Reader Request: Your Personal Brand

Happy Wednesday, everyone! After sharing a small glimpse into my career in this post a few weeks ago, I received a request from the most caring mom of 4 boys that I've enjoyed getting to know over the past few months through our weekly emails. One of her sons will be graduating from college in May so she asked if I could provide insight into what recruiters and organizations are looking for in recent graduates? In addition, what could her son do right now to set himself apart from everyone else?

Knowing that my passion is university recruiting, I was thrilled to share my thoughts with her and each of you as well. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would be happy to help in any way!

ONE. Develop your personal brand
Developing your personal brand is vital to your success. In today's marketplace, it's tough to stand out. I can promise you that good grades and lots of extracurricular activities won't guarantee that you'll land the job that you have been dreaming about for the past 5 years.

Many people ask me, what is your personal brand? It is your reputation. It's about sharing who you are to what you do and how you do it. It's what you're known for and how people experience you. When you are interviewing think of these four questions and try to share your answers throughout the entire interview process -

  • What are your unique strengths, skills and attributes?
  • What will make you stand out in the eyes of potential employers (among the sea of interested candidates)?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • How do you choose the career that's right for you?

TWO: Your first impression
We all know how important your first impression can be in a variety of circumstances but it is extremely important during the interview process. I recently read an article on LinkedIn that stated, "33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone." WOW.

THREE: Be prepared
As a Recruiter, I can say with confidence that the biggest and most common mistake made during interviews is not being prepared. You have to conduct research on the company, understand the role that you are interviewing for in great detail and be able to review and explain the qualifications that you have for the particular role.

I recommend thoroughly researching the company, which means more than just the company website. Some of my favorite tools for this type of research are LinkedIn's Company Profiles and Glassdoor. Then, put your search engine to work to try to find information about the following areas -

  • What is their company's reputation?
  • Who are their competitors? 
  • How is the organization doing financially?
  • What are their leading products, solutions or services?
  • How does the company present themselves online or in their social media outlets?

Having all this knowledge will set you apart from the pack and allow you to ask meaningful questions that will lead you to the right company.

FOUR: Be cautious of time
A study was conducted by a group of Career Development teams across the country, they found that the average length of an interview is approximately 40 minutes. During the interview, you have to ensure that you highlight ALL that you have to offer. For students that includes -

  • Coursework {and projects within the courses}
  • Professional Experience {part-time, summer, internship, or volunteer experience}
  • Technical Skill Sets {technical in regards to your particular concentration/major}
  • Leadership 
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Hobbies and Passions
  • Unique Attributes 

FIVE. Be able to speak to your resume
Your resume is a critical piece to your personal brand. Take time to make sure it is p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Every company, recruiter, and hiring manager receives hundreds upon hundreds of resumes for each role so make sure it is easy to follow, it encompasses every detail of who you are, and that every detail/bullet point adds value.

Once you have been selected to interview, you should be prepared to briefly explain your experience in approximately 1-2 minutes. Consider these few minutes, your personal elevator pitch. After your elevator pitch, you want the person interviewing you to already know that you are a rock star! Because if you aren't then I promise, I will find someone that is.

As the interview continues to progress, you will want to feel comfortable expanding on any {and all} details that have been listed on your resume.

SIX: Don't always focus on you
I know that we have all heard it a million times over the years but it is the truth...
When you interview, I highly recommend that you take time to learn about the interviewer. You will be surprised at the amount of information that you can take away about the team dynamic, company culture, work environment, etc. when you ask just a few questions about the person sitting across from you.

SEVEN: Interest, Enthusiasm and Passion
There are two quotes that always stand out to me when I think about showcasing your interest, enthusiasm and passion during the interview and throughout your entire career. I challenge students that I meet every day on-campus or at our recruiting events to find a job that makes you excited to get up every morning! You are going to spend a large portion of your life working so make it count.
EIGHT: Ask for the job
Many applicants think that submitting an application, writing a cover letter, and showing up for the interview is known as "asking for the job." WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. You have to reiterate your interest in the job as often as you can during the interview process because it is the only way that we know that you are truly interested.

At the end of the interview state that "I feel confident that my experience, skill sets and passion would be a good fit for the job and I would be like to learn more about the next steps in the interview process." Bam! You asked for the job.

But it doesn't stop there. Make sure you collect contact information from each person that you spoke with so you can follow-up within 24 hours with a personalized thank you note. Don't hesitate to ask who is the best person to stay in touch with during the post-interview process so you can continue to express your interest in the role once you leave the interview.

Happy Friday, Friends: I am BACK!!

