Review by Christina Woodford
Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht is the career advice book I wish was around when I was eighteen. Aliza is the PR executive/guru at Donna Karen New York, although she’s more commonly known as the Twitter and blogging sensation ‘DKNY PR Girl’. With half a million Twitter followers, DKNY PR Girl was an inside peek into the world of fashion in New York City. Leave Your Mark continues to show that glamourous life, but it is so much more than that. It claims to be a career mentorship in 167 pages– and it really is!
Remarkably, Aliza started her working career by studying medicine at university. It is here that she starts her book, highlighting just how important it is to find and commit yourself to your passion– not just a career you’ve accidentally fallen into. Deciding that she didn’t want to be a doctor after all, Aliza thought back to the walls of her high school bedroom that were covered in fashion magazine pages and photographs. She had pinpointed her passion, and even though she had no experience, training, or connections, she embarked on finding a career in the formidable fashion industry and headed straight to New York.
Aliza’s journey from unknown intern to successful fashion executive is so inspiring and in this book she tells all. She’s honest, self-deprecating, and not afraid to dish the dirt on runway shows and celebrity fittings (although celebrity names aren’t revealed, it’s good fun trying to guess who ‘celebX’ is in each different scenario!). As Aliza describes her workplace experiences, she uses her own embarrassing scenarios and crazy bosses to offer advice on every important career event in your life. She gives you step by step instructions on how to write a cover letter, nail an interview, get the most out of your internship and more. The advice is deceptively simple but when applied all together has potentially career changing prospects.
My favourite section of her book is the one in which she talks about social media and personal branding. Almost by coincidence Aliza began running the ‘DKNY PR Girl’ Twitter and became the anonymous and mysterious gossip girl of Manhattan fashion. She became an expert in social media and believes it’s a hugely important modern skill for everyone to have, workplace or not. As she wisely states in the book, “social media enables you to craft your image just like a seasoned stylist.” Aliza then kindly proceeds to show you how to be your own stylist with a detailed process to discover and promote your own personal brand. What do people remember about you? What makes you stand out? What are your best assets? How can you ensure that it’s this version of you that consistently shines in the workforce? Aliza’s process is a fascinating journey into yourself, how you want people to perceive you, and what future you want to create. This self-evaluation is helpful for everyone. Fact.
The only fault I find with this book and Aliza’s stories is that she has clearly been lucky enough to find her passion– which can be a hard thing to do. It’s always easier to go above and beyond if you’re in an industry you love. Also, Aliza’s hardworking attitude seems, at times, too impossible to aspire to. I would be interested to know how, amongst the weekend shifts and late nights, she managed to find that wonderful husband of hers and have some children. A little insight into how she balances her crazy working schedule with a non-work life would have really added to the book. Or perhaps mastering the work/life balance can be the subject of her next book? I would definitely buy it.
With her friendly writing style I feel as though I now know Aliza personally. We’re absolutely on a first name basis. Whilst reading through the book it was as though she was sitting in the room, chatting to me like she really was my mentor and genuinely cared about my career prospects. Because it’s about me. Or rather, you. This is the moral of her story. Your success is ultimately all about YOU. It’s about how hard you’re prepared to work to find your dream job and rise to the top. I’ve never met this fabulous New Yorker, but having read Leave Your Mark, I absolutely consider Aliza a personal mentor. I suggest you buy the book straight away and make her yours as well.