Building a Personal Brand

ellenMy name is Ellen Fraser, and I am a junior English/PWR and Art History major with a minor in Spanish. This semester, I am taking the CUPID Studio class, and something that we focus on a lot in class is developing an online portfolio of our work using software called Digication.

In general, I am excited about putting my portfolio together because I have a lot of content to share and I expect it will be a nice place to showcase the variety of written work of which I am capable.

For anyone who is planning on completing a portfolio, I would suggest that you be smart with your rhetorical decisions – make sure the way that you organize your content makes sense. There should not be a newsletter that you made during your internship in your academic writing section. Also, be careful about what you name your sections. Are they short enough so that readers don’t get lost when they are trying to figure out what the section contains? Finally, it is important to showcase different pieces based upon who your audience is for the portfolio. If you are marketing yourself to a potential employer, make sure that you include content that specifically shows the skills that you have which make you the best candidate for the job.

Consider Personal Branding
In my opinion, the most challenging thing about putting together a portfolio is developing your personal brand. You have to think about who you are professionally, which is a very difficult question to answer as an undergraduate student. For example, I love bright pink and crazy patterns, but these would not be appropriate design choices for a personal brand. Certain colors have certain connotations, and I would never want any future employer to think I was an Elle Woods-type (even though she did end up succeeding as a top-notch lawyer in the end).

In terms of advice for facing this challenge, I would say to stay true to yourself, but tone it down or amp it up if you think that people are going to think you are either not serious or too serious. What do you want your personal brand color to communicate to your audience? Check out this video called “What Color is Your Brand?”

Also, be rhetorically smart when choosing images. Do not just decorate your portfolio with random patterns. For example, if you had a wonderful study abroad experience, and you include pieces of writing that you did while you were there in your portfolio, include photos as well. Visuals never fail at helping to paint a picture of a description for your audience.

I’m looking forward to putting together this portfolio not only for future employers to see, but also for myself in an effort to reflect on all that I have experienced and accomplished professionally during my four years at Elon. This portfolio will be a demonstration of both academic and professional writing and design that I hope will help prospective students want to join the PWR community. English/PWR is such a versatile major, and everyone seeking to join the professional world should know how to write and market themselves well. Learning how to put together this portfolio has taught me how to do this.

If you want more advice on developing you personal brand, check out this video by personal branding guru, William Arruda. “You have to know yourself to grow yourself!”

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