Today I attended an American Advertising Federation professional chapter luncheon where Ray Compton, Sports Marketing Guru, spoke. Something he spoke about that I believe anyone getting ready to go out into the job market, not just in advertising, should consider was personal branding. Ray basically said, yes, social media branding is important in today’s society, but before you can do any of that, you need to personally brand yourself. He mentioned that when he interviewed candidates, one of the first questions he asked was for the candidate to describe their brand to him. What were the reasons he should hire them? He wasn’t looking for cookie-cutter answers about being hard working, with a good work ethic, and great communication skills, but he was looking for keywords that would describe how this person was going to fit into the company culture and mission. Ray then described his personal brand to us in five words: Commitment, Passion, United, Believe, and Dream. He then gave great explanations about why these words fit into his brand. Ray Compton is called a guru for a reason; after attending the luncheon I could not wait to come back to work and blog about his advice.
As a college student, you will be entering the workforce shortly, and you should get into the practice of branding yourself personally. Know the five words that apply to you, and know how to back up why those describe your abilities, skills, experiences, and values. Even if you never get asked the specific question of what your personal brand is, knowing in your head exactly what your brand is, what you can do, and what you expect from yourself is a great skill. Walking into an interview, you will already be prepared for any “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should I hire you” questions. Knowing your personal brand will set you apart from the other applicants.
Wondering how to get started? Check out the CCO’s Your Personal Brand Worksheet to get your creative juices flowing.