Book Review: Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success

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Schawbel, Dan. 2013. Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success. St. Martin’s Press: New York. 250p. $25. ISBN: 978-1-250-04455-6

The workforce is evolving. How workers promote themselves and their work has changed, with “change” being the only constant. This is the theme of Dan Schawbel’s recent book written for the newest people in the workforce, the Millennials. Intended for the youngest generation in the economy, the common sense approach and practical advice are relevant to any employee, including the experienced worker who is looking for a promotion or searching for a new job.

Schawbel’s main areas of discussion include: the importance of soft skills; social media skills; self-promotion; and building relationships or one’s network - both online and in person. The chapters covering these topics are full of how-to information, including the steps a new employee can take to talk with one’s manager about how to succeed in a current position, gain the training necessary for promotion, as well as the characteristics and behavior that make an exceptional employee.

The section on managing one’s social media presence and skills should be read by all employees in the workforce! As more employers use social media to review potential hires, it is imperative for new workers to build a healthy online presence and current employees consciously maintain a good online image. The author emphasizes that employees are an online reflection on their employer; this point should influence employees to think before they post. The author includes advice for creating online content, building digital connections and cleaning up a damaged reputation.

Schawbel’s discussion on building work relationships across generations is an in-depth review of the current workforce, including statistics on how the workplace will change by 2025. The author encourages inter-generation engagement in the workplace through an understanding of generational values, work styles and communication preferences. Schawbel suggests Millennial employees be proactive in asking for advice, searching for a work mentor and for participating in projects that allow their technology skills to shine.

The book finishes strong with chapters on how to turn one’s passion into a promotion, using intrapreneurship in one’s current job to explore new projects or opportunities that will benefit one’s company, and how to evaluate when to move up, sideways within the company or move on to a new position or job. The author’s commentary on job hopping and starting a business are must read advice for all employees. 

This book is recommended for all types of libraries, in particular academic libraries. As librarians interact on a regular basis with Millennials as students, student workers or new colleagues, this resource will help the reader understand the newest generation in the workforce. For new employees, this book is an excellent guide on how to standout in the workplace, effectively promote one’s work and be aware of the soft skills necessary to thrive in the competitive workplace. The real world examples provided by the author balance the advice and suggestions for new employees, providing an easy-to-read manual for managing one’s career.

Marcia L. Dority Baker is the Access Services Librarian at Schmid Law Library, University of Nebraska College of Law.

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