I AM BACK and couldn't be more excited!! It has {almost} been 4 weeks since my last blog post and I have missed this special space so much over the past 28 days. Life has been busy and I had to put a few things on-hold in order to manage everything else that was taking place around me. But I promise {promise, promise} that I won't take that long of a break again. I look forward to catching up with each of you and can't wait to see what has been going on in your world!
I am going to kick-off my return with a recap of The Chalk Family Summer Bucket List. This summer was full of adventure and memories with those that mean the most to us. After looking back at everything we did from June - August, I can only imagine what our little family will be up to between October - November!

ONE: Spa Day at The Umstead Hotel & Spa 
Status: Not Complete -  I am mad at myself for not carving out a few hours to enjoy a day at the Umstead Spa. I'll have to make this happens in the Spring so I can enjoy the view from their pool. 

TWO: Weekend Getaway to The Greenbrier Resort
Status: Complete - This weekend was one that we will never forget. Having the entire Chalk Family together was so much fun {not to mention that the Resort is fabulous}. Read all about our visit here.

THREE: Attend the Food Truck Rodeo in downtown Raleigh 
Status: Complete -  We kicked-off the summer with the Food Truck Rodeo and it was a blast. You can see all that we were able to enjoy here.

FOUR: Enjoy cocktail hour on our deck more often than last summer
Status: Complete - Even some of the evenings that were humid and sticky, we sat on our porch to sip and catch up on the day, it was perfect. 

FIVE: Visit the Summer Farmer's Market in downtown Apex
Status: Not Complete - I may not have made it to the Summer Farmer's Market in Apex but I did make it to Raleigh's Farmer's Market multiple times. I could walk around there for hours, it is the perfect Sunday afternoon activity. 

SIX: Spend the afternoon fishing with TC
Status: Not Complete - Well darn, maybe we can squeeze this in before the winter temperatures make their way to NC. TC loves an afternoon by the pond, sitting on the truck bed, listening to music and seeing what he can catch. 

SEVEN: Plant a garden & enjoy fresh vegetables all summer
Status: Complete - Oh my goodness, yes! We enjoyed endless cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and zucchini from our garden this summer. I am pretty sure that you could probably still find a few veggies still trying to grow out there. 

EIGHT: Attend a few outdoor summer concerts
Status: Not Complete - The summer flew by and we could never make it to one of the {many} outdoor concerts BUT we did buy tickets this summer for the American Roots Music and Arts Festival in Raleigh. So that half way counts, right?

NINE: Spend the evening shagging to our wedding band, Band of Oz, at a local venue
Status: Not Complete - Darn it, I really wanted to see our wedding band again. 
Perhaps we will add this to our Fall Bucket List.

TEN: Go on a picnic in the park with TC and the pups
Status: Not Complete - I wish we made this happen but I am confident that Tenley and Bo spent plenty of time outside, eating sticks, swimming in the pond, etc. All the things that they would have enjoyed at the park!

ELEVEN: Soak up the sun by spending the afternoons on Lake Jordan
Status: Complete - Our lake adventures were always a blast, I am already dreaming about being back on the lake even if it is in the Spring and we are bundled up. 

TWELVE: Celebrate our 1 year anniversary on September 20th!!
How are we already celebrating our 1 year Anniversary?! 
Status: Complete - I have no idea how it has already been a year since that very special day but I am thankful for each hour, day and week that I have been able to spend as TC's wife. Our anniversary weekend was spent in the North Carolina mountains, I'll be recapping it this weekend!
{I loved slipping back into my Rehearsal Dinner dress and Wedding Day shoes for our Anniversary Dinner, it took me back to that amazing weekend.}

THIRTEEN: Enjoy cookouts with our friends & family
Status: Complete - I may have gained a few pounds thanks to the multiple cookouts that we had with our family and friends but it was well worth it. The cookouts will continue into the Fall and I am not complaining one bit.
{One of my favorite corn salads to make for our cookouts.}

FOURTEEN: Go on a road trip {or a day trip} with TC
Status: Not Complete - This will be another activity that we will attempt to tackle in the Fall. Windows down, the dog's ears flapping in the wind, and good music playing...let's go!

FIFTEEN: Find a few good books to enjoy while sitting by the pool
Status: Complete - I read "The First Phone Call From Heaven" by Mitch Albom, I have read every book by Mitch and I haven't found one that doesn't bring me to tears. This was no exception.

SIXTEEN: Visit 2-3 local breweries in the area 
Status: Not complete - You will definitely see this re-appear on our Fall Bucket List.

SEVENTEEN: Train for the Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon 
Status: Complete - Oh, hey Danielle! I can't wait to cross the finish line with you.

EIGHTEEN: Visit Washington, DC for a weekend
Status: Complete - We were on the move this summer and I loved every second of it. DC, we will be back because our visit was way to short. 

NINETEEN: Host a 4th of July party, read more about my plans for our celebration here.
Status: Complete - As I have said many times, I love having an excuse to plan and host a party. This was a great day filled with friends and a lot of red, white and blue. After re-reading my post, I wish we could celebrate all over again!