My last few posts will help you get in front of people and make some connections that will serve you well both personally – and professionally. And, I wanted to draw a parallel between introducing yourself and lining up some informational interviews.
When introducing yourself or lining up informational interviews, you’re being proactive. This is the secret to building a strong personal brand and making the most of your time. Acting proactively means you’re self-motivated, change-oriented, and taking control of your brand – and to larger degree your destiny (I realize that sounds profound – it is!).
When you build a personal brand, it’s in anticipation of something. You plan on using it to help you make new friends, find new professional connections, and/or get a job (maybe even that ever-important first job out of college?).
What does being proactive look like?
- Say thank you! Seems simple right? It is. But people don’t do it. Thanking people for their time, thoughts, feedback, and friendship is so important. Saying thank you might seem reactive – not proactive right? It can be, but jumping in on Twitter – for example – and just thanking someone for sharing something you found interesting or helpful will be much appreciated, and it might help you make a new friend.
- Research. Do it for anything you plan to invest any money or time in. Classes for next semester? Professors? Ask around campus – get feedback and see if it aligns with your goals. Going to a networking event? Find out who is going to be there – peers, organizations, key people you want to meet? Interviewing for a job, or trying to decide which company to apply to? Maybe a good time to line up one of those informational interviews. The only way you can really be prepared is to research these things. Which brings me to…
- Set aside some time. Being proactive means you ask questions of yourself first. This might mean you need to decide what’s important to you. Then you need to reevaluate, often. Google offers their employees a certain percentage of time for innovation. I suggest you do the same. You need time to think about what might be valuable for you, and if you are constantly in a situation where you are time poor (without free-thinking or creativity time) this won’t be the case.
Being proactive was never a real strength of mine until I spent a few years in the Marine Corps. I learned the value of this along with a lot of other useful stuff. Being proactive and getting out in front of a situation is really another way of saying that you are going to hold yourself accountable for your own future. Will you take charge of your future?
This is the first in a short series of posts on this topic, so please your provide feedback. And, thank you for taking the time to read my post, and visit the blog.
Jonathan has broad ranging experience and currently works in eMarketing at Thomson Reuters in the Twin Cities area. He is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University where he majored in Marketing. Prior to returning to Thomson Reuters, where he had an internship during college, he worked for Expedia in an account management role for their North American lodging business. Jonathan is an avid enthusiast of all things marketing, economics, and travel. And, he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@jonathanpetrino), LinkedIn, and his website.