November 23, 2014

“Promote Yourself” Holds Valuable Advice for Gen Y Job Seekers

gen y job seekersHas there ever been a time when a new generation was accepted into the world of work with open arms?

I’m not sure.  As I write this, I’m reflecting on Dan Schawbel’s latest book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.

And I’m channeling Archie Bunker’s rants to his “Meat Head” son-in-law about how useless the new generation is.  It seems that nothing much has changed from the 1970’s until today.  Of course, if you’re from a younger generation you probably have no idea who Archie Bunker is, or Meat Head son-in-law, anyway. But I digress.

A Case of Unrequited Love

Check out these stats about the relationships between Gen Y workers and their managers that I pulled out of my review copy:

  • 59% of Gen Y workers view their managers positively and believe they can offer experience.  49% feel their managers can offer wisdom and 33% feel that they have a willingness to mentor.
  • These managers, however, have an overall negative view of their Gen Y employees. 51% say they have unrealistic compensation expectations.  47% feel they have a poor work ethic and 46% say they are easily distracted.

Overall, not what I’d call a workplace environment of mutual regard.  But you already knew that.  What you may not have known is that despite our 7% unemployment rate, there are over 3 million jobs that go unfilled due to a lack of unqualified workers.

This is a big issue and not one that Schawbel solves in Promote Yourself.  What he does, however, is offer the reader the unique skills and strategies  they’ll need to get ahead (and get a job) today and for the rest of their careers.

I think he says it best here, on page two of the book:

So here’s the situation. The economy sucks, which leaves a lot of people afraid to quit their jobs because they won’t be able to find a new one. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy and a traditional college education isn’t the guarantee of future success that it once was.  The good news is that there are a lot of other ways to take control of your career without quitting your job, striking out on your own or burning your diploma.

Promote Yourself is a Manifesto of the Modern Workplace

I’ve known Dan Schawbel for a few years and one of the things I love about him is that he truly embodies an ideal persona of the Gen Y workforce. (Hey Dan, if you’re reading this, don’t let it go to your head).  In all of his books, he’s taken on the task of being the bridge to the generation gap.  What I’m trying to say is that Dan is especially skilled in speaking to both the young and the experienced audience in a way that helps them understand each other and work together.

Promote Yourself is a great example of exactly this.  Schawbel’s Gen Y Workplace Expectation Study is the foundation of this book.  It’s a result of Schawbel’s interviews with 79 employees from 69 global companies across a variety of industries that included Mariott, NBC, Universal, Dreamworks, GE, Cisco and many more.

Based on the results, he’s summarized the following 14 rules of today’s work environment and how to promote yourself by following them:

  1. Your job description is just the beginning.
  2. Your job is temporary.
  3. You’re going to need a lot of skills you probably don’t have right now.
  4. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have.
  5. Your personal life is now public.
  6. You need to build a positive presence in new media.
  7. You’ll need to work with people from different generations.
  8. Your boss’s career comes first.
  9. The one with the most connections wins.
  10. Remember the rule of one.
  11. You are the future.
  12. Entrepreneurship is for everyone not just business owners.
  13. Hours are out, accomplishments are in.
  14. Your career is in your hands, not your employer’s.

This gives you the foundation for the entire book.  There are eleven chapters in the book and while they don’t share the names of the fourteen points, you’ll see the each chapter addresses these new rules and gives readers a lot of specific advice on how to navigate the workplace economy.

How Did Dan Get So Smart?

I met Dan when he was writing the Personal Branding Blog, a Forbes Magazine “Top Web Site for Your Career.”  He also published Personal Branding Magazine, for which I was a contributor.  So I’ve been watching him a long time.

Since then, he’s become the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He’s the author of Me 2.0 and has been featured in every business media property you can think of: Forbes, NBC, Time Warner and the rest of them.  Dan was also named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 list in 2010 and several other awards for young influencers too numerous to mention here.

The bottom line is that Dan has become the spokesperson for the Gen Y cohort and has built quite the career out of knowing, understanding and advising our next generation of leaders.

It’s Not Just for Gen Y

You might think this book is written for the Gen Y job seeker, and you would be right.

But I see this book as a valuable read for any small business owner.  Whether you are hiring full-time employees or even freelancers or contractors, Promote Yourself will give you valuable insight into Gen Y workers.

6 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

6 Reactions

  1. You see, I was reading your description of the book and thinking to myself I could do with reading it myself even though I’m in my 30s! (or borrow it off my nephew if he buys it!)

    Of the 14 rules, no 12 resonates as it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. I don’t consider myself to be a business owner, but as an artist, it doesn’t mean I can’t or shouldn’t be entrepreneurial with the things that I choose to do.

  2. Managers have an overall negative view of their Gen Y employees because these employees tend to work the least while expecting to be paid the most. They have unrealistic compensation expectations, poor work ethic and are easily distracted. Basically they have a cushy life and are born in an era where there are the latest smartphones, iPads, iPods, etc.

    • I don’t know, Diana. There are some pretty under-performing non-Gen-Y employees out there. I don’t see managers having an overall negative view about the group those particular under-performers fall into — so why hold that view towards Gen-Y employees?

  3. Yes. This is not just for Gen Y as this idea also applies to other employees. And for the idea that they are under-performers, I think that that’s a generalization. I think that there are still some Gen Y people that have good work ethics. Generalizing will not do anything good after all. But I loved the ideas presented in this book. I might give it a read.

  4. Thanks for recommending the book, Ivana. The rules enumerated are true–entrepreneurship is for everyone. How you manage your finances, how you can earn your income, how you market yourself is all part of entrepreneurship. This is how the Millenials will realize that they have to think themselves as a brand and personify themselves to stand out in the crowd.

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