Hattie Hynes is a Recruiting/HR Marketing Intern with Milliner & Associates. She will graduate from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in 2019.
Through my internship with Milliner & Associates, I’ve had the opportunity to go to many networking events. The exposure I’ve received in the “big little town” of Indianapolis has been instrumental in developing my professional self and making connections with influential people.
Milliner & Associates is a well-exposed company and I’ve had the ability to attend many networking events, like “Forward: Branding Yourself in Your Business” hosted by the Indy Chamber, and Indiana INTERNnet’s Summer Intern Engagement Event at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. While these events were completely different in formality and tone, they were about the same topic: self-branding.
The speaker of the Forward event was Trevor Yager, founder of TrendyMinds. Majoring in psychology with minors in political science and history, he wasn’t really set up to become the marketing guru that he is today.
Chelesa DuKate spoke at the Indiana INTERNnet Summer Intern Engagement Event. Chelsea is an IU Kelley-Indianapolis grad (like I will be!) who now runs her own human resources consulting and professional development firm, Red Envelope Consulting.
It was nice how the two speakers’ messages coincided. Yager taught me about what a personal brand is, and DuKate gave me practical ways to ensure that I’m aware of my personal brand and how to intentionally portray my personal brand.
But first, what is a personal brand? Well, to be short, a personal brand is who you are, and how others perceive you. Are you a risk-taker? A quiet executor? A strong leader? Are you eccentric? Eclectic? A personal brand is simply how the people around you see you, from friends to employers.
There’s a lot of value in being consistent in your personal brand. Maybe at work you’re a hard worker who always gets the job done, but your classmates know you as a slacker who doesn’t pull their weight in a group project. My advice to you is to try your hardest to keep your personal brand consistent. Being transparent and true to yourself in all aspects of life is probably one of the best things you can do for both your mental health and professional/personal development.
It’s tiring to go back and forth between different personas. If you’re like me, learning to be you 100% of the time will erase a lot of worry about jumping from one inauthentic version of you to the next so you can relax and just be you. For example, it is very consistently known that I absolutely love nachos. My friends, coworkers, and family all know that I love nachos, specifically from the Stacked Pickle… but that’s another story. The morale: consistency is key in developing your personal brand.
As DuKate was speaking, she had us all identify 3-5 characteristics of our personal brand. Then she had us write our own elevator speech! If you don’t know what an elevator speech is, it’s a short summary of who you are and where you want to go. You can use it anytime you meet someone new to help them identify who you are and what you’re like. You also have to be conscious of how you’re communicating nonverbally (shaky hands, nervous twitches, etc.), because that ties into your personal brand as well.
Now that you know what a personal brand is, how do you put it into practice and apply it to yourself? Well, I suggest a few things:
- First and foremost, try to figure out what your personal brand is. Answer the following questions: what are your goals? What role do you naturally gravitate towards in a team? Are you quiet or boisterous?
- Prepare your elevator speech! Where are you at in school? What are you studying? Do you have a job or internship? What do you do there? What’s your goal, and how do you want to accomplish it? What’s your personality like? If nothing else, this is going to help you with that first action item: what’s your personal brand? Knowing your elevator speech will not only help you make a good first impression, but can help you to know your personal brand better!
- More than anything, I want you to take away that you should be yourself, and be consistent. If you do that, your personal brand will fall right in line.