Helping Students Develop Their Personal Brands
This week in EDUC5131 we examined the concept of personal branding. According to Stanton & Stanton (2013), the most important brand a student can have is of his or herself. But how can we educate students on how to formulate an effective personal brand?
According to Proulx (2016), new graduates will not only need a cover letter and resume when applying for jobs, but additionally will be vetted by potential employers on their online reputation. The issue with this is that although students are often referred to as digital natives, more often than not they just have the skills to use and understand social media (Wetsh, 2012). The goal and challenge is to help students become intelligent and purposeful in their use of social media.
According to Proulx (2016), recruiters will look to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in particular to gain insight on potential clients. With this emphasis on positive online presence, it is essential that students learn the skills needed to effectively monitor images, posts and tone in order to formulate a positive online presence.
According to Proulx (2016), in order to formulate a positive online presence, students must be aware of the workings of and restrictions of each social media site. For example, anything posted on Twitter is public and as a result can be subjected to misrepresentation. Furthermore, Proulx (2016) found that excessive use of social media sites such as Twitter can also have negative implications for potential job seekers as they can appear to be wasting their time on recreational activities in lieu of more “productive" pursuits.
As educators, we need to provide opportunities for students to build their personal brands and help them become conscious creators and users of social media.
Here are some ideas for aiding students in developing their personal brands:
- Students can create an e-portfolio as a showcase for their work. You can see my blog article on getting started with e-portfolios here.
- Students can develop their own Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook profiles to share and connect with others regarding classroom topics such as social justice issues.
- Students can develop their own YouTube channels to share their classwork with the world.
One of the primary concerns with utilizing social media in the classroom is privacy. Wetsch (2012). In order to alleviate this concern in a classroom setting, students should be provided with an opportunity to secure their online profiles as well as take necessary precautions to protect their online information. Some of the ways I have done this in the classroom are by having students post their first name and last initial only, as well as avoiding posting personal details on their online profiles, such as school name and date of birth.
As Wetsch (2012) indicates, students are going to be navigating and sharing in online spaces with our without our guidance. As a result, it is of the utmost importance that we help students develop the skills and awareness to maintain a positive online presence.
This Ted Talk provides useful advice to individuals on setting up an online personal brand:
Proulx, L. S. (2016). Best Practices in Online Reputation Management for New Graduates. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 32(2). Retrieved from Questia.
Stanton, A. D., & Stanton, W. W. (2013). Building "Brand Me": Creating a personal brand statement. Marketing Education Review, 23(1), 81-86.
Wetsch, L. R. (2012). A Personal Branding Assignment Using Social Media. Journal of Advertising Education, 16(1), 30. Retrieved from Questia.