Behind the Scenes with Bryn Gibson: The Door Guy

Editor’s Note: It’s Jacob Ferguson, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the Northern Illinois University College of Business here! This week we caught up with Bryn Gibson a senior majoring in Business Administration to see just why he holds the doors open for his peers every day.

Bryn Gibson - Business Administration student at NIU

Bryn Gibson - Business Administration student at NIU

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

“My name is Bryn Gibson. I am a 23 year old man pursuing a degree in business administration at NIU. I grew up as a home schooler where my mother was my teacher until my senior year in high school. She was a teacher and administrator for a school district and probably the biggest influence in my life. I am a rather simplistic man in that I pursue my version of what Aristotle referred to as “the good life”. What my good life entails is accumulating wisdom, knowledge, close ties and relationships to people, and being genuine to others by being honest and showing every person I meet a general degree of respect. I place respect of my fellow man in high regards. My hobbies include cooking (Eastern Japanese and Western Mediterranean cuisine specifically) , origami, reading, writing, and Japanese martial arts.”

Why do you hold the door open at Barsema Hall? Is Barsema Hall the only place?

“My philosophy for why I hold doors for people is very simple: I care about others. There is a practical and altruistic reason for why I do this. The practical reason is because I more often than not see people distracted through various means, such as talking to someone else, having their hands full, texting or making a call. Through these means of distraction, I see a decent number of people run into the door or can’t open it due to no available hands. So I took it upon myself to try to either ensure that they continue having a good day by removing one minor annoyance from their busy day, or I alleviate said minor annoyance from their bad day making it a little better for them. The altruistic reason is simply because I like to help others from big ways such as volunteer work and tutoring, to very small things like holding the door and smiling at others (I smile a lot because I love to do so and a single smile can be a powerful positive force for someone. More so than most realize). It is part of my never ending pursuit of the good life and becoming a decent person for others. I don’t know as to whether or not I am a good person because that depends on who you ask (as is such with many conversations in life), but I strive for excellence and decency for myself and others, which helps show others that there are decent people in the world and that it’s the right thing to do.

Barsema Hall is not the only place I have done this at. Pretty much at any building on and off campus that I have been to I have held the door for people. I did so at every place I went to since I was three years old.”

Where did this idea come from?

“This idea actually came to me when I was around three years old. I remember seeing other people hold doors for brief moments in the various places I went to, and I decided that I would adopt that philosophy and practice it during my life (I plan to keep going as long as I live). My mother taught me to seek the good that I can do for others and to manifest that good in subtle ways. It’s through this kind of mentality that I try and search for the good in everything I do and always criticize myself as to how I can become better with each thing I do.”

What kind of feedback have you received from students and faculty?

The feedback from the students and faculty at NIU has been very positive. I do not do this to receive praise from others, but if they want to thank me then that’s their choice and I really do appreciate it. There have been times where doing this has made certain people very uncomfortable, with a few incidents resulting in vulgar feedback and asking me to stop doing it because they took it as a signal that they cannot open the door themselves (which from reading what I wrote previously, that is not even a thought in my mind). But the overall feedback has been very positive. I expected such because the students and faculty at NIU from my experience are very ethical, intelligent, and kind populace. They are rational people who seek to be a positive force for change in the world.”

What other things are you passionate about?

“I am passionate, as many others, about justice and the fair treatment of all. It coincides with my personal philosophy to help manifest that every person has unique qualities and deserve a general level of compassion and respect (essentially, treat them like people who are ends in themselves, rather than a means to an end). Another thing I am passionate about is meritocracy. I believe firmly in working for what you want because it teaches self-discipline, personal growth, and innovation. These things are critical, in my opinion, to the future of reason, compassion, and progress of people. That a person’s value comes not from where they come from, who they are related to, or how much money they make. Rather it’s about one’s work, dedication, reason, and personality should be what determines their value. Essentially let them show you who they are before making conclusions.”

Can we plan to see you during the spring semester?

“I will return to NIU in the spring. I hope to meet more great people as I have since the time I arrived.”

