Foliotek Blog

Imani Steele: Building My Personal Brand

alt When we see a student get this excited about building her brand, we knew we had to get an interview to learn more. Imani Steele is a sophomore marketing major with a minor in business analytics and is a Fellow at the Center for Business Leadership (CBL) in Miami University's Farmer School of Business. One of the CBL's top priorities is creating improvement initiatives that are organized and run entirely by the Fellows (students) in the program.

In last week's post, we spoke with the Fellows responsible for implementing the Foliotek Initiative. Below is our interview with Imani which provides a student's perspective.

Foliotek: You are working on a separate initiative with your team. What did you learn from that experience?

Imani Steele: When you're on a team with phenomenal leaders that create a very diverse environment, you learn a lot. I've learned how to be an effective, inclusive leader and make sure that everyone's input is utilized. You can't get away from teamwork, collaboration, and diversity (some of my core values) in society.

F: At some point, you were told that you would be using Foliotek to showcase your own initiative. What was your first impression?

IS: The advisors informed us during our individual leadership lab in September that we would be using Foliotek to record our experience and how it relates to CBL's main values. I thought it [Foliotek] was really cool, and obviously there are many ways to promote your personal brand, but Foliotek can really showcase your individual and team projects, which I love.

F: What was the impact of using Foliotek to showcase your projects?

IS: Foliotek lets you go more in-depth when it comes to explaining and showcasing your projects. I was able to take time to reflect on what I actually did. The way the project templates were structured helped me not only talk about what I did on the surface level, but I was able to dig in deeper and talk about how it shaped me in my leadership and teamwork skills.

F: What value did you get from reflecting on your work?

IS: There is always room for growth. Being able to reflect on what you've done and document your growth, see your growth, and show your growth is really effective in crafting your professional and personal brand. Every application I fill out for internships, I always put a link to my Foliotek ID page. Foliotek has helped me with this because I can tell anyone to 'go to this website to see what I've done,' and [my projects] are right there with a click of a button. I don't think I could have thought of a better way of showcasing everything I've done while building my own authentic brand.

alt F: Do you think you'll continue to build your brand in Foliotek?

IS: Absolutely! I've even had to pull stuff from freshman year! I'm currently working on a project in one of my business classes and I will put it in there; any other project I complete from here on out will be going into Foliotek. When it [my ID Page] was done, I had to send it to my dad. Every time I talk to him, he wants to know what I'm doing in school. He thought it was really cool and was impressed! I now have a way to keep my parents up to date and show them that everything they are putting into my education really is an investment!

F: So, what are your next steps in the CBL?

IS: One thing I love about being a part of the CBL is that it's student-run. I'm excited to continue to be part of the CBL and come up with ideas for how the center can really be effective and continue to do things for the Farmer School of Business and Miami University as a whole. I have a few plans [for future initiatives] that would be really cool for inclusion and diversity within the CBL, and hopefully that could trickle down to the Business School as a whole.

F: We've really enjoyed being a part of this improvement initiative at your school. Fellows are creating strong, professional brands that reflect highly on the values of the CBL and Miami University. Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us today.

IS: Thank you for letting me have this opportunity!


Four Tips for Public Speaking

alt "Nervous about public speaking? Picture the audience in their underwear." I don't know about you, but this little tidbit of information has never helped me calm down before a public speaking event. Why would I want to picture a crowd of people sitting and staring at me ... in their underwear? That does not make me laugh or calm my nerves! Let's talk about a few realistic public speaking tips that can help you rather than making you feel more awkward.

ONE

"Make eye contact with audience members one by one." WHAT? Literally look this crowd of eager and unfamiliar faces in the eye when I'm talking? No way! One of the top TED Talk Presenters, Simon Sinek, told Entrepreneur "If you can, give each person that you intently look at an entire sentence or thought, without breaking your gaze. When you finish a sentence, move on to another person and keep connecting with individual people until you're done speaking." Not only is Simon one of the top-watched presenters, but he's probably one of the most shy. It is mentioned in the article that he would rather not be at a social event, but if he is, he would like to just hide out in the corner. So if Sinek recommends looking people in the eye when you talk, he isn't messing around. Check out his TED Talk below to see how well he does this.

It's like you're having a conversation with your audience ... you're not speaking at them, you're speaking with them - Simon Sinek

TWO

Another tip from Sinek: turn nervousness into excitement. Transform these anxious symptoms into an excited energy instead. Oh, your palms are sweaty? That's because you can't wait to get out on that stage and start talking one-on-one with all these awesome people! Give yourself a pep-talk and rationalize all of your nerves as enthusiastic reactions to being ready for your presentation.

THREE

Believe that people are rooting for you. "They want a great experience. No one likes to see someone bomb. They really do want you to win" says Danielle LaPorte. People don't choose to go to a speaking event hoping to be bored, waste their time, or leave wishing they had seen a different presenter. They genuinely want to be intrigued, learn, and walk away from a speaker who has taught them a little something about themselves.

FOUR

"Know your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker, and accentuate the positive." No one is perfect. Understand how you excel and what you're still working on, and play on those traits as you speak. If you aren't a natural comedian, don't try to be; the audience will pick up on this. Instead, play on your intelligence and genuine care of the subject material. People appreciate true passion just as much as a joke or two. Plus, being true to yourself will make you feel more comfortable and in your element than trying to be someone you're not (especially in front of all those people just sitting around in their underwear).

The next time you're asked to speak or present and you start to get nervous, remember these tips and breathe a little easier knowing that you will present like a pro.

