Archive for March, 2011
This is a guest post from our campus ambassador Samantha Bankey from Ferris State University.
Think about this: there are hundreds of millions of business people in the world. Out of those people, there is a HUGE amount that is aiming and learning towards the same goals as you. You as a professional and individual were born to stand out – so how do you do that? You need to build your personal brand. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but what does that mean?
Think about a brand such as Pepsi. You know it’s a soda company, it’s red, white, and blue, it started the Pepsi Refresh Project, etc. A conversation can go many places as people talk about Pepsi. “What are the new commercials like? Remember when Britney Spears did her Pepsi days? Wow, the Pepsi Refresh Project just funded this awesome project for this place a couple of cities away!”
Now, when people say Your Name, what will they be thinking of? What do you want them to say about you and think of you as? Here are ways to help build your personal brand.
1. First and foremost, start a Twitter. Yeah, Facebook is great and all, but that’s more on a personal level. Twitter is a way connect with professionals in your own field and to see what others are talking about and blurb about what you’re interested in. Post links to articles you’re interested in or that relate to you as a professional, use hashtags (#) and participate in Twitter chats, and take advantage of the contacts you make on Twitter. I’ve made so many contacts via Twitter — I even had an internship where all I did was tweet. It’s a way for businesses and companies to reach out to people they’re interested in.
2. Start a blog. This is extremely important in building a brand. On Twitter, you can talk about things in 140 characters or less where on your own blog, you can go on and on and on! Start a blog and talk about things that you are interested in. Want to have a career in the Fashion industry? Start a blog and post about fashion related things. Make it about what you think. This is all about you and your opinions! Have photos or designs that you’ve created? Make a blog or an online portfolio of your work! It’s such a great way to collect all of your work into one place that is easy for others and employers to see. Think that your blog is going to be a hassle to maintain? If you’re blogging about things you actually are interested in, you won’t get bored with it. I promise.
3. Make your resume reflect your brand. Post links to your website, Twitter, blog, etc. on your resume or in the signature of your e-mails. The visitor count on my website has SKYROCKETED ever since I put a link in my e-mail signature. Also, make sure your resume isn’t too bland. My resume isn’t perfect, but it has color in it, which a PR professional has told me that, that is a big plus. Appeal to your possible employer in a way that will impress them. You may want to check into your Career Services to see how you can make your resume top notch.
4. Last but not least, tell people about what you do! Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter that you have a blog or website. It took me a long time to tell people about my passion with makeup and the fashion industry because I was a little shy. Little did I know, a lot of people would be really interested in it. A lot of people actually enjoy reading the things I post, and even if they didn’t, who really cares? This is you and your personal brand! Not everyone likes Pepsi, and not everyone is a fan of soda anyways, but look how successful Pepsi and it’s brand has become. Don’t forget that a huge way your stuff will spread is through word of mouth. If an employer sees your blog and likes a post on it, he/she may bring it up to someone they know, then they’ll talk about it to their friends and so on.
As always, be sure to keep it professional. Don’t turn your Twitter into nothing but randomness, and do not use inappropriate language. Be sure you aren’t turning your blog into a diary, although talking a little bit about yourself and your life is a good thing! And of course, flaunt who you are. Your personal brand should reflect who you really are and what you stand for. Don’t put on a front about who you aren’t and talk about things you don’t care about. In doing so, you’ll stand out from your employers and professionals and be more memorable, possibly even before they want to schedule that interview.
- Smithsonian museums: from the American Indian Museum to the Air & Space Museum to the National Zoo…there are twenty Smithsonian museums in DC that you can check out FOR FREE! Trust me – these museums are FAR from boring. When I interned in DC I tried to go to one museum each weekend just to get the most out of these awesome places. Check out the Smithsonian website for more info here.
- Explore Georgetown! This is such a fun place to shop, eat and go out on weekends! There are TONS of shops and bars and the vibe is very young and hip. Make sure to check out Annie Cheesecake in Georgetown for fabulous vintage shopping and the Rugby by Ralph Lauren restaurant for dinner and a great drink. There are WAY too many amazing restaurants to list. I recommend just taking the metro to the Georgetown area and pick ANYWHERE to eat and start exploring!
- Eastern Market: This is a weekly flea market every Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm. The “Eastern Market” metro stop leads you RIGHT to the market. There are cute little coffee shops nearby, but also tons of tents and vendors selling goodies. You can buy clothes, AMAZING jewelry, homemade food and more. Also, there are TONS of samples of locally-grown hummus, salsa and more. Eastern Market was one of my favorite spots in the city. The EM website is here.
- Annapolis! If you have a car this summer in DC, I recommend driving to Annapolis, Maryland. It’s a 45-minute drive but this city was absolutely one of the best parts of my summer. It’s beyond adorable and fun and the home of the United States Military Academy. This is a fun day-trip on weekends!
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is eye-opening and life changing.
- Visit the beautiful town of Alexandria, Virginia! This historic city is right on the waterfront and is an amazing area. The weekend following July 4th, the city has an out-of-this-world fireworks celebration on the water. It was the perfect way to celebrate our country!
- Monuments! Hike around the city during the day or during the evening to see the monuments. You can climb to the top of the Washington Monument, check out the Jefferson Memorial and my personal favorite, the Lincoln Memorial.
- Get on a bus! If you want to see A LOT of historic places in just one day, I recommend taking a bus tour. You can see so many different historic sites and cultural places in a few hours and get on and off whenever you want. If you are interested in visiting one of the spots the bus stops, you can get off and hop on another bus when you are ready to continue the tour. The best part? It’s only $16 for one full day of exploring! For more info on DC bus tours, click here.
- Adams-Morgan is another super young and fun area to explore and go out! Check out more info about the exciting neighborhood here.
- Get to know other college students! DC and the surrounding area is jam-packed with colleges; University of Maryland, American University and George-Washingon are just a few. These colleges still have lots of students sticking around for the summer so head out to that area or check out the college summer activities.
- Screen on the Green! Every Monday night starting in mid-July, there are free movies on the National Mall (an outside area of land in the middle of the district). Bring a blanket, some snacks and a friend to enjoy an outdoor movie..for free!
Hopefully this list gets you excited for your internship and fabulous summer in DC! I also found this post: ”Fun Under Age 21: A Guide to 21 Things To Do in Washington”. That will give you even more ideas and suggestions for making this summer an absolutely amazing time. Enjoy!
This year, I am heavily involved in a lot of things. I am a full time student, a member of PRSSA, part of the Residence Hall Association, a tutor, I work part-time and I am a campus ambassador.
Sometimes it gets stressful to keep track of everything I have to do! That is why I rely on To Do Lists! I love, love, love “to do” lists. They give me a realistic look at everything I have to get done.
I have three steps for my To-Do Lists:
- Write down everything for every class, organization and job that I have that I need to get done with the date they need to be done.
- Next, I take a good look at everything. You would be surprised by how many of the things on your To-Do List are quick and easy things that will just take a few minutes each. I get those done right away.
- Finally, I put everything else in my planner on the corresponding date. That way, I have it in my mind whenever I open my planner.
Of course, my system won’t work for everyone. You need to figure out what system works best for you and stick to it. To Do Lists and planners are very important ways to stay organized, keep your priorities straight and go through college with ease.