In elementary school, the essays that we wrote were scored on the following 4 categories: organization, spelling/grammar, content, and voice. I never failed to take advantage of the “voice” category, incorporating dry sarcasm and sassy commentary into every paragraph to show off my personality. When I think of personal branding now, I am reminded of the voice category of that 4-part rubric. Like successful elementary school essays, much of establishing who we are has to do with simply presenting information about ourselves in a certain light and doing so without grammatical errors. As a college student, especially within the communications field, personal branding is absolutely critical and all too easy to get wrong. If you’re looking to establish or clean up your image, start with the tips below.
GET ONLINE. Obviously this isn’t something Generation Y hears all too often, as we have no problem getting on the web. However, just being online isn’t enough. It’s crucial to not only have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but also to be active on LinkedIn, WordPress (yes-everyone should be blogging!), and Youtube if possible. Vlogging (video blogging) paired with blogging creates an immense social network that could come in handy later, and it provides a way for potential employers and clients to get a sense of who you are without ever talking to you. Be connected everywhere, and post often. Unless you have reason to be concerned for your safety, keep everything public. Keep your name, face, and brand fresh in every online community.
PICK A NICHE. Now that you’re on a number of platforms, you need to decide what topics you plan to cover. The more specific, the better. People like reading about things that interest them, and maintaining a uniform theme throughout all of your sites makes it easy for an audience to identify what you’re all about and whether they’re interested. Pick a topic that you enjoy-something that you wouldn’t mind writing about, speaking about, and researching. If you’re not sure what inspires you, ask your friends! You’d be surprised at how easily they can identify interests that you never realized you had.
RESEARCH IT, KNOW IT. Become an expert in your chosen field. No one will seek you out unless you can provide a fresh perspective. Research before you write, and reread before you post. Stay on the lookout for trends or controversies, and always offer your perspective. Be the wise sage of your industry, and people can’t ignore you.
SHOW PERSONALITY, BUT BE APPROPRIATE This is where many 20-somethings fail miserably. It is important to show who you are-that’s the whole point of personal branding. If you’re witty, be witty. If you’re pessimistic, be pessimistic. If you’re overdramatic, great! Show it! However, there is a fine line between showing your true colors and oversharing. I think this can best be explained with examples, and Inc.com has a few hilarious ones. Check them out here and then never repeat them. When in doubt, follow the “grandmother” rule-if you wouldn’t want your sweet, innocent grandmother (or your boss) to read it…don’t post it. It’s as simple as that.
INTERACT Don’t forget that others are trying to establish their brand as well, and everyone appreciates an encouraging comment or two. Follow others in your industry and make friends with those that have established a strong presence as well as other up-and-comers. Insightful comments are always appreciated and usually reciprocated, so don’t forget to scratch your neighbor’s backs. They’ll scratch yours!
Now, check out this clip from personal branding guru, William Arruda. Clearly, he knows a thing or two.
“Effective branding is based on authenticity…Your brand is based on who you really are-your best self.”
“Do you leave your mark on everything you do?…And if you don’t, how can you?”
There is some truth in the idea that shoes should be an investment-we’ve all had a pair of heels fall apart while wearing them, and I think we can all agree that there is nothing worse. However, when it comes to trends, I’m all for cutting corners. You never know when a style that is hot hot hot right now will become next season’s Goodwill donation (gaucho pants, I’m looking at you). That being said, here are 5 ultra-trendy shoe finds for fall under $50.
Like it or not, you present your image everywhere you go. Every time you enter a room, speak words to someone, or race down a hallway you are projecting a presence. Your energy, your confidence, and your look all send a message. It’s instant.
Here’s a way to think about this:
Starting Your Presentation:
1) Consider Your Audience
what do you know about this audience?
how long is their attention span?
how deep is their knowledge?
what do they want from you?
2) Have A Clear Point of View
what is it you want to say?
how can you make your point strongest?
what evidence do you have to back this up?
3) Segment Your Presentation Into Logical Sections
what is the simplest way to present your data or point of view?
how would you then add a level of sophistication/complexity – if it’s needed?
Move in day is hectic, and that’s putting it lightly. You will carry a million boxes and you will get very sweaty. For this reason-DO NOT WEAR A DRESS ON MOVE IN DAY. I cannot stress this enough. Instead, opt for a cute pair of trendy high-waisted shorts, a loose-fitting top, and comfortable shoes. Cute? Yes. Comfortable? Yes. You can thank me later 🙂
Outfit #2: FIRST DAY OF CLASS
I’m a strong believer that it is important to dress up for class, and fall term is the best time to do so because you don’t have to deal with the extra challenge that is the rain. Looking put-together makes a great impression on professors as well as other students. When you look like you know what you’re doing, people expect you to know what you’re doing and thus you’re giving off an aura of professionalism. Always good! You don’t even have to sacrifice style or comfort to make it happen. Stretchy black pants look sleek but feel just like sweatpants. Pair them with some on-trend smoking flats and a colorful button-up. Win-win-win.
Outfit #3: LIBRARY SESH
Once, I wore rain boots to the library. Worst. Decision. Ever. Seriously. I kept trying to cross my legs and get comfortable, but my stiff boots wouldn’t allow me to move at all. I left pretty quickly because I couldn’t focus while I was so uncomfortable. SO. The lesson here is to wear flats to the library-optimal leg movement, ya know. Pair those with some cute colored denim and a sweater or cardigan. Don’t wear bracelets or rings because that can make it hard to write or type for long periods of time. Instead, try a simple classic necklace. Looking cute is important because you’ll definitely see people you know at the lib, but you don’t want to sacrifice comfort or you won’t be there for long.
Look out for more back-to-school outfits! Coming soon: sorority rush, first night out, football game. Anything else I should cover?
A few months ago, one of the partners at my agency presented on the topic of dealing with difficult clients. We’ve all had those moments with clients on the phone where there is just a very large disconnect from what they want to achieve, and what is possible given various constraints. Below I have outlined some key takeaways from this lecture that I’d love for you all to read and keep in mind next time you deal with a difficult client.
Understand the person you are dealing with
Ask for their thoughts and REALLY listen to their concerns
Focus on solutions
Talk in person or over the phone – NOT through email
Make changes that are visible
Focus on results, NOT emotion
Seek clarity on expectations
Get to know the client personally as well as professionally
Key takeaway: don’t let your emotions get the best of you…
I dare say, I believe my Polyvore skills are improving!
Anyway, it’s August (ahh!), which means it’s almost September, which mean’s it’s almost time to go back to SCHOOL! Every summer I work myself to the bone to finance my back-to-school wardrobe, and this summer is no different. Fall is a challenging season to dress for, because one has to balance the desire to stand out and be unique amid a crowd of fashion-hungry college students with a no-nonsense, classic vibe. You definitely don’t want to be that person that shows up wearing every trend at once (deperation much?), but you still want to look fabulous and stylish. That’s why I love color trends. A perfect balance can be struck by pairing a red-hot color with a classic staple item and-voila! You’ve found a happy medium. Check out my take on one of this season’s it colors-burgundy.