By Catie Schultz (@CatieSchultz17)
As journalism students, we have it drilled into our heads very early in our courses how important it is to show your voice when creating content, however, it is even more imperative to focus on the creation of your own personal brand. But why is your personal brand so important? By setting the tone in creating your own personal brand, you are setting yourself apart from the competition. You also are creating better job opportunities by evolving your brand, developing better connections with people you work with as well as current and potential clients, generating industry recognition and so much more.
Hayley Rickmeier, a Public Relations and Journalism-Advertising major, wrote an internship newsletter article for Journalism 427: Professional Journalism Internship, outlining her insight on how to create your personal brand to prepare students for internships and life after graduation. Like many students, Hayley didn’t know what her personal brand was and expressed concern saying, “I am basically going to be the same as everyone else who graduates with the same degree. I don’t really know what will set me apart from them.”
To assist in trying to figure out where to start in developing your personal brand, Hayley thought of some great questions to consider. Use these questions to create responses about how you would answer. If you can answer all of these questions, you already have a great start in developing your personal brand.
- What sets you apart from others and why are you unique?
- What kind of situations do you excel in?
- What area would you consider your absolute expertise?
- What are some of your strongest personality traits?
- What can you bring to the table in a future career of your choosing?
Another helpful way to gain insight is to ask people close to you about what you are great at. You can learn a lot about yourself by hearing what others think of your work ethic and personality. Paying attention to your social role also is helpful; an example of this would be if you are the person people always turn to for advice or for guidance during group projects, you are a natural leader.
As time goes by and you gain more experience, your personal brand will grow and change. As students, ours will be more goal-oriented until we gain professional experience, and that’s perfectly okay. Employers are looking for a brand that shows you know what you can bring to the table and that you are sure of your skills. For those of you interested in learning about how you can start your personal brand, The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand has excellent information and highlights many ways you can learn how to build and expand your personal brand.