10 Study Tips for Final Exams

With Thanksgiving Break coming quickly and finals week right around the corner all of us here at the Northern Illinois University College of Business thought it would be wise to provide all of you with some study tips for final exams. Don’t fear because we are about to present you with 10 basic keys to success.

NIU College of Business students working hard.

NIU College of Business students working hard.

 

1) Always prepare for tomorrow in an effort to make the most efficient use of your time.

2) Create study groups! Technology has made it extremely easy to do this at anytime from anywhere.

3) Establish a routine by setting aside specific time for school work and focus.

4) Find a quiet space where you can separate yourself from distractions.

5) Have a backup plan. Be sure to save that final paper on an external drive in addition to your computer in case things go wrong.

6) Maintain a master calendar to stay on top of assignments and not fall behind.

7) Stay organized by using folders both on your computer and for any printed materials as well.

8) Stay positive and remember why earning your degree is worth all the hard work.

9) Take a break and come back refocused.

10) Use checklists to ensure you are completing assignments on time and feel the satisfaction of checking each assignment from the list.

For additional academic support resources which range from tutoring and assistance services to academic opportunities and programs check out the link below or contact the Office of Student Academic Success.

http://www.niu.edu/osas/resources/Academic.shtml

For more study tips that we have shared on this blog check out the links below.

http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/dont-panic-top-15-tips-for-finals/

http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/4-ways-to-study-smarter/

http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/how-to-succeed-in-school/

 

 

 

One word: “SCHOLARSHIPS!”

Editor’s Note:  we’re interrupting the regularly scheduled content on this social channel to bring you breaking news: 

NIU BUSINESS SCHOLARSHIPS ARE UP!  

Catch the ride to the college’s scholarship webpages, see if you qualify, and get your applications in!  Last year, the college distributed well over $600,000 in scholarship funds to qualified students.  Go for it!

Okay, that’s more than one word…but we’re excited!  APPLY!  Here’s your ride:  http://cob.niu.edu/scholarships/

Forget the A’s, College is about the B’s

Editor’s Note: Chloe Pooler is a junior Accountancy major with minors in Community Leadership & Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. She is President of the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, an e-board member of CAUSE, heavily involved in the College of Business, Student Association, and formerly the residence halls as well. Chloe enjoys walks on the beach, the company of witty people, and jamming to good tunes.

Chloe Pooler, Junior Accountancy Major

Chloe Pooler, Junior Accountancy Major

 Forget the A’s, College is about the B’s

I myself am a very achievement oriented person. I need that grade, certificate, approving email, whatever, that validates my efforts in academics, in extra-curriculars, and professionally. I am very much about the “A’s” of school- literally, “A” grades, “A”wards, “A”chievement. Trust me, these are GREAT to strive for, but aren’t what college is about. College is the place for the “B”s.

Balance

Work hard, rest hard, play medium (enough to make college the best time of your life, not enough to sacrifice the work and rest).

Having near perfect grades and a packed resume are not worth losing your sanity over. It is important to remember to make time for yourself. No, not the for yourself like “I’m joining this sixth organization your my future,” I mean for yourself as in scheduled time to do yoga, run, play basketball, draw, journal- something you actually enjoy doing!

These activities are things you might have to literally schedule into your limited (perhaps non-existent) free time. Make them a priority and don’t sacrifice nonessential activities over your you-time! Constantly being at your wits’ end is not worth the stress that you can alleviate by making time spent on yourself important.

It’s true in the professional world and it’s true in your collegiate career- work/life balance is key. Don’t forget to recharge and periodically give your mind a break from all of the academia and extra-curricular craziness!

Building

You are never in a more perfect place to grow than in college. You are blessed to have so, so many resources at your fingertips, especially here at NIU! Electronic libraries, esteemed professors, successful alumni are all just a click of a mouse and “send” of an email away.

It is important to acknowledge that each of us have room to grow and the ability to build ourselves to be better professionals, leaders, and people. Take advantage of all of the organizations NIU and the College of Business has to offer. Going outside of your comfort zone, taking on a role you might not be entirely sure you can handle, and attending events with the intent to learn from them (not just get the Passport credit) will benefit you in many, many ways. Literally think to yourself, after doing something above and beyond, “how awesome am I going to look when I talk about this in an interview?”

