At some point in our lives, we realize that we want to continue learning – at least, I always do. It’s cold and dreary out – super grey here in Ohio although it’ll be warm this week with tons of rain – this weather is the perfect reading weather. The rainy days that are coming this week make me yearn to be in bed with a cup of tea and a great book. Goodness, I love reading. There’s nothing like curling up in a fleece blanket with a good book. As graduation loomed upon me, I moved on from my Fiction love and started reading books that correlate with my career. Don’t worry — I still get my Sarah Dessen and Harry Potter fix.
The book drew me in and kept me fixated was Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht. Why is this book important to me? As a soon to be graduate, I needed a book to help point me in the right direction. I knew that I wanted to work in communications and in a world that could reach multiple people at one time. I knew that what I was going to do would let me network and meet people from all around. Fashion was the first thing that deterred me to communications – I took a History of Fashion class at The Ohio State University and was wowed every day but the stitching and creativity that went into a piece. I knew I couldn’t put together a piece like that but I could be the voice that talked it up and showed it off to people. Heck, I was good at that – I was good at getting people in the know and letting them know what was up and that’s how communications came into play in my life.
That’s where Aliza Licht came in. I had seen so many ladies from The Lala (great place for you college girls!!) post pictures with this book and I had to figure out what was so good about this book. I regret not getting it sooner and I regret taking forever to read it after I got it. My eyes were opened. I took her tips. I got a job. Now if you don’t know who Aliza Licht is, you need to know. She was voice DKNY PR Girl – a real-life Gossip Girl… except she wasn’t spreading gossip, she created a character with a pseudo name and brought to life a person that intrigued everyone. When she finally revealed herself, her following stayed – they didn’t turn on her because she was authentic and she related to her audience.
What is intriguing about Aliza? Maybe it’s the fact that she made the switch from a Science major to owning Communications in the fashion world. Or the fact that she detailed her journey to get to where she was and she provided her own insight on how to achieve that level – information that fed my mind and really drove me in the next steps of process while I was transitioning from my first big girl job to a career. This is the SVP of Global Communications at DKNY; well she was until she moved on to consulting. Her position at DKNY was held for seventeen years and if that doesn’t say a lot to you then I don’t know what will. We’re in the age where people switch jobs a lot, Aliza even made the switch from the editorial side of fashion to the public relations – she took a chance on growth and new opportunities.
As I read this book, I executed the ideas that Aliza shared. My cover letter went from talking about why I deserved the position to a cover letter that talked about my experiences and growth to get to this level. Instead of advertising myself, I introduced myself and presented a much more authentic picture of myself. Aliza taught me how to be irreplaceable and to go above and beyond with simple words rather than demands that are thrown at us every day. I soaked up this book when I wasn’t at my Marketing Assistant job and when I applied for my current job; I applied the Aliza Outlook to everything. She brought up a good point that “If change doesn’t hurt a little, it’s not change. You have to go beyond where you’re comfortable, or you’re not progressing” and that’s currently my thing – dealing with change and learning to accept it while conquering the uncomfortable.
Luckily, I took these four tips from the book – four tips that I feel will help anyone who is about to step into the real world or change career paths. If you’re at a job you love now, invest as well and take the advice because advice is usually always helpful.
Own Every Opportunity that Comes Your Way
If you’re given an opportunity, you better run it dry. Aliza talks about taking an internship that wasn’t exactly what she wanted – it was in another department – but she killed it and then reached out to that department to see if they needed help. She put herself out there to let the head honchos know that she’s down to do whatever to get to where she wants to be. An internship is meant for you to learn and gain experience so why not get all the experience that you can get? If you go out of your way and do more than what is expected of you, you’re going to leave a lasting impression.
Find a Mentor
There’s nothing better than having someone guide you and keep it real with you. That person is going to give you feedback and tell you what works and doesn’t work. You want this person in your life. You want someone who is going to help you grow and map you into the person you need to be. Like Aliza says, “Mentors shape who we are. They guide us and let us learn from their successes and their failures. They’re the ultimate big sisters in our professional lives. They give you room to grow and help you realize who you are and what you’re capable of doing. They give you that needed a nudge, that sign of encouragement. They challenge you to be your best, and if they’re good, they’re also tough on you. Because mentors aren’t there to flatter you; they’re there to help you.”
Moving Through the Early Stages
Aliza mentions that you have your inner circle at work – the people that work in a similar area as you – yet there are multiple layers of a company. Her analogy was an onion; you have to peel the onion in order to see the different layers. There are different possibilities surrounding you at your company and there are possible roles for you to reach out for. Never put all your eggs in one basket if you think you can excel at a different level. Don’t just stick to your circle at work, break out and reach out to different people. You want to be able to work with everyone around you and execute positive energy.
Network and Put Yourself Out There
As I read this book, I began to realize how important networking is. We get told all the time that it’s important but I find there’s a lack in my city for what I want to do. Aliza points out that you can network on social outlets and that never really occurred to me. Social Media is a platform that surpasses privacy and puts almost everything out there for the world to see. Put out great content and connect with people who do things that you like. No matter who the person is, gathering those connections can be helpful in the future. Someone might not be in your field but they can hold a connection that you need in the future – always take chances with people. In the words of Aliza, “No matter how or where you choose to network, remember this: The most successful people are generous in spirit and happy to make an introduction for someone else even though it has no visible benefit to them. They’re called uber-connectors. Being an uber-connector is good business karma and will only help you establish yourself as someone in the know.”
Leave Your Mark is such a good book -a book that has helped me be more of myself in my field and less of the ‘Perfect B’ I tried to create. It’s a book that I always flip through – from when I’m in the parking lot at work to just sitting in a drive-thru – it’s almost always with me. If you need advice and don’t know how to take the next step, check this book out. I would never lead you in the wrong direction. Have you read Leave Your Mark? What are your thoughts on it? If you haven’t and know some other good books, what are those? I love reading so share!