Wednesday, August 28, 2013

College Firsts: What to do at the Club Recruitment Fair

Keep up with the College Firsts series by liking the Facebook page!

During the first week or two at almost every community college and university in the country there is a club recruitment fair. 

Though it can go by a different name, it is essentially an event where all the clubs on your campus set up tables so you can learn more about how to get involved.

Go to your club recruitment fair!

Look on the student life website or your college's event calendar to find out when and where it is and do whatever you have to do to be there (e.g. take off work, go to campus even if you're not usually on campus at that time). 

Then show up.

You can go with a friend if it makes you feel better, but I highly recommend going by yourself so you can focus on the clubs that really interest you and be able to go up and talk to the people behind the tables.

Here are the steps to take to make the most of your club recruitment fair:

1) Leave at least an hour of time for you to walk the entire fair.

2) Walk up to every club that interests you and ask someone behind the table questions. Here are a few to get you started:
  • What do you like about being a part of this club?
  • When do you guys meet?
  • What kinds of events do you have coming up this semester?
  • Do you have any officer openings or committees that need involvement?
  • What is the best way for me to reach you if I have any more questions or want to get involved?

Be sure to leave every table with clear contact information. 

3) Remember that the people behind the tables want to know you and want you to be a part of their club. Most every club wants to grow their club with people who want to get involved. They will be so excited when you show interest.

4) When you get back home, take out the contact information you collected and decide on the club that interested you the most and with which you clicked best. Contact the person you talked to from that club and volunteer to be on a committee, help with an event, or even be an officer. 

The biggest mistake people make in clubs is waiting too long to get involved. Jump right in and commit fully to one club. Then, once you've done that, consider checking out the meetings of some of the other clubs that interested you.

But remember - it's better to fully commit to one club than to go to the meetings of many. People who accomplish things in clubs are the ones who win the best scholarships, internships, and jobs. 

Be a leader. Trust me, you can do it. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

College Firsts: Top three things to do on the first day of class

Keep up with the College Firsts series by liking the Facebook page!

Below are the top three things to do on the first day of every college class, every semester:

1) Sit in the front row
Sitting in the front row sends a strong message to the professor that you are ready to learn and engage. It also forces you to pay better attention because it's more difficult to text when your professor is just a few feet away from you. 

You'll also put yourself next to the other students who are serious about their education and unafraid. Those are cool people, and you should be one of them. 

2) Set syllabus reminders in Google Calendar
Each syllabus you get the first week of classes is like a treasure map to an A. On the first week, decipher the map and create reminders in your planner or favorite online calendar. My favorite is Google Calendar.

On the first day of each class I would take the syllabus and make note of every single due date and exam date. Then, I'd choose a new color code for that class in Google Calendar, and create a new event for every due date. 

Under the reminders section I would set SMS (e.g. text) and e-mail reminders to remind me at many intervals before a due date (e.g. 4 weeks before, 2 weeks before, 5 days before, 2 days before, and day of).

I could breathe easier at the end of the first week knowing I would not forget any important assignments and would always be ahead of the game. 

3) Break the ice
Start conversations with the people in class and get to know your professor that first week. Engage in discussions. Compliment someone on their outfit. Ask someone if they want to study with you for the first exam. Visit the professor during her office hours and ask her for advice. 

When you break the ice the first week of class you set the tone for the rest of the semester - and trust me, classes are much more fun when you have friends to talk to and a professor you know. 

Good luck!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

College Firsts: The 5 books every student should read before college

Keep up with the College Firsts series by liking the Facebook page!

Whenever I'm about to try something new and am scared to death about it, I buy books. 

Confession: I have a lot of books (and have probably borrowed $20,000 worth of books from the library).

Those books have changed my life completely. 

Reading books is one of the best ways to prepare for something new and learn the strategies that take others years to learn on their own (if at all), and allows you to avoid the mistakes most college students make. 

So with that in mind, below are the top 5 books that I think every student should read before (or in) college. If you apply the strategies in these books they'll help you become a college superstar, win scholarships, and have a truly life changing experience.

Disclosure: The books I recommend below are truly books I personally purchased, love, have read, and have seen directly help students. Neither the authors nor publishers have asked me to write this.

1. How to Win at College by Cal Newport - This book shares the strategies real overachievers use to excel in college without the stress (such as "take three days to write a paper). College is really hard, but it doesn't have to be so stressful. This book shows how it's done. 
2. How to Become a Straight-A Student by Cal Newport
While Cal's first book shares the big overall strategies for college success, this one shares the nitty gritty details of how to study. 

