I just finished teaching another course in personal branding to twenty-one undergraduate and twenty-one MBA students at the University of Nevada, Reno. Students identify their value – what they can do uniquely well to help others address an opportunity or solve a problem that matters to them – and then they communicate that value through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a Blog.
On the first day of class, Amy Sheridan, a student from a previous class, spoke to my class and showed us how she had developed her brand. She shared a story of how her personal brand had helped her land a job with one of the largest employers in town. Amy wrote this quote for me to share with you:
I went in for a panel interview for a spring internship at (big company). I was brought into a large conference room and sat down in the middle of a long table. There were four people there and one person on a conference call from (big company) Las Vegas. At first the questions mostly came from the Senior recruiter across from me, but I couldn’t help but notice that the guy on the end of the conference table had his laptop open and was clicking away, not seeming to pay any attention to my responses. I thought he was getting work done, and really thought he was being rude.
Then when the interview came around to him I was even further puzzled because his questions were really specific, and he seemed to know a lot about my background that I didn’t have on my resume. At the end of the interview as we were leaving, he asked me, with a smile, “What NPR programs do you like to listen to?”
Then it dawned on me that he wasn’t working during the interview- he was reading all about me through my online accounts and my blogs! I quickly went home and sure enough, when I searched my LinkedIn account I saw that I had listed NPR among my interests. My LinkedIn account also has links to my WordPress, Twitter and Posterous accounts. So, further checking of my WordPress blog statistics revealed LinkedIn as a referrer to my blog. My interviewer had clicked on several of my stories, my “About Me” section, my pictures- just about everything.
I had to laugh, because after just starting my online brand, it really came in handy! I got the job by the way, and I have learned not only to clean up my resume and make sure it looks perfect before my next interview, but to make sure all of my online accounts are perfect as well!
Personal branding DOES work! Amy had been doing this less than six months when it paid off for her. It might take you less or more time, but with commitment and patience you too can begin to accumulate personal branding success stories of your own.
Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.