Today I will be writing some thoughts on how working on your unique personal brand can help you get your desired internship, scholarship or job.
I used to advise my ex-students on scholarship applications, so I hope this piece helps you in getting your ideal job, scholarship or internship successfully.
1. What is Personal Branding and Why Should You Care?
Everyone has a brand, intended or otherwise.
At IKIGUIDE, we define a personal brand by “superior expertise made aspirational”.
A brand is what you stand for, the value you offer to people and how they will remember you.
If you are a job-seeker or a student searching for an internship, personal branding is increasingly important because jobs are getting more and more scarce.
In particular, according to the report “Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace”, more than 50% of today’s jobs will be eliminated by 2025. A strong personal brand will therefore be a strong determinant to standing out amongst your peers who have the same universitiy degree and relatively good grades like you do.
If you are going for a scholarship, the pool of scholarship applicants is small. Everyone who is applying for that particular scholarship has great achievements according to their own rights.
Clearly, it is to your advantage to think about how to communicate your personal brand well.
2. How Can I Brand Myself?
Here are three simple steps as to how you can brand yourself:
(A) Consider what you are naturally good at.
You might have a flair for words, an aptitude for mathematics, or an outgoing personality. Write down on a piece of paper what you think you are good at.
Then ask your friends what they think you are good at. Sometimes certain tasks are so easy and effortless for us that we take our talents for granted. At these times, your friends can come in to help you identify your strengths.
After that, on this same piece of paper, write down some facts about yourself that can be verified.
Have you won any awards? Do you have a masters degree? Do you have professional credentials? Write all these down.
After you have written them down, consider the direction you are heading. What does your heart want? What are you naturally good at? What do you find easy? In what ways do you think you can contribute significantly to industry or in general to people around you? How do you envision yourself in 1-5years?
It is okay not to have perfect answers to these questions—what is important is to determine a general direction to head towards.
(B) Consider your value to the industry or organisation.
By rational value, I mean exactly how you can value-add to the organisation. What are your skill-sets? If you are a fresh graduate with no experience, fret not. Sometimes zero experience is an asset for it suggests that you are teachable.
Here, it is important to do positioning. With the list of paper you have written your strengths and verifiable facts on, consider how to position yourself vis-à-vis your peers.
Would a lack of experience be an advantage? Would your ability to speak a third language help you in securing the job? How about your hobby in gardening—can you tell a story of passion that can value-add the company in some ways?
(C) Consider how you make the people around you feel.
In the workplace, people skills are essential and sometimes even more important than technical skills. It is usually not the most talented people that make a workplace conductive, but the most compatible people who do.
You make up a team, and it is up to you to be an excellent team player.
In your personal branding therefore, consider how you naturally make people around you feel and convey that via your social media channels, blog and visuals.
Contrary to popular belief, personal branding is really not about being narcissistic. On the contrary, it is about the value you can naturally offer to your ecosystem, or to the people around you. Once you have a clearer idea of who you are and what you can offer to people, getting your ideal job, internship or scholarship can be a breeze.
We look forward to connecting more with all of you!