Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – September 3, 2013

Pages: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1250044553

Some would argue that education or the piece of paper that you get from your college can get you in the organization you want, or in some organization – but then you are on your own. This is probably somewhat true as you will need much more than hard skills to cajole and make your teammates and managers see your point of view. Dan Schawbel stresses that colleges are great for the technical skills of today, but not for preparing students for the workplace and for future jobs.

Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner at Millennial Branding. His earlier book Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future is an international bestseller and is available in 13 languages. He is also a columnist at Time and Forbes and has spoken at top companies and schools across the US.

Ok, you are not a slacker, you can perhaps do ten things at a time, but so can hundreds. So how do you get ahead? Start a small business I hear. That isn’t what used to be either. And as the author argues in this book, you will need some of the same skills to make your business successful as those required to be successful in the corporate arena. With ‘Thinking Inside the Box”, the author asks you to look for prospects inside the company. Become an expert, the go-to person on something. Remember “Maggie” from The Newsroom? Trying desperately to become the go-to person on Africa? You want to be that person to get a ticket to your Africa.

There are books and many other resources that will help you make the transition from college to the corporate world fast. This book, is about what skills you need to climb up the corporate ladder and find the happiness that comes from pursuing your passion – only, within the organization.

The book is an excellent resource for graduates standing on the cusp of their professional life. It is equally useful to anyone who feels that their career is not progressing in the direction they want. If you think your current job has lost all its charm and moving to a new organization or starting a business is the only salvation, this book is for you. An unhappy worker is of little use to any organization, and an organization that believes human capital is the key to their success, will help you achieve your goals. Dan Schwabel’s main argument in Promote Yourself . . . is that you should try to be an Intrapreneur rather than an Entrepreneur. This approach is likely to give you the benefits of starting your own business without the associated risks.

From this premise, everything in the book focuses on how to get more visibility through communication with your boss and teammates, working on the right projects, networking with the right people, and pitching innovative ideas to the management.

In the first chapter, The Future is You, the author provides enough data to prove that change in the workplace is inevitable, and discusses how some organizations have already prepared themselves for the future, that is, the millennial workforce. The chapter Mostly talks about how millennials think and perceive everything related to work, their aspirations, their behavior, and their views about promotions – where age and number of years in service should not be an automatic qualification for getting promoted.

But the young workforce too needs to understand the changing corporate landscape. Chapter 2, Hard Skills: Be More than Your Job Description, is all about the technical skills young graduates in the US need. The author makes some important points such as the need to understand the current and future market needs and that you need to ride the wave to stay indispensable to your organization. The author also warns that average can’t win over cheap average, and definitely not against cheap Above Average. Based on the observations, Dan Schawbel talks about the current skills and some that will be required in the future. He advises on skills gap analysis and discusses options that you can use as an employee to upgrade your core skills. The author also shows how to strategically upgrade the skills to get where you want to be.

The Soft Skills: Make Every Impression Count chapter addresses one of the most important factors linked to your progress within an organization. Ever wondered why the smarter one didn’t advance? The author elaborates how advancement in the corporate world is a sum of much more than just being the smartest and the most dedicated worker. Here, a short assessment of your soft skills helps you analyze your skills gap and how to plug that gap. Distributed teams are a reality in the Internet age. If you think your teammate sitting next to your boss has a better chance because of the physical proximity, the author presents a special section on soft skills for remote workers.

Living 15-20 miles away from your co-workers and office does not give you anonymity anymore. Our digital lives are more or less accessible to everyone. According to Dan Schawbel, some managers think your online behavior is a reflection of your professional behavior and puts the organization’s reputation on the line. Ergo – think twice before you post online. But that doesn’t mean that you stay away from building an online presence. The author gives some excellent suggestions on how to manage your online presence and some specific Dos and Don’ts in the Web 2.0 space.

In the later chapters, the author highlights what managers look for when they are evaluating candidates for a promotion. The author also talks about the typical generational differences in the American workplace right now and how you need to build relationships across this spectrum. Chapter 8, Build Your Network at Work and Beyond, focuses on networking within and outside the organization. However, the author warns against gossiping, or saying anything critical about your organization or boss. You never know who the other person knows – if you cannot keep it to yourself, don’t expect the other person can! In the last couple of chapters the author talks about how happiness is the key to advancement and success, and how you can create a new position for yourself in the organization by following your passion.

In summary, the book is written in a motivational style and provides a pragmatic approach to balancing happiness, passion, and success in your professional life. The main message is that you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. The author backs every advice with personal life experiences and of those he has interviewed or had conversations with. The book tries to convince you that if you pursue them, you can fulfill your dreams without leaving your job. Although the author argues that there are no foolproof steps to get what you want, he provides some helpful pointers on how to go about getting that dream job in your organization. The advice and work environment is mainly based on the American work culture and the book will be beneficial to anyone in the US and those working for American companies outside the US.

So if you think you are hungry for change and changing jobs is the only solution, Think again. This book might change how you look at your current situation and give you the tools you need to get rewarded for your efforts and skills in your current organization.