Last week I issued an invitation for you to show me your brand. I want to show how real students or recent graduates are using personal branding to help their careers.
This week I want to introduce you to Kristen Dziadul. I found her on Twitter, checked out her blog, and was impressed. Take a look at what she is doing and see if you can find some encouragement. Here are the links to her online brand, and below that is my interview with her.
Kristen’s blog is: http://kdmedianow.com
1. This is The Student Branding Blog, so tell us something about your background as a student and then bring us up-to-date on what you are doing now.
I am a recent college graduate with a Marketing Communications/Advertising degree. During my college career, I was always a top student, a leader on campus in both the Management Association and Marketing Association, and I found much guidance from professors and career counselors to assist me with finding internships and great connections. My peers would describe me as friendly, helpful, motivated, intelligent, creative, innovative, and a very organized person.
Since graduation, I have utilized all of the above skills and experiences to begin niching myself in my industry of choice for a career. Since I am highly interested in the marketing field, and Internet marketing in particular, I decided to begin branding myself online. This involved making many connections, developing a strong and consistent representation and message of myself across all social media sites, and developing a website for myself to showcase my ideas and social media integration. Upon doing this, I have received several job offers, freelance opportunities, guest blogging invitations such as this one, and commendations on my work. I am currently employed as a freelancer for three companies in the Boston area while still working from home in Connecticut. I am also able to keep my online brand up-to-date every day while conversing with contacts on a regular basis as well.
2. How and why did you get started with personal branding?
I was educated on traditional marketing techniques, but in the back of my mind I knew there must be a better way for brands to position themselves in the marketplace, and thus a better way for me to market myself as an asset to a potential employer. Before graduation, I started to get in touch with several of my business contacts in the Boston area and they guided me towards using social media to start making more connections. I have always found myself to be innovative, creative, friendly, and intelligent when making career decisions.
I soon decided to launch my personal brand utilizing social media and other web 2.0 tools. I use Twitter to meet professionals in the Boston marketing field, Facebook to become fans of local companies, LinkedIn to showcase my online resume and portfolio, as well as to meet and connect with professionals, and I also developed my own website and blog. My website has been my launching point to integrate both my ideas (shown in my blog) and my social media site links. I believe that my schooling strongly guided me to find my passion and niche in a particular industry and I learned to be more individualistic and creative with my skills. I then took on the initiative to create the above personal branding techniques to bring me to a point where I feel my online brand is strong and well-known.
3. How would you describe your personal brand? Which online platforms have been the most effective for you in spreading the word about your brand?
My personal brand is demonstrated as an up-and-coming new generation marketer. I display this brand by blogging about many different trending marketing techniques, implications of the Generation Y age cohort, and new technologies that can allow business to operate more efficiently and intelligently. I interact with people who have some of the same interests to converse with and learn from them. Twitter has been the best platform for me to showcase my personal brand. Since most of my connections are in the marketing field, they are very receptive to my comments, blog post links, other content that I share, and conversations I hold with them. When I check my Google Analytics on my website, Twitter is by far the highest ranked site for click-throughs to my website.
LinkedIn has also been a helpful resource to share my online brand. This social media site allows me to show my online resume to other professionals, and my Twitter feed is integrated with my LinkedIn posts so everyone can see what I am tweeting about on a daily basis. I have made several business connections via LinkedIn, and even received a few job offers. In addition, I advertise my blog posts to the groups I am involved with on LinkedIn, and they are very well received. In return, I make sure to comment on others’ blog posts and comments to reciprocate the link sharing and commenting.
4. What personal branding advice do you have for students?
Today in the digital age, I find it more important than ever for students to start implementing their online brand. I wish I knew about this technique before I even graduated college so that I would have had a head start on this and made more connections before graduation.
In order to begin a personal brand, students must first thoroughly understand why they want to make a personal brand, what exactly they will stand for, what type of content they will share, what kinds of people they want to meet, and what their true passions are. This process can take awhile and may be tweeked many times. I found that as I began developing my brand, I changed my purpose a few times before I found the one that best represented myself and my passions.
By beginning this process early on, you definitely will have an edge over every other college peer that is not doing this at the time. Much of business today is migrating online, thus you need to meet those connections and potential employers online as well. If you can showcase and demonstrate your skills, accomplishments, communication style, and ideas online, it acts as a working portfolio for yourself.
Thanks, Kristen! Now it’s your turn – show me your brand.
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.