Personal Branding

 By: Robbin Beauchamp

Personal Branding

When you think about your favorite company, what pops into your head?  What words come to mind when you hear “Amazon”?  “Fitbit”?  “Starbucks”? “Uber”?  What words do you associate with “Usher”?  “Kanye West”? “Eddie Redmayne”? “Emilia Clarke”?

Those words you automatically think are the brands that these companies and/or people have created.  It is not an accident that you think “Amazon – get me my stuff quick”.  Or “Uber – convenient” or “Kanye West – controversial”.  These are the stories that they want told.  What words do you want to describe you?  How do you build your personal brand?

What is Personal Branding?

“Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” (Source: Wikipedia).  You are defining the terms by which others view you from a digital and personal perspective. Your personal brand is the skills and causes you want people to remember you for, and how you wish to set yourself apart from your peers. 

Why do you want a personal brand?  You probably already have one and don’t realize it.  What were you known as in high school?  Class clown?  Jock?  Nerd? Mr./Ms. Popular? You get to own the direction of your future by controlling your own unique story while using authentic language.  A personal brand will help you identify how you can solve employers “problems” and will easily connect with mentors/desired employers while identifying the work you want to be doing.

How do you identify your personal brand?  Create a vision for what your future looks like by answering these questions:

• Who are you?
• How did you get here?
• What are you naturally good at?
• What do you enjoy doing?
• What makes you passionate about what you do?
• What do you want to be known for?

Once you have jotted down some answers (and they can be short and quick), start thinking about a “headline” for yourself.  Review profiles on LinkedIn to give yourself some ideas.  Here are some examples:

• Hack-a-thon Enthusiast and Aspiring Mechanical Engineer
• Computer Scientist focused on making the world a more connected place
• Photographer • Model Maker Emerging Product Designer
• Collaborator | Innovator | Strategist | Educator | Mentor
• Talent Acquisition | Recruitment Advertising | Career Advising
• Leadership and development specialist with an affinity for issues of diversity
• Collaborative Organization Leader

Notice that these are not job titles, but adjectives that describe who they are or what they can do for an organization.

Once you have decided what your personal brand may be, how do you market it?  Go to networking events or participate in workshops or webinars. Start participating in blogs by commenting on them (in a positive way, of course) or write your own. Use the language you define yourself with on your social media platforms:

• Facebook
• Twitter
• LinkedIn
• Instagram
• Snapchat
• YouTube

Be mindful of what you write.  If you are critical or disagree with someone, do it respectfully and use well-vetted research to prove your point.  Don’t just forward memes or other’s messages.  Be original and thoughtful.  Understand that nothing on the internet is private, even if you’ve set your settings that way.  Employers can be savvy and have resources to uncover your profiles and some may do this before even giving you a call.

Your personal brand will change as you grow in your profession.  You will gain skills and experiences that you will want to incorporate into your brand. Keep in mind what you want to be known for and think about who you admire and why.  What is the brand of people you follow?  What do you admire about them?  Are their pieces of their brand that you would like to incorporate now or in the future into your own brand?

Your personal brand makes it easier for employers to understand why they want to hire you and for people to want to follow you. Be authentic.  Know who you are and what you stand for to ensure you will have a fit into the organization who does recruit you.  Consider reading any of Brené Brown’s books or short YouTube videos featuring her talks. She writes about authenticity and vulnerability.  Once you understand who you are and what you what you want to be known for, your personal brand will be established.

The Fall 2017 CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Chawney Weis & Abbey Pober

Our second annual Fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, October 3rd from 2:30pm – 6:00pm in both Watson Auditorium and Tansey Gymnasium. This was the first time we held this event in two locations, with 214 employers in attendance. These employers ranged from small local construction firms to international high-tech organizations and everything in between. The buzz about campus surrounding the employers attending drew more than 850 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time positions, to The Fair.

If you are a student who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair last week your next steps should be to follow up with employers by:

-Sending a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. If you need a reminder of which companies with whom you spoke The Fairs App is still available for reference.
-If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
-Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
-Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected with social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!

