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On My Bookshelf – "Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media" by Aliza Licht

Women's Initiative Newsletter

Leave Your Mark provides practical advice to employees at all levels. Aliza Licht is the former senior vice president of global communications for DKNY, and took social media by storm in 2009 with the creation of Twitter's DKNY PR GIRL (@DKNY). More than half a million followers later, Licht had introduced DKNY to a new generation and propelled herself to personal success in the process. Licht provides a step-by-step guide on how to find your dream job, nail the interview and navigate office politics to your advantage, written from her own experiences during her 20-plus-year career in the fashion industry. This book is a must-read for the modern employee.

Divided into four parts, the book explores topics like "Getting Experience When You Have No Experience," "Surviving People and Politics," "Casting Yourself in a New Leader Role" and "Presenting Like a Pro." Having trouble with a difficult boss? Licht did too, and provides sound advice. Dealing with a crazy co-worker? She effectively managed that as well. Licht is the big sister/mentor that we all desire but few of us have. While other books have stressed the need to draft appropriately tailored cover letters, Licht provides realistic examples as well as words of caution (e.g., don't use "text-message speak"). The book even provides recommended font styles and sizes for resumes and cover letters depending on your chosen audience. The insights and experiences Leave Your Mark offers translate to every office environment. The book is an easy read and feels fresh due to its tone and the cadence of Licht's writing style, honed from crafting tweets of 140 characters or less.

Of the advice offered in 288 pages, Licht's counsel to young employees whose parents are involved in their career development was noteworthy. Licht tells the story of a friend who received the equivalent of a cold call from an inquiring mother who pleaded for an internship for her daughter. Despite her best intentions, mom's email immediately discredited her daughter. Millennials will particularly benefit from Licht's admonition: it is your career. Thus, "[w]hen it comes to work-related tasks, the only word you know is 'yes.'"

My experience interviewing hundreds of law students and potential lateral attorneys over more than five years is that almost everyone needs guidance on "Mastering the Interview." Licht's instruction minces no words: do not be cocky; communicate your strengths; maintain eye contact; have appropriate questions prepared for the interviewer. While these tips may appear obvious, to many they are not.

Leave Your Mark makes clear that there is no substitute for hard work and an immitigable pursuit of what you have determined to be your dream career. In the March 2015 issue of Harpers Bazaar, Licht asserted "your personal brand (the way you interact with others) is your most valuable asset, no matter what industry you work in." Sound advice for us all.

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