Though I didn't discover Cal's books until I was a college advisor, I recognized all of the strategies I personally used to succeed in college in both of these books and loved recommending them to my students.   
3. Community College Success by Yours Truly - Okay am I totally lame for recommending my own book? I can't help it because honestly, if I didn't think it was a book that would help college students then I wouldn't have bothered waking up at 5am every day for a year to write it. 

Community College Success teaches you exactly how to build the relationships necessary for college success by giving you step-by-step instructions on how to make friends in class, how to approach professors, how to join clubs, how to build experience that wins scholarships, how to choose a major, how to get internships, and how to find a mentor. 

It also shares tips on how to manage the unique transferring experience from community college to a university, along with many of my personal stories.
4. Say This NOT That to Your Professor by Ellen Bremen
Ellen was my writing accountability partner when I wrote my book and our books were picked up by the same publisher. She is a community college professor and an expert communicator who shares tips "from the other side" on exactly how to approach your professors to ensure your success. 

This book is so unique and would be a great one to keep in your backpack and pull out as needed before you approach a professor.
5. Do What You Are by Paul Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger - This book takes you through the popular Myers-Briggs personality test and walks you through your personality-based strengths, weaknesses, and how a variety of career categories might fit you best.

Taking the Myers-Briggs and reading this book in college opened my eyes to who I was, what I loved, and how I could use my best strengths and find a major that would motivate me to work really hard. 

Personality tests are not prescriptive; it's best to use the information as a starting point to give you confidence in who you are, what you're capable of, and how you can best share your talents with the world after you graduate. 

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Getting books to help you succeed in college is one of the best investments you can make. Don't wait until you fail a test, miscommunicate with a professor, feel lonely, or feel so stressed that you're thinking of dropping out. 

Be proactive and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll stand out at your college by using the strategies in these books. 

Happy reading! :)

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What to bring and wear on the first day of college?

I wrote this article in 2013 and it is the most viewed even to this day (August 2015). Your love of this article also inspired me to suggest doing a first day of college episode on the show I host, The SKiNNY. It just went live today so I thought it would only make sense to post it here (below). Congrats on starting college and let's stay in touch on Twitter! (And if you're about to start community college, you'll love my book.) Congrats and I hope this helps. I'm so happy for you.



College Firsts Series

As some of you gear up to start college for the very first time, I've been getting a lot of e-mails about how nervous you are. That is totally normal and okay! 

Being nervous usually means you're about to do something important. 

But to alleviate your fears a bit and help you start off on the right foot, for the next two weeks I'll be writing a "College Firsts" series in order to help you to more easily get out of your comfort zone, crush your nerves, and set yourself up for a life-changing college experience by doing the most important things in the first few weeks.

College First: What to bring and wear on the first day of college? 

I cannot tell you how nostalgic I get every fall when the puppy notebooks start to come out; I miss the smell of colored pencils and elementary school classrooms and the excitement of a new year. 

While taking out your puppy notebook and purple colored pencil might make you stand out in a way you don't want to in college, school supplies are still relevant.

Yet in college no one is giving you a checklist of what you need to buy, nor a dress code to follow.

While that freedom is great, sometimes it can lead to anxiety. So below is a checklist that I hope helps alleviate your fears. Remember, everyone is freaking out just like you are, some are just better at hiding it. You're going to rock this!

First Day of College Checklist

1. Backpack or tote bag

I used a giant Vera Bradley tote all through college. It wasn't cheap but I loved it because I could carry everything, didn't show stains, and never broke despite all the laptops and books I put into it - I still have it today. The downside was that sometimes it hurt my shoulder, so my favorite backpack option is the Samsonite Tectonic

2. A binder or folder system

It's crucial to have a system in place before your first few day of college as each professor will give you different paperwork and you'll want to keep it separate. 

I preferred buying those cheap old school folders with the prongs in the middle and wrote the name of each class on the front of each one. I'd put the syllabus* in the prongs in the middle and then kept one folder for notes and the other for papers to turn in. 

You can do the same with multiple binders, or put everything together in one binder separated with dividers. I liked the folders because they were slim and light. 

There's no right or wrong way to do it, the key is to experiment and find the way that works for you. You'll know you have it right when it's simple and enjoyable. 

