(RNN) – Dan Schawbel has made it his life's work to help others – mostly millennials - get ahead at work.
So what, exactly, makes him qualified?
At 29, Schawbel is just enough millennial to understand how his generational peers think … but having launched a successful company, he's racked up enough practical experience to understand the dynamics of a workplace.
Schawbel turned a humble blog with a few followers into a business and a speaking engagement at Google, which lead to stints writing articles for Time and Forbes, among others.
Eventually, he quit his full-time corporate job to focus on building his company, Millennial Branding.
About 142,000 Twitter followers later, he's written a book to share his hard-earned knowledge with others.
Did we mention he's 29?
Schawbel meshes both his generational understanding and business savvy in his new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, which came out Tuesday.
Promote Yourself presents millennials with a comprehensive guide for building skills and relationships at work and helps their Gen X and baby boomer managers understand just how exactly this new, plugged-in generation views the workplace.
Informative without being heavy, the book offers practice advice for impressing managers, developing mentorships and using social media so it helps, not derails, your career.
Schawbel addresses 14 rules which include "Your job description is just the beginning," "Hours are out, accomplishments are in" and "Your career is in your hands, not your employer's" that he says young employees will need to master to thrive in a modern day work environment.
Included in the pages are results of Schawbel's own research, having surveyed 1,000 managers and 1,000 young employees about attitudes and expectations at work, highlighting where those groups align and where they may differ in their perceptions.
Schawbel spoke to us about his new book and about why just sticking to your job description isn't enough anymore.
Q: The title of your book, Promote Yourself, isn't just about talking about your accomplishments, but about developing yourself into a well-rounded employee so that managers want to promote you. Tell us about the premise of Promote Yourself.
Schawbel: The premise is you need to be accountable for your own career and take charge of your life. No one will promote you if you don't promote yourself first, meaning that you have to make things happen. It's all in your control, don't wait for things to come to you. You have to make it happen. Master your current job, prove yourself, make your manager look great and then expand upon that. Expand your responsibilities, look at opportunities your company could benefit from, find new ways to fix problems that are going on in your company.
Be the employee who's the subject matter expert that people can't live without, the one that people go to, to ask for help because you're the one who's the best at whatever skill or topic they're looking for. That's how you really succeed today ...
I talk about how promoting yourself is different than bragging. The art of promoting yourself is about supporting your team and working really hard so that your work speaks for itself and people want to talk positively about you, and you build a strong reputation. It's also about showing what you can do ...
It's really important to be seen as a valued contributor, somebody who is constantly seeking new ways to make people's lives better.
Q: The internet and a fragile economy of the last several years have rewritten the rules of work for everybody. What are some of the new rules and realities young workers entering the work place find themselves dealing with?
Schawbel: The new reality is that companies are slow to hire, they're looking for outcomes on resumes and digital resumes, even more. If you're doing what you always did, you're not going to get a job because you're seen as a risk. To eliminate that risk, you have to have proven results. You have to show not only can you complete a task, but what the end result of the task was. Did it improve the company but increasing revenues, decreasing costs, increasing productivity, and then really putting numbers behind that …
Also, you want to be somebody who is a subject matter expert. Over 60 percent of managers are looking for subject matter experts, people they can count on to help them to solve certain problems. Pick something the company needs, something you're interested in and talented in and really focus on that. And let people know, if they need help in that one area, you're the person they can talk to. That's how you have to think about building your career.
The other thing you have to do is constantly network, meet new people, get mentors and facilitate those interactions over time, and expand upon those interactions …
There's no longer a 9-to-5 work day, a 40-hour work week because business is 24/7.
What you do outside of work can impact how you're perceived, treated and supported within the office. So it's really important to know that, once you go home, you're not off the hook. Join outside associations, do activities with your co-workers, go to events, go to conferences, do things that are going to put you in touch with other people, whether it be co-workers or outside experts and people you want to meet in your industry. You'll be more valuable to your company, you'll learn more, you'll have more resources … and you'll have more to talk about when you talk at work to different people.
Q: You surveyed 1,000 managers and 1,000 millennial employees to understand their views on work and each other. Were there any particularly surprising finds when you sifted through the research?
Schawbel: A lot of media outlets cover the fact that [managers] think millennials are lazy and entitled and that's something we found, too. But no one every asked millennials how they view their managers and we did to get a full perspective of what's going on. They actually have a positive view of their managers. They think that their managers are willing to mentor, that they have wisdom and can offer experience ...
Q: In a weak economy where keeping your job has become the new promotion and where so many older workers are staying in jobs and not retiring, how can millennials stand out and carve a path for themselves?
Millennials are 80 million strong. Gen X-ers are between 50 to 60 million people. Boomers, between now and the next five years, will be retiring. Millennials will be taking a lot more positions and more leadership roles.
Last year, we did a study that showed 15 percent of millennials are already managers. That will probably increase this year when we do a new study in October. By next year, they'll be 36 percent of the U.S. workforce …
They'll be taking over all these jobs eventually. They're hurting now but it's going to happen. There's going to be a huge shift. They'll be competing with all the other millennials for these top position and to do that, you have to be the entrepreneur at work, you've got to develop your soft skills, you've got to be a team player, you've got to the use technology in order to communicate and develop your cooperation. You need to ask for feedback, get mentors, build your Rolodex, a lot of different things you're going to need to put yourself on the map.
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