By Samantha Yorke
Samantha Yorke is an assistant director and success coach for the Office of Undergraduate Student Success at NSU. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida and her Master of Science degree in higher education from Florida State University. Samantha is a proud Floridian with a passion for empowering others.
What is a personal brand and why is it so important? Essentially, a personal brand is your “external you.” It is the image and persona you share with the outside world and the idea others have of you because of this persona. The coolest part about a personal brand is that it can be built upon constantly and in any way you want. By building your brand, you showcase specific qualities, personality traits and experiences that you want peers, family and professional networks to know about you.
Brands can be built through action, social media and associations. As you continue your collegiate journey, make sure to be thinking about your brand. You have the power to project the image you want others to see. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Action is essential to building a personal brand — a positive brand will not build itself. Make sure you are joining communities and organizations that have missions and visions you are proud to discuss with others. There are plenty of student organizations and clubs at NSU that provide opportunities for professional development, service learning and positive impact on those around you. Consider looking at OrgSync to explore what clubs to join at NSU.
When it comes to social media, everything you “like” or “post” matters. Remember to keep personal information private, which, even then, can still sometimes be dug up by others. It is recommended that you keep your posts tasteful and positive, as this may be what a professional chooses to assess you on for a job or internship in the future… yes, this really happens. The Internet is a black hole, where your posts remain forever and can be pulled up at any time.
The people you associate with and what they choose to do in their spare time will reflect on you and your brand as well. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people that hold similar values as you and support you with your goals. These individuals provide you with additional networks that you may wish to connect with in the future. If you are interested in a specific field, think about how much easier it would be to find opportunities if your friends and acquaintances were connected to that field as well. Similarly, if you have hobbies such as photography or art, consider networking with people who also have those passions.
When you think of someone, you most likely think of the people they hang out with or are seen with as well. Is that person friendly? What about their friends? These associations have contributed to your perspective of them and their personal brand.
Take the time to practice your elevator speech, which is a short introduction of who you are at this very point in your life. The elevator speech can help brand you from the very beginning of a conversation and set the stage for how you wish to be perceived. The Career Development Office at NSU can assist you in constructing your ideal elevator speech if you visit nova.edu/career. Overall, keeping your personal brand in mind at all times will help you showcase the “you” that you want others to see and know.
You now have a general overview of what a brand is and how it can be influenced. Hopefully you see the importance of continuously being aware of your “external you” and how this persona can play a major role in your opportunities and goals. Now is the time to start thinking of what you want your brand to ultimately look like. Take those first few steps in making that brand a true representation of who you are, inside and out.