*note: some professors may make the syllabus available online beforehand so be sure to check and download and print it to bring with you if that option is available. 

3. Writing utensils

Don't be that guy who doesn't have a pen or pencil. Have a few of each; being able to offer a pen to a nearby classmate who did forget is an easy way to make friends. Also have a highlighter for organizing key points in your notes and textbooks.

4. Electronics (& their chargers)

When I went to college, tablets didn't exist and no one used laptops in class. However I can only imagine that has changed drastically. Decide if you're going to use an electronic device to take notes and manage your academic experience, and if so have it with you. 

But be cautious and notice if it distracts you more than helps you. For me personally, having my laptop out at a conference makes it impossible for me not to do a million things at once (checking my email, taking notes, answering emails, checking social media, etc.) and while that can work, I don't know if it would have been the best method for focusing in class, but that's just me.

Monitor yourself and find out what helps you get As. 

5. Paper

I know you know this, but I also know it's easy to forget small things when you're making such a big life transition. 

Always have paper and/or a notebook with you for taking notes and doing in-class assignments. Even if you choose to use an electronic device you'll always want to have backup supplies in case your battery runs out or a professor prefers people don't use electronics in class. 

6. Parking pass

Make sure you've stuck your parking pass on your car if you're a commuter. And while we're on the subject, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes to an hour before class starts to have plenty of time for parking and walking to the classroom. Don't be late. 

7. Your class schedule

Again, I know this is obvious, but I want to help alleviate your fears so you can use this checklist as a basic guide. 

I also recommend going to campus very early that day or a few days before to walk around and make sure you know where to park and where all your classes are. 

8. Textbooks

I was always a fan of buying my textbooks ahead of time and not the day of. I would have hated to wait in that long long line the first week of class. Some professors assign reading the first day, and it shows you're prepared to have your book out on the table. 

9. Comfy shoes

Walking around campus should be fun and it won't be if your shoes are killing you. Wear shoes that you know are comfortable. 

10. An outfit you love

I can clearly remember the outfits I wore on the first day of school in 2nd and 9th grade. 

They were iconic moments in my life because in 2nd grade I was starting a brand new school after we'd moved (lion king shirt, long pink shorts, side ponytail, lion king backpack), and in 9th grade, of course, it was the start of high school (crisp white Tshirt with a logo, weathered jean shorts, slightly spice-girl-ish tennis shoes with silver stripes).

Have fun with your first day of college outfit and show your personality. Obviously you don't need to dress professionally, but I do think it's important to send a message to yourself and your professors that you care.

Dressing nicely communicates that you want to bring your best self to this experience. Going super casual is okay once in a while, but especially in the first few weeks I recommend dressing nicely. 

For example, one of my go-to combinations was nice jeans with no holes or rips, a cotton blouse or T-shirt, a cool necklace, a casual cloth blazer, and sandals or flats.

I also highly recommend wearing anything that expresses your personality that you think might spur someone to say "hey I love that where did you get it?" It's a great way to make new friends on the first day.



If you liked this article you might also like this video on what to carry in your college backpack.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ask Isa: What do you do when you don't like your major anymore?


From the Ask Isa inbox:

Dear Isa,

I will be a freshman this fall and my current major is early childhood education. I've always wanted to be a teacher since my first day of kindergarten. 

But lately, the thought of being a teacher has not been connecting with me. I am a helpful person and I want to make a difference in peoples lives. I am known to give good advice and I love helping others. 

What should my major be if I'm not sure if I want to be a teacher anymore? 

Sincerely,

Changing Majors

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Dear Changing Majors,

I can SO relate to this as I too thought I wanted to be a teacher most of my life. However, the more I learned about what it really takes to be a good public school teacher the more I realized it wasn't the best fit for my skill set and interests. 

Eventually I learned there were many careers that help, connect with, and teach people.

For most people it's impossible to know exactly what your career is going to be after college. By the time we get to college most of us have only been exposed to the careers of our parents, our school teachers, and what we've seen on TV

And there are countless jobs your generation will have after college that don't even exist yet.

There are so many choices and it can be overwhelming. 

It's okay if you don't have it figured out right away.

However, having some direction is helpful when it comes to having enthusiasm for class each day and ensuring you graduate on time. 

You don't want to graduate college without a good idea of what you are good at, what fascinates you, what problems you want to solve, and what value you add. 