Maybe you read that request to join something and take on a leadership role and yada yada and thought to yourself, “it’s just a point on my resume, I won’t get anything more out of it than that.” *Dwight Shrute voice* FALSE. Guess what else joining clubs gets you? A network of alumni who were in your same shoes however long ago.

College is a great time to build your network and connect with Huskie alum and the professionals/companies the COB brings in. Purposefully design and learn how to maintain your network at this prime time in your life.

Blunders

Blunder is a more fun word for mistake. Make mistakes this school year!! Don’t do so intentionally, but try something new or different and see where it leads you. You might be wrong! Making flashcards the day before a UBUS 310 Exam might not result in as good of a grade as when you actually did practice problems the weekend before. But hey, at least you went for it! Texting that girl from Rosy’s the next morning could end with no reply, or with a “Hey! The funny guy with the blue shirt!” You never know unless you try.

Plus, college is that weird age where you’re 100% responsible for your actions, but also people are forgiving, because you haven’t been in the professional adult world for long. It’s understood that you don’t know every little detail about how to do an audit or have all of the answers to the questions your professors ask, but it’s important to raise your hand and go for it anyway. A little humility can grow a person more than a lot of arrogance.

Realize, too, that everyone makes mistakes! Your peers, professors, and potential employers have all done something just as embarrassing or silly, and you can all laugh about it down the line after you’ve walked across the graduation stage, landed that dream job, and reminisce about the days on campus.

C for Conclusion

College isn’t all about Achievements and Awards and A+’s, though those are great; but so are balance and building and blunders. Striving for those A-things is important and having goals are key, but being sure to balancing work/life and taking time to breathe, building yourself professionally and as a leader and your network, and making mistakes and learning from them are all great things to focus on during your time in the COB.

Bring It! Center – Charge Up and Refuel

Editor’s Note: This article was written to introduce and inform students on the various resources available to them on campus. This week we are highlighting the Bring It! Center, one of my personal favorite rooms on campus that not many people know about. – Jacob Ferguson, NIU College of Business Marketing and Social Media Intern

Bring It! Center

The Bring It! Center is a place for College of Business students to come together to study, collaborate on group projects and receive service, support and training with technology. In the center you will receive:

  • Help with the Anywhere Lab
  • Help with the Anywhere Printer
  • Help with Wi-Fi
  • Help with Password Resets
  • Help with NIU E-Mail

Location

The Bring It! Center is located near the Atrium in Barsema Hall Room 104.

Policies/Guidelines

  • The Bring It! Center will provide general support for any mobile device.
  • Food and drink are allowed on shared areas and each user is responsible for their own device and to keep the Bring It! Center clean.
  • The Bring It! Center does not provide support for desktops or any hardware repairs.
  • A waiver must be signed by students or faculty members before they can work on your device.
  • Mobile devices are not to be dropped off for repair.
  • No misconduct, including but not limited to arguments among group members, loud talking, loud music or any other distractions that disrupt the other groups or students studying.
  • Please be courteous to your fellow students.

Summer Internship Experience: For-Profit Edition

Editor’s Note: With the summer just finishing up and the NIU Internship/Full-time Job Fair just around the corner we wanted to highlight students and their internship experiences. In this two part series we will highlight two students, one who interned with a for-profit company and another who interned with a nonprofit company. By highlighting these two sectors we hope to give students different perspectives so that when it comes time for them to make the decision of their own they’re better prepared.

Hello! My name is Luis Sandoval and I am a senior double majoring in Management Information Systems and Applied Mathematics.  I am also double minoring in Marketing and Computer Science.  I was originally an accounting student but quickly found out that I really didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life.  It did not seem interesting to me but rather static. In addition, I also felt that there wasn’t much room for personal innovation and that did not align with what I envisioned for my future.

