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.