Written by Emily Linginfelter, Marketing and Communications Intern
If you’re similar to most students, the words career fair, resume and 30-second elevator speech instantly conjure a mental image of business suits and firm handshakes. Networking and job searches don’t have to be viewed as mysteriously grey areas that lean away from individuality. Instead, animate your professionalism by adding personality and a colorful story.
Everyone carries his or her own personal brand, and this professional element flows steadily alongside storytelling. Actions do speak a thousand words, and it is vital to build an engaging representation that aligns with the skills that make us unique. Regardless of your career stage- undergraduate, graduate or working professional- fall semester is the perfect time to begin developing a personal, career-oriented brand. This is especially important for those who seek professional networks, internships or jobs.
Drafting a fluid representation of oneself may seem daunting at first, but the good news is that we already have our stories. The challenges are recognizing those principle work features and creating a compelling story that shapes information into meaning. At this time of the year, the most important professional staples to keep in mind include resumes and portfolios. Before structuring or revising these documents, however, one must have the blueprints for successful brand storytelling. After all, you are the main character and the future holds your next chapter! Below are a few ideas to get started on personal branding:
- Recognize the overall goal
- Define your current standing (list academic studies, interests, talents, experiences, etc.)
- Identify potential audiences for your career message
- Ask close friends and family to describe you with 10 characteristics
- Start a filing system to organize contacts, potential employers, business information, position descriptions, application processes and personal evaluations
- Create a document header that lists your name and contact information
- Visual consistency is key. Have a uniform!
- Pick 3-5 colors with Adobe Kuler for all documents
- Consider a logo for business cards
- Keep everything simple and easy-to-read
- Branding = Your actions and words + The receivers’ interpretation
If you’re still unsure about where to get started, check our Job and Internship Search Guide, which walks students and alumni through the professional essentials such as resumes, cover letters, professional references and interviewing. The Xavier Career Development Office (530 CLC) is always a welcoming resource, and students can visit career coaches during walk-in hours or schedule appointments to receive additional techniques, advice and professional feedback on application materials. For more information, visit the Xavier Career Development Office’s official website.