If you were unable to attend the Fair this fall don’t miss the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th, 2018. Check The Fairs App as we get closer to the Spring Fair for updates on employers attending.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities, including Mock Interview Day on November 7th, and our spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair on March 20th.

Thank you to all students and employers who joined on October 3rd for The Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: Bowdin Construction, Dacon, Bond Brothers, dck Worldwide, Electric Supply Center, Teradyne, Novo Construction, PROCON, Timberline Construction Company, and the Wentworth Alumni Association. Your support makes all the difference.
We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring.

How to WORK the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Caitlin Brison

An approach for everyone, whether you are low-key or EXTRA!

Low Key EXTRA
RESEARCH
  • Find the list of employers attending on the “Fairs App” and research the ones that interest you.
  • Look to see if they have positions posted so you can find out more.
  • Create a spreadsheet, categorizing employers into A, B, and C lists.
  • Write down a few questions you might ask them at the fair. Refer to them before each conversation.
RESUME
  • Write, review, and edit your resume.
  • Come to Drop-Ins to make sure it is ready for the Career Fair.•  Print out 10-20 copies and tuck them in a folder to hand out.
  • Make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor to go over your Resume.
  • Print 10-20 copies and carry them in a professional padfolio.• Make your own business cards.
PLAN
  • The plan is to go, shake some hands, meet some employers, ask good questions, and hand out some resumes.  Go with it!
  • Locate the employer booths on the Fairs App ahead of time and map out your route.
  • Maybe talk to a couple employers on your C list to start before moving on to your first choices!
DRESS
  • Gather your professional attire.
  • Visit WITwear to borrow any items you may still need!
  • Iron, steam, fresh haircut!  Look your best.
  • Also…visit WITwear to borrow any items you need!
PITCH
  • Build a 30 second pitch and practice it in the mirror so you come across relaxed and professional.
  • Practice a firm handshake.
  • Record yourself and watch it back.  Be mindful of eye contact, fidgets, and filler (“um, like”).
  • Pitch with a friend and practice your handshakes!
THANK YOU
  • Shake their hand and thank them for their time answering your questions and speaking to you.
  • Collect business cards so you can write thank you notes the next day.
  • If they requested your application electronically – pass it along or let them know you applied!

 

Check out ALL our helpful guides on resumes, networking, pitches, and more on our website:https://wit.edu/coopsandcareers/cooperative-education/co-op-resources

Drop-In Schedule: M, W, Th from 1:30-4:30pm
Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor by calling the front desk at 617 989 4101.

WITwear Hours: Mon – Thurs 10am – 8pm, Fri 10am – 5pm
All Day Resume Drop-Ins:  Wed 9/27 & Thur 9/28 12pm – 5pm

 

TFW you nail the Career Fair

Wentworth’s Partnership with ASPIRE

By: Chris McIntyre

Wentworth students have plenty of support when searching for their two required co-ops. Dedicated advisors are there to assist every step of the way through resume reviews, job searching, interviewing, and everything in between. But even with this support, securing a co-op is challenging. This is especially the case for students who have a great deal of stress, anxiety, or other factors that can impact their search.

Recently, CO-OPS + CAREERS began a partnership with MGH Aspire. Dubbed Aspire @ Wentworth, the joint venture between MGH Aspire and CO-OPS + CAREERS aims to give some students extra support through the co-op process.

Through over 25 years of serving the community, Aspire has cultivated relationships with some of the biggest and best names in Boston. This, combined with the in-depth knowledge of the advisors from CO-OPS + CAREERS, prepares Wentworth students for co-op and life after graduation.

What is Aspire @ Wentworth?

