Develop Your Personal Brand
When looking for an internship or job, you are in essence marketing yourself. You are a brand. Your brand gives potential employers an overall idea of who you are as a person and as a potential employee for their company.
Your brand develops over time and needs to be able to change with the changing job market. Think about where you are presently (with skills and motivation), who you want to be, and create a plan of how you want to get there.
Creating Your Brand
- Exploration & Discovery: As you learn more about yourself and create your goals, you will be establishing your brand.
- Interests – What draws you to your intended field of work? Why do you like the major and/or minor you chose?
- Answering the above questions can help you gain a clearer picture of why you will do what you’ll be doing.
- Career Goals – What type of career do you want to have? What are some short-term and long-term goals for your future career path?
- Strengths/Weaknesses – What do you do well and what can you do better?
- Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you figure out a plan to develop a skill base that will be helpful in your future career.
- Expand Your Horizons
- Push yourself outside of your comfort zone to try new things and to have new experiences.
- Volunteer, join an organization (professional or student), or take a class outside your major that interests you (for the fun of it!)
Pieces of Your Brand
There are four elements that encompass a personal brand:
- Appearance: Your first impression is key. Your appearance encompasses at not only how you dress, but also your behavior in-person, on paper, and on-line. As social networking becomes more mainstream, your presentation on-line (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.) can impact how a potential employer views you. Also Google yourself to see what comes up on the internet. Check out our information on networking and how to use social networking to your advantage.
- Personality: Your personality develops over time and is formed by how you interact with others (especially with peers and colleagues).
- Competencies: The combination of your experiences and skills are your competencies. Most often you show a potential employer your competencies through your cover letter and resume. The more diverse skills you have, the wider variety of jobs you can pursue.
- Differentiation: What makes you unique? This is the heart of your personal brand and what makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.
One of the biggest things to remember when establishing your brand is to be consistent. Make sure that your cover letter, resume, on-line image (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), and you are all sending the same message to a potential employer.