Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to an entire group at The University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth). The class had little to no knowledge about personal branding, social media or how to manage their careers. I was actually very surprised when I asked them to raise their hands if they were on Facebook or LinkedIn. About 70% were on Facebook and almost none of them had heard of LinkedIn. I made an effort to explain the importance of their participation on both networks and how to leverage them for career success. I mentioned other popular tools, but since this was so new to them, I really wanted to concentrate my efforts on the main ones. My presentation was divided into a few sections, with the objective of giving them an overview of the topic and then diving into key subtopics that they need to focus on as they apply for jobs.
The first point I made was that in February there were 63,000 job cuts, which was an increase over January and the most in the past 4.5 years. Next, I made the point that students don’t learn how to get a job during school. They learn about philosophy, psychology, math, science and history, but there is a huge gap for personal branding. As with all of my presentations, I have a slide dedicated to the origins of personal branding, where I talk about Tom Peters’ famous article and then hammer in that “starting today you are a brand!”
Since it was a sports marketing class, I brought up a picture of Tiger Woods and asked them to describe him and the first word that came to mind was a corporate brand (Nike). Then I explained how your brand is “self-impression = perception.” The goal being to match what you think of yourself to what others think of you.
Other topics I spoke about were “your brand is searchable,” a definition and a breakdown of personal branding into 3 elements (value proposition, differentiation & marketability). We got into eBranding, blogs, social networks, reputation management and seven success stories from young individuals who I have encountered on the web. Overall, I felt like I opened their eyes and at a minimum, made them think twice about their resume and their approach to the job hunt.
Here is a 10 minute clip (out of an hour or so):
My entire presentation: