By Paris Mackey
If you’re anything like me — a relentless internship pursuer — there comes a point when you’ve exhausted all your options: no leaf unturned, no internship site un-perused, every contact tapped. So what’s there left to do? Let me present a revolutionary idea that I’m sure everyone of you is doing in one form or another — personal branding.
Long before I started caring about internships and what they ultimately meant for my future, I started crafting my personal brand. I believe the year was 2004, and the platform was Myspace. You remember Myspace, right? That faux Facebook is where I started putting information out on the web about myself that gave others an overview of who I was – what I stood for, and what I was passionate about.
Today, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, About.Me, Foursquare, and Myspace have radicalized personal branding. So what is it and how is it helpful? I’m glad you asked.
Just like every other brand out there i.e., Nike, McDonalds, Disney, its mission is to sell you something, packaged in a way that is appealing to you as a consumer.
Long before I started caring about internships and what they ultimately meant for my future, I started crafting my personal brand.
If we take that same concept with employers taking the role of the consumer and us internship/job seekers as the Big Mac or pair of basketball shoes, our mission is to be as appealing as possible to that potential employer by presenting our attributes in a cohesive online package.
Once this concept took full form in my mind, I began developing my brand online through social media sites and by creating a personal blog. Maintaining my brand requires even more effort than creating it did. Participating in Twitter chats, sharing relevant links on my Facebook page and updating my blog routinely are several ways I stay in the mix.
Initially, when I had very little experience to my name, I still had talking points with my online presence — a.k.a my personal brand. Personal branding by itself isn’t enough for gainful employment, but alongside a polished resume, it’s pretty hard to pass up.
What I find most rewarding about all this is what is says about me. It says that I’m passionate about my career by making an effort to join in on the conversation.