Help Your Students Develop A Personal Brand

By: Kristen SwansonLeadership Day Pic

Work. You go there almost every day, with a specific goal in mind. Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, instructional coach, or parent, you likely face many different types of challenges in your occupation. Stop. Think about those work-related challenges for a second. I’m willing to bet your mental list is much different from that of 10 years ago.

10 years ago…

  • Most people in the US did not own a smartphone
  • Most digital devices were desktops, not mobiles
  • There was no Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram

The world as we know it is changing very rapidly. In a recent whitepaper entitled “Preparing Students for a New World of Work in the 21st Century,” Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli cite 5 new realities about the world of work.

Of the 5 realities, one really struck me: “Employee as brand.”

As our digital footprints grow, the resume is quickly becoming passé and outdated. Although I submitted a resume for my last 2 jobs, I’m certain that my robust digital footprint, Twitter account, and professional blog heavily influenced my employers’ decisions. In essence, digital networks have allowed a large portfolio of my work to be accessible to anyone, anywhere.

Amassing a collection of high quality work in digital spaces is absolutely critical for today’s students. So the question becomes:

Are we actively helping students to develop a personal brand and a robust content portfolio that is publicly available?

We should help students create websites, social media accounts, and blogs that showcase their talents, interests, and expertise. We should require students to become active in professional networks EARLY, long before they are job searching. And, most importantly, we should actively encourage students to connect with experts in their fields of interest, allowing them to join global conversations on a grand scale.

Are your students “Google-able?” I sure hope so.

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