Guru educates students on personal branding


Today, Schawbel has his own company, Millennial Branding LLC, maintains two successful personal branding websites and has hopes to publish a second book in the near future. (Stephanie Snyder/DD)
Not all students know what they want to do when they graduate. Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert, divulged his keys to success at the Must-See Monday speaker series.

“Do everything until you figure it out,” he said.

Schawbel, author of “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Branding Your Future,” spoke as a Hearst Visiting Fellow, and offered tips on how to take advantage of the Internet and its global talent pool.

“Companies need to act like people, and at the same time, people need to act like companies,” he said. “The best person to get the word out about you is you.”

Schawbel emphasized that people need to want to become an expert in a field, which requires transparency and authenticity in every action.

“You really need to be the real you,” he said. “You need to contribute what other people can’t to stand out.”

The biggest mistake Schawbel said he made in the beginning of his career was being too introverted.

“The online world is so valuable for networking,” he said. “That, and getting good experience.”

Schawbel had eight internships, including one at Reebok, which he referenced as good building blocks for his career.

Although his internships did not lead to a job, he said he understands now how to develop those skills and translate them into his success.

Schawbel knows he’s not a journalist, but he interacts with media on so many different levels—blogging, public relations, writing for mainstream publications and pitching.

“Whatever you are, aside from your current position, you have to market yourself,” he said.

Journalism freshman Lorraine Longhi said Schawbel’s presentation was very applicable to freshmen just starting to look for their first internship.

“We’ve grown up with Facebook and other social networking sites, but we haven’t been using (them) with a business strategy in mind,” she said. “Now we’re being held accountable in developing a professional persona.”

Cronkite Public Relations Professor Dawn Gilpin knew about Schawbel’s personal branding through his blog and Facebook presence, but doesn’t always agree with his ideas.

“I think you need to be careful when using so many different platforms to maintain your privacy,” she said. “His relentless focus on personal brand can be too much like sales instead of building relationships.”

Gilpin recognizes the amount of passion Schawbel puts into his work and said he is reaping the rewards because of it.

“He put his full effort into it,” she said. “He worked toward (his passion) on top of a full-time job late at night, until 3 or 4 a.m., and really valued his time.”

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