Musings of an Intern: Personal Branding
After welcoming the inaugural class of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine last week, Hofstra University joined an elite club of 135 educational institutions nationwide that offer MD programs. Perhaps even more noteworthy, Hofstra has now become one of only 66 universities in the United States with both accredited law and medical schools. Although this accomplishment is significant in its own right (it's New York State's first new allopathic medical school since 1963), I can't help but wonder what this means for the value of my degree when I graduate from Hofstra next spring.
While this certainly won't guarantee a job offer or financial success after graduation, I've realized that Hofstra's effort to boost its national profile has also reinforced another dimension of my personal brand. While personal branding doesn't necessarily define an individual, it does provide another opportunity to market one's self, a particularly important skill in an increasingly competitive job market.
Personal branding is known as an essential career building process (it is a process), but what exactly does it consist of?
In one word: everything. Personal brands are the sum of attitudes, experiences, behaviors, personal styles, knowledge, and even education. Ultimately, these factors help to collectively form an individual's reputation and image.
More often than not, most people mistake personal branding for the process of building a better product. Instead, personal branding only focuses on creating a better perception of one's self among others.
To start creating a distinct identity that enhances your visibility, here are a few of my suggestions:
- Define Your Brand - Think about how you want to be perceived. This means worrying less about your Klout score and more about the content you're producing and the people you reach. It's important to find your own unique selling point, and embrace it.
- Create Content - In the digital age, your online identity contributes significantly to your personal brand. Social networking profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer invaluable channels of two-way communication. In addition, blogs and portfolios are a great place to showcase talents and voice opinions.
- Be Transparent - A personal brand is nothing without some personality. Your brand should be reflective of your experiences and skill set, but also of you as an individual. Don't be afraid to convey your personality for fear of lacking professionalism.
Personal branding shouldn't be difficult. If you can believe in your own skills and abilities, it will become easier to sell your brand.
Kevin Anthony is an intern at CJP Communications