Below area few things you can do right now to start thinking about how careers fit in with your personality and interests:

1) Take this free myers briggs personality test to get your 4-letter code. Then, type in your 4-letter personality code (e.g. mine is ENFJ) into Google like this: "ENFJ Careers" and read up on the careers that are suggested.

2) Go to insidejobs.com and pick your favorite topics for the "What do you like" and "What are you good at" drop down menus and read up on the career options they suggest.

3) Take classes that sound interesting. Most people don't know their career until much later in life, so don't put too much pressure on yourself. Right now, focus on learning stuff that you find interesting. You'll be surprised at where the new knowledge might take you. 

4) Get involved in a club. Working with others can teach you a lot about yourself and what kind of work you're best at. Notice what projects you gravitate towards and were you excel.  

5) Interview people whose jobs you like, ask to job shadow them for a day, and start taking internships.

The best part about college is that it gives you options and opportunities to figure out your career along the way. A degree opens doors.

As long as you don't want to go into an industry that requires a specific degree, such as being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, majoring in something that interests you will serve you well.

You're about to start a great adventure, and it's okay if you can't predict the end. Know that it will be a good ending if you commit yourself to the journey. 

You can submit your question to the Ask Isa inbox here. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I got pied in the face!

We asked and you guys listened - the One Professor campaign reached its goal of 500 video submissions honoring the amazing professors who change our lives.

A few months ago, at the request of the Pearson Students, I agreed (what was I thinking?) to get pied in the face if we reached 500 videos. 

The video below gives you that moment. It was a surprise to say the least. :)

The One Professor campaign is still going and we would love to honor your professor. Learn more at PearsonStudents.com/OneProfessor.


Monday, August 12, 2013

College Success for Moms

Whenever I feel busy or overwhelmed there is one thing I always think about to help me put things in perspective - moms in college.

I've never been a mom but I have been a nanny, which I know is just a blip compared to what it actually means to be a full time mom. I also know what it is to be a college student, and it's so hard to imagine balancing both

Yet I've met so many incredible moms who remind me that the old adage is true - "when you want something done, ask a busy person."

Moms in college also prove that people have an amazing ability to overcome obstacles when they really want something. 

However, that doesn't mean it's easy. Being a mom in college is really, really hard. But it's not impossible, and one community college mom Dianna Blake is inspiring other moms to reach their dreams with her new blog College Success for Moms

Dianna is a community college graduate and currently at California State University, Fullerton. She'll graduate in 2015 with a Bachelors in English and Public Relations and plans to pursue graduate school right away. 

Below is an interview with Dianna so you can learn more about her journey. Please share her incredible blog with any moms you know who are going back to college or who wish they could. It is possible. 


Dianna & her family at her CC graduation
1) What inspired you to go to college?

My children. They believe in me without reserve, and knowing that their future is molded by my choices really keeps me going.

I first went to school at 22 but dropped out, then started part-time in 2007 and finally became a full-time student in 2011. At the time I became full-time they were 9, 4 and 1 year old.

2) What was the hardest part about being a mom in college?

Missing my children. I think about them all the time and worry when I am away. I don’t want to miss anything. 

But I want to say that when I spend time with my kids, my oldest son always says things like “Mommy, I want to go to school just like you” or when I graduated he said, “I am so proud that you are my mom.” That right there is all the reminder I need that I am making the right choices!

3) What inspired you to start college success for moms?

My school friends really inspired me to start the blog – especially Anita who has faced so much adversity but has remained resilient and kept moving forward. 

I realized that there have to be more moms than just the ones I know who are seeking advice, encouragement and motivation. I want to be there for them just as my friends and mentor have been there for me. 

It was during my fall 2011 semester that I realized I am more than a mom – that I was still free to fulfill my goals and aspirations; I want other moms to know that too.

4) What is one thing you wished someone would have told you before you started college as a mom?

I wish someone would have told me that there are programs for non-traditional students on pretty much every campus. I discovered a bit too late! It would have been nice to have joined the programs and had that extra assistance/counseling.

5) What is the most important piece of advice you would give a mom in college right now who's struggling to balance it all?

Buy a school planner or download an app on your phone. Organization, time management and avoiding procrastination are essential for any student but even more so for moms.

If you can avoid procrastination you will be more successful in school and feel less stressed at home and this will actually allow you some “free time.”

Be sure to check out College Success For Moms!

How to draw for a living: First Job Profile of a former Disney animator

This summer I connected with some amazing professionals who were willing to share their wisdom. Each profile features how their first job out of college led to their amazing careers today, as well as their advice to help you do the same.

