By ALYSSA HOLCOMB
‘Tis the season to be applying… As the current MSLCE cohort inches closer and closer to summer internship season, the EPICS team has been hosting a series of events geared towards preparing students for interviews and beyond. A recent session, led by Associate Director of EPICS Jonah Zeiger, covered personal branding. More specifically, it covered branding on the LinkedIn platform and how to maximize its potential and utilize it for both professional and personal growth.
In Jonah’s presentation, the main thought he asked us to ponder was the “Why?” – “Why does the work you do define you?” “Why is that important?” Through a series of partner exercises as well as groupthink activities, the cohort reflected on their personal experiences as well as how those experiences are reflected in their online portfolios. Going more in depth, the session also challenged students to explain why those experiences are important to their personal brand by selecting key terms and phrases to describe what is most important overall.
A main point of the session was to convey the value of personal branding. That value is what underlies the mission of your work; it drives what you do down to every little written, visual, and sonic component that makes up your professional portfolio. The cohort tested this theory by researching each other’s LinkedIn profiles and Googling one another to see what comes up first. For many, the Google search was an interesting experience, to say the least, but the LinkedIn component was a refreshing way of seeing how others regarded our online personas and what we could do to further our messaging in the direction we desired.
I personally found this session valuable because as one of many who is in the midst of applying to summer internships and researching what companies would best suit me, it is helpful to be able to reflect on what I find most important personally and reflect on how that can be presented professionally. I look forward to seeing how my classmates and I grow from this session and into our summer sessions wherever they may lead us.