Over the last few years, there have been a lot of changes over at DKNY. The brand’s had something of an image overhaul under the creative eyes of Maxwell Osborne and Dao Yi-Chow – who were appointed creative directors in April 2015 – and Donna Karan‘s main line shuttered when, last July, the leading lady herself left the label she founded back in 1984. However, of all the DKNY switcheroos, the one that affected me (and surely many others) most profoundly was the death of the @DKNY Twitter account as we knew it: the end of the DKNY PR Girl era.
For those of you not in the know, DKNY PR Girl was the brainchild of Aliza Licht, fashion PR extraordinaire and, up until the end of 2015, SVP of Communications at DKNY. In a world where the masses are more interested in who’s sitting on Burberry‘s front row than Burberry’s actual clothes (sorry, Mr Bailey), DKNY PR Girl’s insider insight went down a storm compared to other fashion brands’ stale approach to social media. We all love a bit of gossip, so Licht’s online persona gave us the gory details we really wanted to know about the fashion industry. When all of @DKNY’s existing tweets were wiped last August, then, it was a sad day.
But from the death of DKNY PR Girl came the birth of something else brilliant: Aliza Licht’s first book (or, rather, “a mentorship in 288 pages”), Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill it in Your Career, Rock Social Media. Advice book, mentorship, life guide, The Bible… call it what you like but, seriously, if you’re looking for a career in the creative industries, I’d go so far as to say that this book will change your life.
I first picked up Leave Your Mark when it was released last year, but I re-read it recently as I felt I needed a literary pep-talk. Over the last year or so, I’ve taken to spending evenings crying and panicking about abstract concepts like ‘my career’ and, worse, ‘my life.’ Leave Your Mark, and Licht’s blunt-but-brilliant advice is exactly what you need to hear when you’re in your 20s and trying to inch your way into the fashion industry. But BTW, if you neglect your email inbox for more than a day, there’s little point in reading on because your future career is probably doomed. Just saying.
Read on for some gems from Licht. To spend £12 you won’t regret, buy Leave Your Mark from Amazon now.
Feature image via Grace Howard
“How you communicate and influence others often matters more than the idea you’re pitching.”
“If you have no-one to show you the ropes, you have to build a ladder.”
“When you’re done with your to-do list, make your own work or ask for more.”
“Too many students think college is a vacation, but the smart ones know they can’t just waste that time playing.”
“Don’t wait to be taught; go out and teach yourself. Showing potential employers all the classes you have taken to improve your knowledge will show your determination.”
“If you can answer, ‘Why would they care about this?’ to every bullet point you write [in your cover letter], you’re in good shape. If you can’t, lose it.”
“A great attitude is one of your most marketable skills, and if you can muster the energy and passion to have a good attitude about any task, large or small, then you will get very far.”
“Don’t expect a thank-you or a pat on the back. Do a great job for YOURSELF.”
“Forget the long-term career goal. Nail what is in front of you and your next step will become crystal clear.”
“As I built my career, I realized that the proof of a job done well was my true friendships with my editors. It’s just like with your closest friends – you never have to say your name, because they know you and they know your voice. The warmth and trust that goes with that are the most essential ingredients in any successful working relationship. “Hi, it’s me,” is the ultimate sign of networking success.”
“You have to recognize opportunity when it knocks on your door, even when the opportunity is something as small as the invitation to email someone. Don’t blow off chances to make a connection with someone who already has the job you want.”
“Writing in text-message speak is a great way to show your lack of professionalism.”
“If you send an email to a potential employer or really any important email, don’t go off for five days and desert your inbox. You need to be manning all your communication stations. People lose their appetite really quickly when they sense you’re not on it. People who neglect their inbox for even a day need not apply for anything.”
“Personally, I think the safest bet is not posting [questionable content on social media]. We’ve all seen way too many famous examples of celebrities thinking a text is private and then suddenly it’s all over the internet … If you put it out there, it can be used against you.”
“Talk to a friend or a trusted colleague, but do not share your stress with your boss. Your boss should always believe that you’ve got it all under control.”
“There is no place for rolling eyes in business. Go back to the playground for that. In addition, whispering under your breath, sighing and chuckling are all rude and childish. Watch what your body does when your mind isn’t thinking.”
“If you wouldn’t feel comfortable running a full-page ad of your tweet in the New York Times, don’t post it.”
“Keep the ‘social’ in social media … I truly believe that the more friendly and open you are to the people speaking to you, the bigger your community will grow. If you take the snob approach and fail to engage people, trust me someone else will end up engaging them instead.”
“Bragging is not a good quality, offline or on, and thought it’s normal to get excited about things, just remember that not everyone has the same luxuries and luck that you might. Be sensitive to that. Humility is always a more attractive quality.”
“The delete button is technically there, but the truth is that in the amount of time it took you to delete a post, some evil person out there is laughing over the screenshot they just took of it. Words live on forever. Insider tip: pretend the delete button doesn’t exist.”