I'll never forget my first trip to Disney World and those little cubes that showed animators desks. Coloring for a living?! Yes please! 

Unfortunately I realized pretty early in life that I did not have the talent nor the patience to draw well. But I've never stopped admiring animators and designers.

I recently met an incredible designer who loves his work and has a deep passion for life. 

Oh, and if you've seen a little movie called The Lion King, then you have seen some of his work:


Cars Paitoon designed
First Job Profile: Paitoon Ratan, Freelance Designer

1) What was your first job out of college and how did you get it?

My first job out of college, in 1993, was as a Visual Effects Artist/animator for Walt Disney Animation Studio Florida at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

In 1990, I won the prestigious Disney Feature animation internship while I was a Junior in college (Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio). I came to Florida and trained with the legendary Disney animators for a semester. 

At the end of the internship, I was offered a job to work on Beauty and The Beast but I decided to go back to Ohio and finish my degree in Industrial design. 

I graduated with a BFA In Industrial Design along with The Outstanding Senior in Industrial Design Award in 1992. 

Thankfully in late 1992, while I was back in Thailand with my family, Disney called me and asked if I would like to come back to work on the film, The Lion King. I said yes and that was the beginning of a decade of working for the Walt Disney Company as a full time cast member.

2) What was the most important thing you learned from your first job?

When I first arrived at the Disney studios in 1990 as an intern, everywhere I turned, I saw someone who is more talented and more skilled than me as an artist/designer. 

It was a humbling experience to say the least to walk down the Disney animation building knowing that I was surrounded by the very best in the world.

Once I actually became a Disney cast member, one of the most valuable lessons I learned was to figure out what kind of a designer I wanted to become and what types of projects I would like to be a part of during the rest of my career as a designer. Ever since then I have spent my entire career trying to become that designer.

3) What did you do to leverage your first job to help you get where you are today?

I stayed at my first job for a decade doing what I loved to do and got to be a part of so many special films. I'm so incredibly grateful for that; it was an amazing time period to get to be a 2D animator for a studio such as Walt Disney and to have that as part of my life journey. 

It also gave me the confidence that I was capable of doing 'more' than just design and animation. In 2002, after I finished work on Brother Bear, I decided it was time for me to go out on my own and give myself a chance at fulfilling some of my other dreams and passions as a designer.

My independent design consultant career took off from the day I left Disney Animation into the direction I had imagined. 

Because my first job at Disney was animation, my transition into the toy and consumer goods, theme park and VDO Game industry was almost seamless. I started to design toys for Disney Consumer Products and DC Comics very quickly after I left Disney Animation. 

As a young Industrial design student, I dreamt that someday I would have "a product" that I designed out in the market. While I was working at feature animation, I set goals to someday be designing theme parks, toys, movies, TV, VDO games etc. and I have been so fortunate to have achieved and done many of those things I set out to do. 

I continue to be a part of some really cool projects working with some really amazingly talented groups of people as an independent designer.

4) What advice do you have for a recent graduate who is struggling to find their first job after college?

In my humble opinion, I think the real question is not so much about the advice on finding 'the first job' but it should be 'finding the job that you feel 'passionate' about.

 I think all of us should have this question answered long before we all go to college. 'What is your passion?' It should be a High school's graduating requirement. :) 

Once you are in college, you should know exactly what you need to do while you are there in order for you to graduate and get a job that helps you become who you want to become. I think if you don't know what your passion is, finding your 'first job, second job or third job ' is not going to matter much as I don't think you will be happy working at your job.

So I'd say go out there and look for the job that you love. But in order to do that, you need to know what it is that you love doing. So you need to figured out what your 'passion' is. 

Then spend the rest of your life going after it because spending 40-60 hrs a week on a job that you don't like is a long time to be miserable every week (even if that job pays amazingly well).

I will end this with a quote from one of my all time favorite authors who spent her entire professional life studying terminally ill patients:

"It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. 

"And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do. Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived. And you will not have a pleasant death.” — Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A survivor's guide to college paperwork stress

Has paperwork ever made you cry?

I can remember running around from department to department at both my community college and university trying to manage all of the paperwork that came with applications, registrations, graduation, transcripts, and financial aid. 

Tears followed a few occasions when it felt like I was doing the same things over and over again and nothing was getting accomplished. 

College is rife with complicated paper processes that can leave the best of students in tears and drive the most at-risk students out the door. 