A student’s co-op is about more than getting the offer. It’s also about growing as a person and a professional. Aspire aims to develop the skills necessary for navigation of the workplace and social communication in a professional context. Aspire @ Wentworth creates a way for students to develop social skills and manage stress through the process.
Aspire provides a structured program that combines the usual support from their CO-OP + CAREER Advisor with coaching with in-depth reflective seminars. This means the students’ advisor will be available to help with things like resume writing and using WITworks.
But students also work closely with an Aspire job coach both before and during the co-op. The Aspire coach will meet with the student at the beginning of the program, getting to know the student and their strengths, needs, and goals. Sometimes the coach will even accompany the student to their interview to ensure the student is at ease and communication is clear.
Once the student is on co-op, an integral piece of Aspire @ Wentworth is the weekly seminars led by Aspire on Wentworth’s campus. Students use the meetings to discuss what happened that week at work with peers also enrolled in Aspire. Other topics covered include:

• Socializing on co-op/at work
• Organizational skills
• Time management
• Networking
• Managing anxiety and unexpected changes
• Prioritization

These seminars are crucial in developing lifelong skills to succeed in life as well as an outlet for students to meet and discuss shared experiences with peers. The common thread Aspire @ Wentworth focuses on is the 3Ss: Social Competency, Self-Awareness, and Stress Management.

Aspire @ Wentworth Goals

1. To help co-op students learn the social aspects needed to succeed in the workplace
2. To assist co-op students in identifying and managing their challenges while recognizing and developing their strengths
3. To empower co-op students to enhance their skill set and build their confidence to be independent in the workplace

Career readiness is a hallmark of Wentworth, and the Aspire program is another way CO-OPS + CAREERS prepares students for life after Wentworth.
For more information on Aspire @ Wentworth, contact coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

Choosing An Employer

By: Jason Gregoricus

A corporate employer or start up? Which is the right fit?

Larger corporations typically offer stability, regular hours, better pay, clearly defined roles and well-established support. Start-ups, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible about work hours, often require their employees to wear multiple hats and usually demand more creativity as a result.

Which one fits best for you is an important question. Let’s look at each in kind.

Large Corporations: They’re large because they’ve figured out what works in the marketplace and have grown because of it. So, when a company grows it usually compartmentalizes the work of various departments with clearly defined roles within them. Therefore, when you’re hired, you’ll know what is expected of you and how to grow within the company. (Relatedly, there are usually robus benefit packages – health, retirement, etc. – as well.)

Additionally, larger corporations usually prefer to hire from within – it’s convenient and less expensive than taking the administrative time to recruit/interview/hire. In the end, it’s all about relationships. People hire other people they know and like. Therefore, if you work for a company and would like to try something new, the chances of advancement and change are greater.

However, there are downsides. First, large corporations are usually not nimble. Change moves slowly – if at all – and when it does happen the process can be maddeningly slow. In larger organizations there are usually many stakeholders for every decision and idea. Therefore, the time it takes to implement those changes/ideas is exponentially proportional to the number of people it will affect. So, if you’re an impatient person, then the corporate atmosphere may not be right.
Start Ups: Conversely, working for a start up does have its perks.

First, start-ups are typically very exciting places to work. They often have a dynamic workforce and a swashbuckling energy that makes every day go by quickly. As a result you may find yourself taking on several different (read “seemingly unrelated”) aspects of the business. It is not uncommon with a small start up for a recent hire to handle shipping, sales and market research all in one week. The benefit of such a situation is that it allows a person to explore what they’re good at, and what they enjoy less.

Concurrently, in a small organization it is much easier to shine as all your contributions are obvious to everyone. Therefore, a start up could help you gain confidence, self-knowledge and a strong reputation. Conversely, however, the challenges at a small start up can be numerous.

First, the benefits may not be all that great. Start ups may allow you flexible hours – but incredibly long ones as well. Also, with some exceptions, they are operating with razor thin margins. Therefore retirement packages, vacation times, health insurance options all may be less than ideal – or not on offer at all. This can be compounded by the fact that many start up don’t have anyone working in human resources. So your options for support become even that much more limited.

Second, if you make a big mistake at a company it can have huge repercussions. Everyone knowing you did great is, well, great – but the other side of the coin is the public recognition of mistakes. It never feels good when the majority of your coworkers all know when you’ve made one.

So, in the end, where you choose to work will be decided by where you feel the most comfortable. But keep this in mind! Everything is fixable. Everyone who has worked long enough in the world has a story about a bad job or workplace situation. Just because you don’t fit in, or a job is not what you wanted or thought going in, there will always be another chance on the horizon.

