College is all about growth, right? Growing to become a more well-rounded and experienced young adult than you were before; growth should spark from within yourself and will hopefully make an impact on your peers, friends, organizations, classes and campus. With this idea in mind, Grand Valley State University held their Student to Professional conference on Friday, January 24, 2014. The conference was sponsored by the wonderful people at Amway, GVSU Career Center, and the GVSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. The sessions were designed to inspire and give support to students throughout the day, and topics ranged from how to interview, resume tips, finding your You plan and personal branding.


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Kim Bode, owner of 834 Design and Marketing, was very inspiring during her session on Personal Branding. This session was filled with knowledgeable facts and tidbits to help students jumpstart their personal brand. Before I recap with the five things that impacted me the most from this  session, you should have an idea of exactly what is personal branding? According to Kim, personal branding is:

“The process by which individuals differentiate themselves ad stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.”

1. Judgment is all around you.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing with its various connections to friends, family, and professional opportunities. It’s also a curse because it can haunt you if you make one mistake. Judgment is inevitable within the first few seconds of walking into an interview or networking event. Constantly, YOU have to tell the world who you are.

2. Discover, Create, Communicate and Maintain
The main idea behind this is simple: discover who you are, what you want to do and your goals to achieve it. Create those goals and know how you want to world to view you. Communicate them to the world through every outlet possible: social media, personal presence and confidence. Lastly, maintain the connections you make in the process by following up, keeping up with their social media and being persistent. Creativity is key. It’s about how bad you want and how far you go to achieve your dreams.

3. The Three Laws of Branding

Authenticity, transparency and visibility will jump start the credibility you have. Never sugar coat who you are; be truthful and always be available. It will get you very far!

4. 7 Points to Bootstrapping Your Brand
For the sake of mentioning all seven points, I’ll give my top two:

  • Stop planning and start doing
  • Be freakishly persistent 

These two ideas, in my opinion, are the best advice that can be given and used in all aspects of life. There is no progression, if no steps are taken. Once you start taking action, keep that momentum going and don’t stop until you reached your end goal.

5. Be YOU
You are YOUR personal brand. Know it, own it, and be proud of it. Be the best version you can be, beside there’s only one you so aspire to greatness. Be authentic. Be visible. Be transparent.

A huge thank you goes to Kim for speaking at the conference, the entire 834 Design staff for their amazing work and contributions to both students and the community and PRSSA for the opportunity to blog and began helping me build my personal brand! The full presentation could be viewed here

– Jailyn Glass
PRSSA Member