Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success by Dan Schawbel [Book Review]

By on September 3, 2013

Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success by Dan SchawbelDan Schawbel cornered a market before anyone else knew that it existed. He identified an important trend in our economy and informed thousands of people who were just learning about personal branding and helped them educate themselves on the topic. For his vision, he quickly became one of the most well-renowned personal branding gurus worldwide.

I recently got ahold of his latest book, Promote Yourself, and sat down to give it a read.

Schawbel has a beautiful vision for the millennial generation, but he outlines his issue with higher education throughout the book with lines like, “As I see it, one of the biggest problems is that while schools are giving out degrees as quickly as they can print ‘em, they aren’t doing a particularly good job of actually preparing young workers for the real world.

Organized into five basic sections, Promote Yourself, attempts to teach young workers:

• Building a repertoire of employable skills
• Visibility and influence within an organization
• A by-the-numbers breakdown of what managers are looking for in new hires
• Extracurricular ways to improve your skill-sets and visibility for future resumes
• A short break-down on when to move up, move on, or sit tight at your job.

The novel, as far as I’m concerned, is a how-to guide for the skills that every entrepreneur should outfit themselves with before launching into their next venture. Schawbel outlines a very important division between hard and soft skills. Hard skills basically make up your baseline abilities including stuff like budgeting, contract negotiating, software proficiencies, and many other resume basics. What separates a would-be upwardly mobile employee from stagnation is their willingness to teach themselves hard skills outside the workplace.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, know a young student about to join the workforce, or just like reading about interesting ways that the business world is changing: Promote Yourself is a can’t-miss-it novel. As an employer, I compare my hiring practices with Schawbel’s analyses and spot where I’ve picked up my best hires. Equally useful is how the novel breaks down extracurricular activities that benefit an employee’s value within the workforce. Essentially, he’s explaining to potential employees that I’d rather see your blog about HTML than hear about how good you are at it.

While Promote Yourself is primarily targeted at millennials, the underlying narrative about the book is a call to avoid stagnation in anything that you do. What separates good and bad entrepreneurs is devotion. Devotion is quantifiable by engaging with research, social media, and blogging. For the budding entrepreneur, this is a how-to guide for ways to improve your life in both business and education.

Dan Schawbel combines the facts, know-how, and advice necessary to build any budding entrepreneur into a well-branded powerhouse. He does this from a place of experience and focuses his arguments around ways that you can improve your resume now while completely avoiding empty positivity. Pick it up in September for a friend, a kid, coworker, or yourself. They’ll thank you.

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.