Written by Lisa Bleich
The process you started of identifying your strengths, talents and skills when you applied to college continues as you begin looking for an internship or job. You have an opportunity to build your personal brand around your interests and unique personality. This ability has become increasingly important in establishing credibility as you enter the job market and try to secure internships and jobs.
I attended a presentation led by Pamela Weinberg a Brandeis alumna and personal branding guru. It was one of the best presentations I have attended on this topic because she was able to demonstrate how to use social media including Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like to create your own personal brand.
Pamela provides the following tips for creating your personal brand.
- Google yourself. Because you know your prospective employer will. What comes up when you Google yourself? Is it pictures of your wild time during spring break, or is it your LinkedIn Profile or a blog post you wrote on the economy, a movie review, or your impression of a company? Does your online presence correspond with what you have on your resume? If not, how can you make them more consistent?
- Create a personal mission statement. Your mission statement can be 3-5 lines long and serve as your roadmap toward creating your career path. Make sure it is specific and provides concrete examples and timelines how you can achieve your goals. For example if you want to land a job in finance, who are the top firms in that field and how can you learn everything about them? Your mission statement should evolve as you evolve. Pamela recommends keeping it on your phone and referring to it before you step into a networking event to help you stay focused.
- Who are you and how do you want others to see you? This ties back into what happens when you Google yourself. Pamela asks some great questions: What do you want potential employers to know about you? What key expertise do you want to convey? What is your personal style? If you recall from an earlier post, securing a college internship my daughter bemoaned her ability to ever get an internship. She subsequently landed two interviews largely based on her blog, which demonstrated her creativity, writing ability and social networking know-how.
- Use social media to your advantage. LinkedIn is an outstanding tool for creating your personal brand. You can customize the URL with your name and make sure your headline supports your brand. Spend time every week updating your profile and adding links to support your brand. Twitter is a great place to follow companies where you would like to work or industry experts or bloggers to stay attuned to the latest industry news. If your interest has a large visual component, Pinterest is a fabulous site.
- Comment on bloggers’ sites. Pamela shared a story of how she commented on an industry expert’s blog when she was trying to transition from an author to a career coach helping women. The blogger liked her comment so much that she responded and the two of them developed a relationship. Three years later the blogger invited Pamela to sit on a career panel helping women transition back into he workplace.
- Be authentic. This idea holds true just as much for applying to jobs as to applying for colleges. If you can understand your strengths and what makes you unique and communicate that to colleges or prospective employers, you will be successful.
Your college’s career services office is there to help you develop your brand and provide you the tools to succeed, so if you haven’t already, take advantage of all they have to offer.