Personal Branding Week: Branding for Introverts

Sarah Paterson – ENG-PWR ’15

Hey everyone! Welcome to Personal Branding week on the CUPID blog.

This morning I want to share with you a great article I read about branding by Dorie Clark at the Harvard Business Review, since it touches on something I think many of us feel when we go about advertising ourselves.

Clark’s article, Personal Branding for Introverts, offers some great strategies for networking and branding for those of us who may be made uncomfortable or exhausted by social situations. For me, the design work and the physical spreading of my personal brand is easy – I can make a logo, I can put it on my resume or portfolio or whatever else – but I sometimes struggle to go up to new people and put myself out there. I’m going to give a short college Sparknote version of Clark’s article (which is more geared to adult professionals), with suggestions for how you can put her strategies to use on campus.

Take advantage of social media: This might be a no-brainer, but if doing branding work in person is difficult for you, make sure you build up a good online presence. Make sure your brand is consistent across Twitter, WordPress, your PWR portfolio or creative writing blog, etc. Be active on your accounts. If sharing these outlets worries you, create professional accounts so that you don’t have to stop using your current blog/Twitter as a personal outlet.

Connect one at a time: If big networking events stress you out, think about doing your networking one person at a time. Building connections is important, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t do well at parties or career expos. Ask a favorite professor to lunch, or see if you can meet one-on-one with a staff member you admire. Find a faculty member who’s doing research or work that you’re interested in doing and ask them about it. Look for a university mentor. Elon faculty work here because they’re interested in working closely with undergraduates – don’t feel intimidated to send someone an e-mail. Also, don’t overlook your classmates! Students on this campus are active and involved in so many things, and you can learn a lot just by asking your friends about their work and interests.

Use subtle cues: You can get lots of messages about yourself across without talking. Include your accomplishments in your e-mail signature, or include pictures of yourself in your portfolio that show your interests or activities. Even the pins on your backpack or stickers on your laptop can tell others a little about yourself and what you care about. Think about what messages you want to send! It’s a very easy way to build ethos.

Be strategic about your downtime: If you’re not being actively social with other people in your non-school time, that’s okay! But if you want to use that time to get ahead, there are ways to do it that don’t involve schmoozing. Spend time thinking about your desired career. Redesign your logo or your resume, or find companies you’re interested in to follow on Twitter. For example, I’m interested in children’s and young adult publishing, so I follow @simonteen, @harpercollins, @simonschuster, @harperteen, @penguinteen, and @AlgonquinYR (among many others) so that I can stay current with what’s happening in the industry.

These are great tips – and you don’t even have to be an introvert to use them! Happy branding!

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  1. Posted November 21, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, I really appreciate your rundown of these top tips. I think that personal branding is easy to seem intimidating, but it really can take shape in such a variety of ways. I like the point about how you don’t have to do anything radical to make important connections. The idea to “connect one at a time” seems much more plausible to do and to follow through with than thinking that you have to create a giant network. Also, I like the fact that our friends can also be great resources to use!

  2. Posted November 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for posting this! As an introvert, networking just seems so fake, which makes the whole idea sound intimidating. These tips are so simple and make networking sound less intimidating and more manageable!