This post is the second in a series from author Francine Fabricant. Read the first article, “First-Year Students & Career Readiness: It Can All Start with Personal Branding.”

A developing personal brand can impact a student’s ability to learn about career fields and build skills for the future. In Creating Career Success (Fabricant, Miller, and Stark, 2014), we explore how the concept of personal branding is much like looking at the reputation you build in all of your activities, courses, and relationships—even those that seem far from your career interests.

To help students understand how their personal brand helps shape career opportunities, invite students to explore these areas of their life. This can help them consider how their reputation is helping—or hurting—their efforts to launch their careers (from Creating Career Success, pp. 221-222).
These questions can be explored in a variety of formats, such as a journaling exercise, an essay, or a small group activity. Students can also address these questions by creating a physical display of their developing personal brand using images clipped from magazines or other sources.
Relationships. Are you known as a helper? A leader? A trend-setter? Are you the one they turn to when they need to figure out the bill at the end of a group dinner? Do people want you around when they need a laugh? Do others look to you for information on certain topics, and, if so, which ones? Describe how your relationships impact your reputation.

Activities. What activities are you known for? Do you spend your time reading, writing, playing computer games, training for a sport, participating in social events, or other activities? Describe how your activities impact your reputation.

Lifestyle. What kind of lifestyle have you adopted? Are you studious, a partier, an organizer, or something else? When you think about your lifestyle, consider how you spend your time as well as how you would prefer to spend your time. Describe how your lifestyle choices impact your reputation.

Appearance. What is your style? What do you wear? How do you style your hair? Do you wear jewelry, piercings, or body art? Are you neat or messy? Do you describe your style as tailored and conservative, dramatic and flamboyant, or would you use other terms? Describe how your choices regarding your personal appearance impact your reputation.

Overall Brand. Do you feel your relationships, lifestyle, activities, and appearance reflect an accurate representation of the “real” you? Is this reflected in your reputation? How is this reflected in your resume, job search materials, and career interests?

How can a better understanding of personal branding help your students prepare for the future? Discuss the topic in the comments.

With an extraordinary passion for helping people make their careers work for them, Francine Fabricant, MA, EdM helps people rethink their career opportunities and build careers that are personally meaningful and rewarding. She is a frequent speaker on career topics, addressing real-world concerns and offering practical ideas and solutions.

For over ten years, Francine has provided career counseling for individuals and developed and delivered career programs for community organizations and university settings. She is the lead author of Creating Career Success: A Flexible Plan for the World of Work (Fabricant, Miller and Stark, 2014), a fully comprehensive career book and program. Francine was inspired to write the book to share the same powerful concepts and tools she uses in her courses and programs, along with some of the most current insights about success, technology, and today’s world of work.

Francine currently serves as a lecturer at Hofstra University Continuing Education and has worked at Columbia University’s Center for Career Education and the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Career Services. She is committed to helping those in transition, and has volunteered with such organizations as Women in Need, Dress for Success, and more. She received a BA cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University as well as an MA in Organizational Psychology and EdM in Psychological Counseling, both from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Board Certified Coach (BCC), a Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC), and has the designation of Master Career Counselor (MCC) from the National Career Development Association (NCDA). She has been featured in Counseling Today and her community-based workshops have been profiled by The New York Times.