What is Your Brand?
Tell Me About Yourself
First Impressions


How to Format a Resume

altPreviously, we discussed what to include in your resume. Now that we know the content that belongs in a resume, how do we put it all together? That depends on what type of job you are applying for and how you want to come across to that employer. While design-oriented and infographic resumes are really creative and have eye-catching layouts, we are going to focus on the original, clean resume today. This is the route most people take as the Applicant Tracking System industry is growing. By keeping things simple, the system has a better chance of scanning your resume and passing it on to those responsible for hiring.

You already know what you're including on your resume, and you've decided on keeping it clean and simple. So what's next? Let's take a look at the biggest factors in the layout:

  • One Page Maximum
  • Professional Font
  • Clean Layout

One page is plenty of room to give potential employers a snapshot of who you are and why you’re the best candidate. Type up all of your information on one page and see how much space it takes up. If you’re overflowing onto page two without even formatting any of the text, go through and cut out extra verbiage. Overly-talkative babies are cute, but a rambling resume is not.

Next, choose a professional font. If you use a font that has ‘added embellishments’ to its letters, you run the risk of looking unprofessional or childish. Not only that, but the Applicant Tracking Systems that bigger companies use to scan thousands of resumes could cause your resume to be looked over due to an unfamiliar font. Stick with Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, or any of the other seven fonts on Monster.com’s top ten resume-friendly fonts list. The number one font to stay away from? Comic Sans. If you don't know why, check out this article by Comicsanscriminal.com.

Finally, keep a clean layout. This means that everything should be organized cohesively and not spaced out randomly throughout the page. Stick with one alignment. So if you align the first bit of information on the left, continue this alignment with the rest of your information. Use headers to differentiate the types of information that you’re including (Work Experience, School History, etc.) so that it’s easier for the employer to quickly find what they’re looking for on the page. Hungry for more? Check out Jeff & Mike: The Interview Guys' Resume Format Guide for 2016.

Related Posts
How to Write a Resume
Tell Me About a Time When
Tell Me About Yourself


How to Write a Resume

Resume writing can seem monotonous and intimidating. How are you supposed to fit all of your awesome accomplishments onto just one page? What if you don’t have a lot of different experiences or awards to fill up an entire page? Look no further. This post will discuss the content that employers are looking for when they see your resume for the first time.

“It’s well documented that people only spend about six seconds looking at each resume they receive.” – Forbes.com

Not only do employers look quickly at your resume to determine if it’s worth the read, but they want to be able to sell you to the hiring managers based on your resume alone. If you only have six seconds to impress someone with your resume, you need to be sure that only the essentials are listed so your expertise gets across.
alt

Content

Personal Information:
No, I don’t mean that you’re wearing your lucky t-shirt as you compose your resume. Include your full name, phone number, email address, and ID Page URL. By including your Foliotek ID Page as a link on your resume, you give employers direct access to your work samples before they even meet you.

School Experience:
List your degree, school, and graduation year. If you received your degree more than ten years ago, leave off the year. If your work experience is more relevant to the job in which you’re applying, list that before school experience.

Work Experience:
Include the name of the company, your position, the years worked at the company, and your outstanding achievements while working there. By quantifying your impact in your job experience, you show future employers specific examples of what you’re capable of doing for their company.

Quick Hitter Tips from the Pros

  • A resume is a very selective body of content. It’s not meant to be comprehensive. If it doesn’t contribute to convincing the hiring manager to talk to you, then take it out says Heifetz.
  • Objectives are so last year. Instead, swap out objective with branding statement or career summary. Giving impressive statistics of your accomplishments and telling employers how your skills will meet their goals as a company is much more effective than stating that you want to be hired and a list of the skills you have.
  • "In a society where social media often blurs the lines between personal and professional life, it’s easy to forget the level of formality and importance your resume should hold, but it is a crucial fact to remember" says blogger and Certified Resume Writer Michele Lando
  • Check out this sample ID Page to see how incorporating your work samples into an online resume is a positive influence on your application.

Tell Me About Yourself
Land Your Dream Job
How to Transform Ugly


Your Virtual Handshake

When you walk into a room to meet someone for the first time, you extend your hand for a handshake. But what do you do before the interview? How do you reach out a steady hand without someone standing directly in front of you? Your cover letter and Identity Page, of course!

A cover letter is used to introduce yourself; a precursor to help you stand out of the stack of resumes an employer has to dig through. It's how you tell them a little more about who you are as an individual and make them want to choose you for an interview. How do you draw them in with your cover letter?

  • Explain why you are a benefit to their company because of your experiences. Don't tell them what they already know - that you're applying for 'such and such job' and that you're 'just plain awesome.'

  • Illustrate how your skillsets and character traits are a valuable asset to their company's culture and values (show your awesomeness without bragging!).

  • Mention something you know about their company or an impressive fact about the industry and how excited you are to be involved.

Get more Cover Letter tips like this and more from Nerdwallet.com's Expert Advice Column. You are more than just what your resume states, and this is your chance to show the company 'the person behind the resume.'

alt

Foliotek adds another dimension to the cover letter through our Identity Page. As discussed in our post last week, Geoff explained the importance of showing your work to potential employers using Foliotek projects. The Identity Page is a perfect place to include these projects along with a description of who you are, your school and work credentials, any websites where you're a contributor, contact information, and your resume. Think of it as your online brand; your virtual cover letter.

Extend that handshake before you even set foot in the door and include a link to your ID Page on both your cover letter and resume. This will give potential employers the feeling that they already know you when you come in for your interview. That, my friends, is what we at Foliotek call a leg up.