You may know it is smart to reach out to employer and networking contacts to ask questions or complement them about their organization and/or ask for advice. It is a great way to not only learn more about a company and career field you are interested in but can also lead to possible opportunities.
Once you get started with the outreach and conversation, it isn’t too hard to ask others questions about their experience. But you also need to say something about yourself – both when you introduce yourself to someone new and when you continue the conversation. This will be easier and most effective for you if you take some time, before you reach out, to figure out what your story is at this point in your life.
Everyone has a story but the trick is to actually know what yours is, determine how it is unique and be able to communicate it clearly and confidently. This is not an easy task, but if you have a brief, honest and effective story, you will make so many parts of your internship or job search easier. Your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, communications (online and in person) with your contacts will be able to have a theme and brand and you will be remembered. You will make an impression. It is also easier to move forward when you have a clearer idea of what you have been and where you are going.
What is a story? A personal brand story is: a short pitch (1‐3 sentences) that
- communicates your value (what you are the best at)
- your audience (who you serve)
- and your promise (how you perform your value uniquely)
This definition comes from a workbook used at a personal branding conference session and it has many useful exercises and examples to help you get at your personal brand story.
What does this mean for a college student? To get to where you are, you already have an interesting and unique story. If you don’t know how to articulate it yet, reflect on what you are proud of, who you want to be around, and what problems you want to solve. Examples of a story for a college student could be:
I spent my time at Bucknell connecting people who needed information with those who provided it and was successful at creating online vehicles that increased our communication on campus and in the community. I want to continue to use my communication, technology and research skills to add to the important work that is being done in consumer protection media.
A driving force in my life is seeking solutions to complex problems, In my engineering classes and with the projects I took on in my undergraduate research and as an intern, I showed creativity, determination and a commitment to effective collaboration across disciplines. I am most interested in assisting with emerging sustainability solutions for construction companies in rural areas.
If you want help shaping your story, reach out to the Center for Career Advancement to talk with a Career Coach about your unique situation. Request an appointment.