Excerpt from the Book —
How Are YOU™ Like Shampoo for College Graduates?
“It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic Gold Medalist
Alfred Nobel was a successful and wealthy Swedish man who lived in the late 1800’s. He was famous for having invented two things: dynamite and the detonator, the device that makes dynamite go off from far away. Thanks to these two inventions, Alfred Nobel had made millions, and he was living a wonderful millionaire’s life.
Alfred’s brother, Ludwig Nobel, who was also famous and wealthy, died in 1888. But the obituary that showed up the next day in the newspaper was switched, and it was Alfred’s obituary that got printed, not Ludwig’s. So, Alfred Nobel had the mind-boggling experience of opening up the morning paper … and reading his own life story.
Can you imagine how powerful that would be?
But Alfred must have cringed when he read the title of his obituary. It called him “The Merchant of Death” because of all the work that he had done with dynamite and detonators. In that single moment, Alfred Nobel realized that his personal brand would always be associated with death and destruction — unless he took control and did something about it.
So, he decided to change what his brand stood for. He made a plan to develop the Nobel Prizes to make a difference in important subjects that he really cared about. And when he died in 1895, Alfred Nobel left most of his millions to establish those prizes. He didn’t want his name, “Nobel,” to stand for destruction and death. Did he succeed? Well, just look at what the name Nobel stands for today — the world’s most prestigious prizes awarded for outstanding achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace.
You’ve heard of the Nobel Prizes, right? But you probably didn’t know the other work that Nobel had done in his life. That’s because Alfred Nobel was successful in changing his personal brand so that his name could stand for what he wanted it to stand for.
You can change what you stand for, too, by creating your own personal brand and using it to energize your job search. As author Carl Bard said, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Did You Know You Already Have a Personal Brand?
So, maybe you’re thinking, “Good story, Brenda, but what does that have to do with me? I’m just getting started in my career. How could I already have a personal brand?”
That’s a fair question — and here’s my answer: Even if you’ve never had a full-time job in a company, you already have a personal brand. (And you didn’t have to do anything as earth-shattering as invent dynamite to get it!)
It’s true. To have a personal brand, you don’t have to be an inventor or even sit down and give your personal brand any thought. Just by virtue of being you in a job interview or at school or wherever you are, you have a personal brand. The question is whether you have the personal brand you want. If not, you’re leaving too much of your job search and your future to chance.
Just like Alfred Nobel, you have the power to change your personal brand and create the one that you want. In other words, you have to make a decision about how you want to come across before, during, and after interviews in order to get the kind of work you really want. And there’s no better time to work on your personal brand than now as you think about your first job after college and as you get ready to launch yourself into the professional marketplace.
But what if you’re starting at the bottom of the totem pole with little or no experience, and you’re convinced it’s going to be hard as nails to find a job that keeps you happy and excited? Well, I’m here to tell you: With personal branding, you can do it. If you want the kind of job where you can’t wait to get up in the morning and get to work, personal branding is the answer.
Defining your college grad personal brand can be the missing link to helping you find the type of job you’ve been daydreaming about. Knowing who “YOU™” are — The Trademarked You — will give you a clear edge in your job search. In fact, once you carefully define the college grad personal brand you want to communicate in interviews, you’ll be able to look at your job search with new meaning and confidence. That’s how you make every moment of your job hunt count. And yes — even though it’s hard to believe — you may actually begin to find interviews fun.
Yep, personal branding can do all of that, but here’s the scoop: It really is up to you. If you want a great first job out of college that sets you up for success both short-term and long-term, you have to do something about it. If you don’t, I can guarantee you one thing: Nothing will happen.
Now, I can almost hear you saying, “But Brenda, I don’t have control over whether an interviewer likes me or not. If they decide not to hire me, what can I do?” Even though it may feel like your job search is at the mercy of potential employer “decision-makers” out there, a big part of your job search success is in your control. The key to that control is learning how to master your college grad personal brand. In How YOU™ are like Shampoo for College Graduates, we will focus on those fundamental parts of your job search that are in your control.
My Personal Branding System
So, let’s recap. Here’s the reality: You already have a personal brand. Every time you’ve gone on an interview or shown up at school or at a meeting, your personal brand was front and center, even though you didn’t know it. Now, it’s time to take control and learn how to manage it. That’s how you will have better success before, during, and after job interviews, and — ultimately —that’s how you’ll land a great position in a company where you want to work.
How YOU™ are like Shampoo for College Graduates is a do-it-yourself, no-nonsense guide to getting the job you want through successfully branding yourself. It’s simple, easy to read, and it works. I custom- designed the personal branding system in this book to help graduating students like you take the guesswork out of personal branding. This system will show you exactly how to figure out (1) what your personal brand is and (2) how to use it to get the job you want faster. In this book, I’m going to walk you through my proven step-by-step personal branding process — using exercises and worksheets — to help you define the most powerful college grad personal brand you can possibly have. This system is all about applying it in the real world.
Most importantly, your brand won’t just remain a nice idea in your head. I mean, think about it: It makes no sense to spend the time defining your brand just to leave it in a drawer while you continue on the same as always, right?
No, you need a roadmap to make sure you’re communicating the brand you want to potential employers. That’s how you find your dream job. That’s how you take the steering wheel at the beginning of your career and drive it where you want it to go.
As you read on, here’s what you’ll learn:
How to define your personal brand using the College Grad Personal Brand Positioning Statement format modeled off of the six core elements used by the most successful name brands in the world. It’s worked for Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, and it will work for YOU™, too.
How to communicate your personal brand through your College Grad Personal Brand Marketing Plan so that potential employers will see you as you want to be seen. This will help you master the five most important activities you do throughout your job search that will impact your personal brand — and your ability to get the job you want.
How to avoid damaging your college grad personal brand by learning from the mistakes that other grads like you have made during their job search. This is one of the most unique and fun parts of the system — our top 20 most damaging College Grad Personal Brand Busters®. Knowing these will help you bypass the most common traps that have prevented other college grads from getting the job they wanted. You’ll know what to watch out for before you even get there.
Lots of amazing interview success tips and secrets from dozens of college recruiters and human resources experts all over the world that I interviewed for this book. They’ve been in the trenches and have seen it all!
How to use the graphic called “The Proven Pathway to Getting YOU™ a Great Job” that is on page 16. It will guide you kind of like a map as we work through each step of the personal branding system together. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense to you yet. It will — I promise.
As you read these pages, I hope that you will experience that “ah- ha!” moment that comes from the power of thinking of yourself as a unique personal brand. I hope you’ll see how you can use personal branding to make real changes in your life that can lead to a terrific job with a sweet paycheck, great job satisfaction, and exciting career opportunities.
Input Equals Output
How YOU™ are like Shampoo for College Graduates is an interactive, action-oriented experience, but your personal brand won’t be handed to you on a silver platter. I can guarantee you one thing for sure: What you put in to defining and communicating your college grad personal brand is exactly what you’ll get out of it. As I said, it’s up to you! The more time and energy you give to this process, the faster you will get the job you want.
I know, I know … you’ve had it with homework. You’re near the end of your time at college, and you want to just put it all on autopilot. But trust me: You’ll be glad that you took your personal brand seriously and followed this process step-by-step. When you’re driving down the street in the new car you bought thanks to your great new job, you’ll be thanking me and patting yourself on the back for making it happen.
Get ready to feel pumped as you take charge of your job-seeker personal brand and become the Brand Manager of YOU™. Let’s get started on helping you to find a job right out of college that you’ll love.
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