The Crucial Career Advice We Wish We Had Heard Sooner

The long-awaited book Leave Your Mark by DKNY’s Aliza Licht hits shelves today, and we’re sharing all the best nuggets of career advice from the treasure trove of insight. Bonus: Licht also exclusively shared her top five closet necessities for the working woman with us (and you!). 

Scroll down for a glimpse of what you need to do for a killer career, and be sure to pick up your copy of Leave Your Mark ($20) to find out all the must-know details!


“You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is how you have to think of your cover letter and resumé. They are taking you on your first date. But just like in the early stages of dating, you need to bring your A-game every time. These documents are never final. They need to be reviewed with fine scrutiny every time, before you send them out again. I promise you that with every review you will find a typo or an opportunity to make a bullet point better.”

“You don’t get a promotion for doing your job; you get a promotion for going above and beyond your job. You get a promotion by consistently managing up, which means performing on a higher level than your actual title or responsibility.”

“Always ask for more than you expect to receive (within reason), assuming your boss is always going to negotiate your number down. However, you always need to be mindful of the company. For example, start-up salaries are probably going to be modest compared to a long-established brand. You don’t want to aim too high and knock yourself out of the game. Stay within $5,000 to $10,000 above what you really want.”

“Writing in text-message speak is a great way to show your lack of professionalism. I don’t care if you spend all day in social media, you can’t bring abbreviated words, slang and casualness into a truly professional setting when you are speaking to someone more senior than you are.”

“You always need to remember your worth and maintain your standards of professionalism, no matter what. There will always be difficult people and there will always be insecure people, but at the end of the day you can’t sacrifice yourself or your dreams because you’re scared to face these people head-on. Don’t ever let anyone squash your spirit. Confidence is a blessing. Work your rock star attitude and shine on, but always respect the hierarchy.”

“If you don’t have anything good to post, don’t post at all. Everyone will tell you that consistency in social media is everything. ‘They’ say to post regularly and have a schedule. I have never followed that rule; that’s just not how I roll. I don’t draft posts and I don’t keep a content calendar. Everything I post is because I thought of it that second. If I feel like tweeting with people fifty times a day, I will. But that said, the more you post quality content, the more engagement you will get.”

“The best leaders are in touch with who they are. They are aware of their faults and are constantly self-assessing their management style. They are collaborative and open to change. A leader is only as good as the people who follow. So as you rise through the ranks, remember the endgame. It’s not about the corner office, it’s about being able to motivate and inspire others. The better you get at leading a group, the more all of you will accomplish.”

Keep scrolling for Licht's top five closet necessities for the working woman!

"Nothing makes a more powerful and polished statement than a white coat. Sure, it’s hard to keep clean, but just think, the stronger your image the more likely you are to be ditching the subway and calling the Uber."

"Hear me now: This pant is all about the way the fabric falls. It has to hit the tip of your shoe. No breaks, no creases. A straight leg to the floor that makes your legs look as tall as skyscrapers."

"No offense to shoulders, but they don’t hold bags as well. A shoulder bag is for function; a satchel bag is for statement. I prefer to carry it like a lady."

"The LBD will never get old, and it will never cease to impress. I love a sleeveless crewneck version with either an A-line or a straight bottom. Keep the dress simple and rock the accessories over and over again."

"Nothing says fierce like this shoe. It’s feminine yet powerful. It also goes with everything and never disappoints."

Our Pick:

J.Crew Savile Leather Pumps ($280)

What's the best piece of career advice you've ever received? Share it with us in the comments!