Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to create your personal brand Pt.1

This week I am doing a workshop on personal branding at the Pearson Leadership Summit in New York and it inspired me to do a series on personal branding for you. 

Personal branding is is not a new concept, and there are a ton of great books out there

But I wanted to share with you my specific take and give you a template to help you to start to think about your personal brand.

In short, personal branding is vital in college and when it comes time for you to get that first job out of college. A personal brand will help you:

  • Write winning scholarship essays
  • Stand out when applying for scholarships and leadership positions in college
  • Stand out when applying for jobs
  • Network and build relationships with others more easily
  • Narrow down your job search and career path
  • Be memorable in interviews and ultimately get jobs

A personal brand is essentially a purposeful way of thinking about who you are and what you have to contribute. It is memorable. It stands out. It tells people who you are without you having to say it directly. And ultimately, your personal brand is defined by what you do (not your job necessarily, but your actions and involvement). 

The good news is that you are in control of your personal brand. You create it. Though that can sometimes be harder than it sounds. 

So this week I'm going to offer you up the template I created to start thinking about and building your personal brand. It includes your:

  • Origin story
  • Core values
  • Core skills
  • Core community
  • Defined contribution

First off, think of your favorite brand. What is their story? How did the company start? What are the values they have that you identify with? What is unique about their product or service? Who is their primary customer? What do they add to your life? 

These are the questions you'll want to answer for every scholarship committee, job application, and interview. 

For part 1 of this series, I want you to think about your origin story. To start, write down the top 10 things that have happened in your life that you feel have really defined who you are today. 

Then, narrow that down to the top 5 that weave together to tell a story about what you do now and what you hope to do in your future. 

This is the key to writing scholarship essays. While you will rarely tell many personal stories in an interview, they are the bread and butter of winning scholarship money. And these key moments in your life may just shed a little light on your career search.

The question you will want to be able to answer in an interview however, is: "So tell me a little bit about yourself."

Having key moments, accomplishments, and stories that define who you are and relate to the theme of your personal brand will make you memorable

More on personal branding coming soon!

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