So keep your head up and soldier on! Big or small, comfortable or nimble. Over time you will learn what works for you and that will be the right thing

Networking: Keeping a cool head when you think you might just sweat through your shirt.

By: Jer Jurma

Even the idea of networking can be intimidating to students as they begin their co-op or job searches. In fact, speaking the word networking can bring on a cold sweat to the introvert in us all, but it is important to realize that as human beings, we network every day through sharing information about ourselves and asking questions about others.

Extroverted or introverted, networking is vital in finding a Co-op or job, and realistically, it is a vital part of life as a professional. The next five points are important to keep in mind when approaching the act of networking. You can adjust them to fit your own personality as you see fit:

1. Keep it real. Engage people with genuine interest, ask questions, and listen intently.

2. Find commonalities and actively think about how your goals and the values of the individual and his or her company/firm align.

3. If you are nervous about networking, think of it as a professional exercise assigned to you as a student. Be confident in the fact that you are a representative of Wentworth, and by promoting your school and academic program, you in turn will be promoting yourself in a way that is team oriented.

4. Show enthusiasm and the desire to engage. A willingness to contribute to the causes and advancement of an organization can be established before a formal interview. The following statement (or one like it) is a good example of how to engage in networking:

“The work you do interests me, and is something I would like to pursue. I would really like to know about your career path, and how you got to where you are.”

5. Share your contact information and ask how best to reach out to continue your conversation in the future.

Get out there and see how it goes. Remember, networking takes practice…a lot of practice. You will learn from the interactions you have with people how best to adjust your approach.

 

Cover Letters: Why and How.

By: Caitlin Brison

Cover letters…does anyone actually read these? Why, yes! Many do! While we cannot predict which hiring managers read cover letters and which do not, we do know for certain that those that read them really care! Hiring managers like a competitive application and most of them will read your cover letter after browsing your resume. So…when in doubt, write a cover letter.

Plain and simple, cover letters get interviews. They tell the reader, “Hey! I think it’s a superb idea that you call me in for an interview because I have read the job description, researched your company, and thought about how my education, experience, strengths and skills could contribute to all the super cool things you are doing.” Who wouldn’t want to talk more to that candidate? It shows you care – and they care that you care. Make sense?

If you’re still unsure, read through these top 10 tips and maybe it’ll make more sense:

1. Don’t restate your resume. They already read that.
2. You’re not bragging, you’re stating the facts. You’re a student at Wentworth, you must be really good at a few things. What are they? And you’re probably curious to learn more about other things, so talk about that, too.
3. Tell a story! Have you always dreamed of working here? Have you worked really hard to get to where you are? Do you spend your free time doing similar things? Stories draw readers in and build connections.
4. Highlight your strengths! (Extra points for using the job description to see what they’re looking for) Did your group projects or summer jobs teach you something about collaboration, communication, and organization? Perfect! Tell me more.
5. Be honest, but don’t apologize for a lack of experience. We all start somewhere and it’s ok to not have every skill they want. No need to inflate or deflate! Speak truthfully about your strengths and how you plan to develop more.
6. Be professional, not necessarily formal. This is certainly an opportunity to showcase your ability to write professionally and maturely, but show some personality! Avoid sterile and stuffy language.
7. Show….and sometimes tell! Instead of writing, “I am a good problem solver,” you can write, “I prefer to approach obstacles with a positive attitude as I have found that persistence and creative thinking usually prevail. My professors have commended me for my curiosity and dedication to acquiring and applying new knowledge when confronted with a problem to be solved.”
8. Make it targeted, not generic! Hiring managers can smell this a mile away. And they don’t like it. Use the job description to write the letter. No need to start from scratch each time, but always tailor it to the job description.
9. Format. There is a set framework for cover letters. It’s best to follow it. Be creative with the content, not format.
10. Edit! Read and re-read before you submit. Your advisor can read it! A friend can, too!

A well-crafted cover letter is your golden ticket to an interview. Write and submit them as often as you can! The more you write, the more interviews you get.

Find more tips here: https://wit.edu/coopsandcareers/cooperative-education/co-op-resources

Schedule an appointment with your advisor to review your resume and cover letters by stopping by the front desk or calling 617 989 4101.