This past week I had to deal with a uniquely complicated paperwork process for a college that hired me to speak. A few phone calls and four visits to a fax machine across town later I was reminded of the intense stress paperwork can cause.

Luckily for me, the community college staff member who walked me through the process was helpful, empathetic, and supremely kind. 

When you're in the storm of a paperwork crisis there is nothing more helpful than a kind person on the other side of the desk (or phone). 

However, you can't control the attitude of the people you're working with, so below are four tips to help you avoid the paperwork headache and not let it ruin your college experience - or even your day: 

1) Read everything
 In an age of information overload, we survive by paying attention only to what we need. However, sometimes this skimming-instinct causes us to miss vital details. 

When it comes to college, read your college catalog. Read the introductory paperwork. Read every e-mail from your college. I know it's boring, but it will save you tremendous time, stress, and maybe even tears. 

2) Ask a lot of questions
Be proactive and ask lots of questions during every step of your college journey. 

While colleges do their best to keep you informed, sometimes the information isn't very clear, or you can simply suffer from information overload.

Being confused and frustrated is totally NORMAL. The students who visit the offices daily and ask lots of questions are the ones who get things done faster and with a little bit less stress. 

If you have a question, ask it right away and don't judge yourself. I truly believe in college no question is a dumb question. Ask and keep on asking. 

3) Find a friendly face
Get to know the people in your college's offices. Use their name and go back and say thank you when they help you. There are plenty of grumpy people in almost any office environment, but at almost every college you should be able to find at least one person who really cares about students and would love to be there to help you. 

Once you've found someone you connect with, ask for their e-mail address and follow up to say thank you. Then, stop by their office to say thank you in person or just update them on how you're doing. Ask that person for advice. Everyone who works in a college will have something helpful to share. 

Once you've built a relationships you'll have an ally who knows the college and who will bend over backwards to help you when you have a question. Even if they can't help you directly they'll connect you with someone who can.  

4) Remember the process will pay off
The worst part about paperwork is that it in the moment it can feel so irrelevant to your life. But whether we like it or not, paperwork is a gatekeepers to so many things in life, and it always helped me to remember that once I get it done it's DONE and I will be closer to my goal. 

Remember that your college degree is worth the stress. It's even worth the tears.

The sad truth is you will encounter paperwork stress throughout your life. However, the good news is you can use college as a training ground to build resiliency and not let paperwork ever stand in the way of your goals.

The more prepared you are to deal with the stress and avoid as many complications as possible, the quicker you'll go through the process and the greater sanity you'll preserve. 

Good luck with your paperwork this year. When you're stressed remember that you're not alone. (And while we're on reminders and paperwork, don't forget to fill out your FAFSA every year!!!! ;))

Monday, August 5, 2013

When should you start building your personal brand?

Ever wonder when you should start crafting your personal brand? The answer:

Now. 

Because good personal brands not only win jobs - they also win scholarships.  

When I applied for the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship and read all the essay prompts, I realized "Mmmmm, I'm just a normal girl and think I might wanna be an English teacher" wasn't really a good personal brand. They wanted to know who I was, what I'd been through, what I'd done, and how that influenced what I wanted to bring to the world. 

I worked really hard and thought really hard to put my life into a cohesive essay and subsequent life plan. Sure, that plan changed a lot, but having a direction and thinking deeply about who I was is what made all the difference.

To start, make a timeline of your life and draw pictures to illustrate your milestones and most defining moments. What made you who you are today?

Then, start to think about what kinds of things you enjoy most. When do you feel most alive? What kind of work would you love to do every day?  

You may not know exactly how to communicate who you are and what you want to do right now. And that's okay. 

Having a personal brand isn't about having it all figured out. It's about deciding that you will constantly do the work to create your brand as you learn more about yourself and the unmet needs in our economy. It's about taking ownership of your career before someone else does. 

Whether you're about to start college for the first time or are just finishing up, it's time to begin to figure out what your personal brand is and how you can best communicate it online and in person. 

Today I just launched a free ebook to help you do just that - it's called How to Get a Job Without a Resume, and you can get it for free here!

Today getting a job is about so much more than a resume - it's about how well you're able to communicate your personal brand online and in person. And trust me, you have more to share with the world than you realize. 

Please feel free to share How To Get a Job Without a Resume with your friends and on social media, and feel free to share any thoughts or questions on Twitter using the hashtag #WithoutaResume!