Me, Myself, and My Brand: Marketing Yourself as a Professional

How is your brand affecting your professional life? Are you making the impact you want?  

At the beginning of your professional career, it may feel intimidating to brand yourself or make yourself known. However, with some work and guidance, it can feel a lot less daunting to take the first few steps to brand your professional side. 

Advice from Greta Snell, VP of Strategic Initiatives at Indianapolis’ Dittoe PR 

During the fall semester, Ball State University’s PRSSA hosted Indianapolis Dittoe PR Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Greta Snell. Snell spoke about personal branding and what she looks for in employees while hiring. Read her advice broken down into five tips: 

1. Who are you?

The first step to branding yourself is to know who you are.  

  • What do you do?  
  • Why do you do it?  
  • What makes you unique?  
  • What is next for you?  

Create an “elevator pitch”, or 30-60 seconds worth of information that encompasses you. Be authentic and personable in telling who you are. Just because you are highlighting your professional side does not mean you should hide your human side. While job-seeking, you want to go into a workplace that loves both parts of you. 

While you tell others who you are, don’t be afraid to get creative. Use colors, trademarks, and other telling graphics that represent you and show your authentic self. 

2. What is your content and where is it held?

Depending on who you are, the answer may vary.  

Almost everyone needs a resume and could benefit from a cover letter template and an email signature. But an individual in a creative field has distinct content they must show a future employer through a portfolio. However, if you are going into a field with less visuals, you may not need a portfolio.  

Figure out what types of apps and websites work best for you and if a portfolio could enhance your brand.  

  • Will you create a resume through a Word or Google doc template? Or will you use Canva? 
  • Will you have a portfolio? Digital or physical? Both? What portfolio site will you use? 
  • Will you need to create a digital platform for your career? LinkedIn? Professional Instagram accounts? A digital store-front?  

This may seem overwhelming. To make this task a little less daunting, you can start by building a strong resume, cover letter, email signature, and LinkedIn account. 

3. Know Your Current Brand so You Can Know Your Future Goals.

Where is your brand right now? Now, where do you want it to be?  

Understanding where your brand is now is crucial in personal branding.  

  • Do you want to be more active and professional on LinkedIn?  
  • Do you want to improve your online portfolio?  
  • Is your resume the best it can be? What about your email signature?  
  • Do you want to add more distinct style through colors and design to your overall brand?  
  • Do you network with others consistently?  

Create goals for your personal brand so you can start hitting them. Once you get in the process of critiquing your own brand, the better it is going to be. Consequently, more employers are going to be interested. 

4. Attend networking and other relevant events.

Although it may seem like in-person networking is a tradition of the past, attending networking events once a semester, quarter or even once a month is extremely beneficial to meet new professionals and put yourself out into your industry.  

Professionals in your industry see hundreds, if not thousands, of people digitally every day. Unless you really leave your mark on them, they will probably not remember you. However, a face-to-face conversation is much more memorable.  

TIP: Stay active in your community/profession to stay relevant and learn about events such as these. While you are chatting and networking, think about how the other individuals are perceiving you in their own head through your clothing and body language. 

5. Find your balance.

For those that are just entering the world of marketing yourself, this is most likely extremely overwhelming. But take a step back and understand that anything is possible. Decide the best path for yourself and take it one step at a time.  

After you have all the individual pieces complete, it is important to consistently add to, refresh, and update your brand. However, you do not want to become burnt out by working on your brand too much.  

Try setting reminders to post and be active on platforms like LinkedIn for 10 minutes weekly to keep up consistency but avoid burnout. This same strategy can be used once a week for updating, resumes, cover letters, portfolios, etc.  

Stay consistent and up to date, but do not burn yourself out on your branding.  

Personal Branding at the Digital Corps

“Our professional work environment allows us to gain invaluable industry skills,” the Digital Corps website says. “You are surrounded by collaborative team members and knowledgeable staff to help you learn and enhance your résumé.” 

One of the values at the Digital Corps is preparing students for the workplace. While the Corps takes pride in working this value into students daily through professional projects and soft skill classes, the most notable event emphasizing professionalism at the Corps is Portfolio Day.  

Portfolio Day is a four-hour event where Corps students show off their work to their peers and Corps alumni. This event is a way to keep Corps students accountable and up to date on showcasing their work professionally.  
 
The entirety of the Corps’ school year, students are reminded, with slight pressure, that Portfolio Day is coming up and they must have at least 10 printed resumes and something to showcase the highlights of their work. 

“Practice and dedication led me to this moment of being ready for bigger endeavors. Everyone else provided very strong portfolios, proving how well the Digital Corps helps you improve and build on top of your resume.” 

– Senior Development Team Specialist Jared Bowman stated through a LinkedIn post after Portfolio Day 2024.

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