Grow Rich" 
CENY More than 1 year ago
This book contains a lot of fluff, such as statements that "starting today, pay more attention to how other people see you" and that it is important to "Have good communication skills". Nothing in this book hasn't been stated time and time before in other career development books. The author wrote this book before he turned 30 and it shows.
Michael_Lee_Stallard More than 1 year ago
Years ago, a friend told me about a book that would help me understand how to advance my career by making headhunters aware of me and my work.  I read the book, applied much of the advice and it made a difference.  Promote Yourself, Dan Schawbel’s new book, is one of those difference-makers for Gen Y.  Really, its message is relevant to all ages in today’s work environment. The book is full of wise and practical ideas and advice to help you develop so that you will become a better employee and better known in your field of interest.  Both are important for career advancement. Promote Yourself covers all the relevant areas:  the hard, soft and online skills you need to develop; how to raise awareness of you and your work without coming off as a self-promotional jerk; what managers look for in promoting people; developing cross-generational relationships; building a network; turning your passion into a new position; moving up, sideways or moving on; and how to work toward starting your own business.     Good books can be like good mentors.  You learn from their advice and grow by applying it.  As you are reading Promote Yourself, I would recommend making a running list of potential action items.  When you’ve completed the book, read through your list and prioritize the action items into three categories: “must do,” “need to do,” and “like to do.” Focus on the must do list over the next year.  As you start, share your list with at least two people who know you well and whom you respect. Ask them to check off the items they see as being most important and to explain why.  Also ask them to encourage you and hold you accountable.  As you complete the action items on the must do list, write them down in the blank pages in the back of the book.  Check in after six months to discuss your progress. Next fall, read the list of action items you accomplished then re-read Promote Yourself and make a new list of the three categories to start the process again. Undertaking this annual process early in your career will be invaluable.  You will most assuredly learn and grow, and people in your field of interest will take notice.  As awareness of you and your abilities rise so will opportunities to advance your career.  Most important, Schawbel’s book, applied as part of an annual time of reflection and planning, will guide you to a satisfying career that benefits society  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read that I would highly recommend, especially for any college student or recent grad. In today's economy and competitive workforce, the ability to set yourself apart is paramount, and "Promote Yourself" provides the guidance to make that happen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take this review with a grain of salt because I haven't read the book. The book says however “Promote Yourself is a perfect read for young people starting their ‘real’ job, or veterans who want to up their game.” That being said if you are a veteran of the game you should know better and if you are a young person you need some better advice. Working to promote yourself is all about you and has no lasting legacy or impact on anyone else's life but your own. Working together to form a company or helping to build a company together results in not only helping yourself and your coworkers but also has long lasting benefits for others. This is an opinion but I have worked in various positions for the past 28 years and I have seen the impact of those who want to build their resumes as opposed to building a company. My opinion.