Tips for creating your own professional brand

by publicationarchive

By Andrea Mora, Senior Staff Writer

Graduation is just weeks away for many San Diego State students. This momentous accomplishment may have many students feeling relieved and excited, but the uncertainty of what happens after graduation may leave others feeling anxious or worried because they do not know if or where they will be working.

With the nation’s high unemployment rate, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, a company that helps people create their own professional brand, having a polished résumé and dressing well for an interview is only the beginning.

PwC designed a series of tips and worksheets called Personal Brand Week. The following are tips from its website,, and help students build their “personal brand.”

The “elevator speech”

In most situations, including interviews, one only has a brief amount of time to introduce themselves. The elevator pitch is a 30-second introduction that effectively communicates one’s accomplishments, goals and passions. Before developing an elevator pitch, people need to think about who they are and what they really want.

According to PwC, job seekers should practice introducing themselves to become more confident and comfortable in an interview setting. Pay attention to body language, such as posture, eye contact, volume, tone, facial expressions, clothing and the handshake. For those who are unsure of what their strengths or weaknesses are, ask for a professor’s opinion.

Show passion
Employers look for passion in their prospects because it shows commitment and enthusiasm. Passions do not need to be career-oriented and can include volunteering, cooking, painting or playing a sport. To meet and network with others who share similar passions, join a fan group online, such as ones through Facebook, Yahoo! or Google.

For those who aren’t sure what their passions are, think about activities or causes that motivate interest. According to PwC, one may find a passion unexpectedly by exploring new projects, games, hobbies, trips or events. Spending time with others who are passionate is also a good way to learn about different pastimes and network.

Know how to network
Job seekers does not need to know the CEO of their dream job to access a good network. Start networking with relatives, friends, neighbors or professors. Existing relationships can lead to potential employers and others who can help one’s career grow.

According to PwC, people cannot wait until they need a network to begin building one. A genuine network is made of friendships and is not something one can scramble to establish overnight. Expanding a network can be as easy as volunteering or attending a company’s conference or meeting.

Students should utilize and take advantage of all resources available, including their school’s career center, which regularly holds interviewing and résumé workshops and recruiting events. Stay in touch with professionals and new acquaintances through e-mail and always thank them for any help or advice they may have offered.

Create an online brand

The amount of time invested in crafting an impressive résumé should equal the amount of time and effort used in creating a professional online identity. It is becoming more common for employers to Google applicant’s names, and those seeking jobs should ensure their online activity matches the image they want to portray.

According to PwC, a crucial part of creating a professional brand is avidly using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, the largest professional social network. LinkedIn users can upload their résumé and connect with other industry professionals, alumni, groups and professors.
Adding an e-mail signature is another way to gain exposure. Add the URL from a LinkedIn profile or blog and always use proper spelling and grammar when writing e-mails, even if they are being sent via iPhone or BlackBerry.

Be open-minded

For those actively seeking jobs, being proactive on a daily basis is an important step. Try something new as often as possible, such as attending networking events, taking an extra class or learning a new skill.

Be curious and open to experiencing new things because unexpected opportunities may arise. According to PwC, successful people are flexible and comfortable with change. Do not be afraid of trying something new because of fear of failure.

Practice making these steps into long-term habits and look for innovative ways to move forward. Building a personal brand is a continuous work in progress that spans across many mediums, because the business world is constantly changing and growing.

For the full list of tips and worksheets, one can download the Personal Brand Week ebook online at: or add PwC on Facebook, which can be found online at