By Heidi Simmons

Promote Yourself

By Dan Schawbel

Non Fiction

Author Dan Schawbel was the keynote speaker at the October 30, 2014 Annual Coachella Valley Economic Summit. He spoke about Millennials in the workplace and the importance of businesses to accommodate their expectations that include flexibility, transparency and a social conscience.

An expert in the field of Generation Y and a career guru, Schawbel’s Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press, 304 pages) and Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing, 288 pages), are two books to better understand the changing world of business and the nature of online branding.

According to Schawbel, the generation born between 1982 and 1993 are considered Generation Y — also know as Millennials. Today they make-up 36 percent of the work force. By 2020 they will be 46 percent and by 2025 Gen Y will be 75 percent. They are considered “narcissistic and entitled,” yet they have strong moral convictions.


Schawbel says this group values work and sees the boss as another parent. He says, “The work place should be like going to Starbucks.” They appreciate having a job, consider it a privilege because they know 40 percent of their peers don’t have one. They are obedient. They strongly desire to be mentored and require face-to-face support. Gen Y is likely to change jobs every two years and competing companies actively recruit them through their online profiles.

The business world has changed. Schawbel says that there is no longer a nine-to-five workday. It has become a 24/7 business environment.

Schawbel suggests for businesses to compete, they must accommodate the Millennials and do whatever it takes to retain them. Businesses must consider how they present themselves to Generation Y. They should have an active online presence that includes being personal and transparent.

Further, managers must now consider having flexible schedules that allow Gen Y to work from home. It is increasingly important for companies to have a social conscience and be involved with some activity that benefits society.

Generation Y does not trust politicians or CEOs. They do not strive for the corner office, but prefer to sit in open cubicles. Schawbel says since technology allows them to jump around, it is wise to not restrict personal use of devices while in the office.

For Millennials it is not about the money, it’s about their time. Schawbel suggests that if Gen Y could afford to stay home and work, they would. And over the next decade there will be a trend of more Millennials freelancing.

It is less expensive to retain Millennials and to promote them from within. Once you get them to work for you, it is worth trying to keep them. Schawbel suggests companies need to set expectations for them, present a clear career path and provide support and a mentor.

Schawbel presented a chart that described the attributes of the different generations from Baby Boomers to Generation Z. Gen Z is about to enter the work force and they are even more diverse and complicated than their older siblings, Gen Y.

Gen Z doesn’t believe in education because they think it’s pointless. They can learn everything they need to know from other sources that exist at their fingertips. They believe they can train themselves. Gen Z is globally connected and tech savvy. There are 23 million of them.

Just as the title suggests, Promote Yourself is all about positioning yourself in the workplace for promotion. Schawbel uses interviews with top executives, managers and Millennial employees from the country’s best companies. There are a few creative companies like Google and Pandora, but mostly he talks with Fortune 500 organizations.

Schawbel includes step-by-step advice to create a unique personal brand and suggests ways to leverage and maximize your skill set to get ahead.

This book may be best for Gen X and Boomers who struggle to understand online branding. Much of it seems obvious to Gen Y. But Gen Y may appreciate how to get in good with their Baby Boomer bosses.

In Me 2.0, Schawbel continues the steps and importance of branding. He emphasizes an online presence. Today, instead of the résumé touting your brand, it is anything that comes up on Google. Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, etc., now tell your story.

Author Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is a columnist at Time and Forbes and has been featured on over 1,000 media outlets. I’m not sure if he is a Gen X or Gen Y, but it doesn’t really matter. He is multigenerational. Schawbel indeed is his own brand and has positioned himself to speak and write about the most important characteristic of the new generations.

They are a group of people who have the power to change the world and the very nature of business itself.