Sarah Blinco is editor of TravelLiveLearn.com (www.travellivelearn.com), and creator of Media Bootcamp (www.sugoimedia.com/mediabootcampusa) which is a digital training tool designed to get you on the fast-track to your dream career. She's worked in publishing and radio and is always happy to answer questions - you'll find her at www.facebook.com/travellivelearn or Tweet @sarahblinco
Personal branding is so important. How you present yourself on and offline can make a big difference to your chances of scoring that dream job or work placement!
It is a critical element, that can often mean the difference between you being selected for a job or not. In this digital age, it’s also crucial to start managing personal branding early in life, especially if you aim to work in media, write, blog or pursue endeavors in the public eye. When I first started out and got my foot in the publishing door, one of the reasons I was given a chance was because I was well presented in my interview – unlike, I discovered later, others who had turned up in flip flops and presenting no evidence of etiquette or style.
Personal branding: what you should put into practice:
1. Brand yourself online – Go to your profiles and imagine that you’re a prospective employer – is everything professional, consistent, easy to follow and branded with your name, logo (if relevant), information on you and a contact form or email address? Are you proud of what’s showcased? If not, amend it pronto.
2. Offline presentation – Do you have or need business cards? If so, do they include all relevant information on you, including social media links and your website? VistaPrint is just one site that offers an inexpensive, quick and professional solution to business cards and other branding items, so there is no excuse for not being prepared when you’re out there promoting your skills. Even if you are attending college after school, it's not a bad idea to have some personal cards made up, especially if you are aiming to secure work in publishing or media where age matters less than experience and profile.
3. Be consistent with your personal branding. Know who you are talking to (your audience), who you want to help and what knowledge you have to share. This is particularly important across your blog and social spaces which showcase to the world – and importantly, potential employers or future editors – what you can do and what you know.
4. Do you have a niche or point of difference? That is, an area you know a little extra about than someone else does. This might be politics, cooking, fashion, travel, TV, and ideally you’ll know about a more precise segment of a larger topic. For example, perhaps you are an expert plus-size fashion stylist which is how you angle your fashion features; or you write about vegan lifestyles (rather than just a broad topic of ‘food’ or ‘recipes’), or you write about the paranormal television genre rather than just TV in general. Your niche will be evident within branding across your blog, social media strands and anything else connected to you in the digital space and real life. Owning a niche will help you to stand out from the crowd, and enable you to position yourself in a corner of a market where you can become the expert (and hired for the jobs you want at any age).
Is personal branding something you've given much thought to? Have you had ideas about what makes you (and your stories) unique?