I have had the great opportunity to intern with AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company, for the past two summers. The summer of 2013, I took on the role of a Business Systems Analyst and worked with the company on enhancing the overall performance and user experience of an international financial planning tool. At the end of my internship I had the opportunity to present my results in front of the project steering committee. This past summer, I took on the role of a developer and built an interface that allowed for the communication of an external and internal systems. During both summers I worked within a team, that’s just how the business world is.

Over the past two summers, I really developed my leadership, communication, teamwork and professional skills. I learned to put myself out there by simply putting myself out there. It may have been uncomfortable but I managed to overcome that. I was able to put myself in situations (networking, pitches, one-on-ones with directors and management, etc.) until it became more familiar to me rather than uncomfortable. That naturally allowed me to develop the skills listed above. I ultimately learned to put myself out there and I got used to being comfortable in uncomfortable and new situations.

I definitely did not have a good grasp on everything all the time. However, I asked tons of questions and did many hours of personal research outside of work. I feel that’s what everyone should do. You can’t just wait and expect for things to come to you. I am grateful to say that I will be starting full time with AbbVie in their IT Development Program in January.

Summer Internship Experience: Nonprofit Edition

Editor’s Note: With the summer just finishing up and the NIU Internship/Full-time Job Fair just around the corner we wanted to highlight students and their internship experiences. In this two part series we will highlight two students, one who interned with a for-profit company and another who interned with a nonprofit company. By highlighting these two sectors we hope to give students different perspectives so that when it comes time for them to make the decision of their own they’re better prepared.

NIU Business Student Kerrian Miller and Co-Founder and Director at Human Connections Elly Rohrer posing for a picture with a local artisan.

Hello! My name is Kerrian Miller, I am a sophomore Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship student in the College of Business. This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern as the Marketing and Media NGO intern in Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico. Three of the goals I set for myself when coming to NIU were to always challenge myself, enjoy what I’m doing, and gain real-world experience. While interning at Human Connections I was able to reach these goals and accomplish much more.

I interned at Human Connections, a non-profit organization that works with low-income artisans and tradespeople in the beautiful town of Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico. They offer tours showcasing the artisan’s to locals and tourists. The tourists are able to gain a better perspective on the culture and appreciate the hard work that goes into sustaining a small business. The profits from the tour and donations are used to compensate the artisans shown on the tour and provide community classes for clients and their communities.

I had an amazing experience working at Human Connections. I learned so much in the short six weeks I was there. It was great to gain experience in consulting, marketing, and non-profit organizational leadership. This internship helped me to gain a better understanding of non-profits, immerse myself in a different culture, and it exposed me to people with such different stories. I was continuously learning, taking on new tasks, and being a positive contributor.

While interning for Human Connections, I helped create the strategic marketing plan. I loved offering creative and innovative ideas toward marketing material that would help us reach as many people as possible. Working on the website content and layout was very interesting. I had the opportunity to act as a marketing and financial consultant with many artisans and working with them was a very humbling experience. They were always very welcoming and appreciative. Towards the end of my internship I was creating marketing material for a client named Francisco. I know that he was grateful to have a new way to market his products and make tourist understand the work that goes into his craft. I left Mexico knowing that what I did made a difference in the lives of our clients.

Overall, being an intern this past summer has taught me to really think about where I want my career to go and to work diligently towards it. I now think about working internationally or for a non-profit organization. My interest in non-profits, social enterprises, and entrepreneurship has really grown. It was an amazing learning opportunity. I had such a great time working with students from universities from all over the country. Being an intern has made me realize how much I’m capable of. There was never a moment where I felt like I wasn’t doing something worthwhile. Human Connections is so invested in the artisans, tradespeople, and small business owners we work with. I have so much respect and appreciation for the team and work done at Human Connections. I know that having that experience will lead me towards more new and exciting opportunities.

Score a FREE Lunch!! (Contest Details)

If you are an NIU Business major (freshman through senior levels) and if you like food (especially when it’s free!) AND if you want an opportunity to meet other students and the NIU Business Dean in a relaxed setting, then this is the contest for you.

Follow the instructions (below) and you may win a free lunch!  Not only that, but you’ll have fun, meet some new friends, chat with NIU Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler, and maybe even learn something new about ways to make the most of your time at NIU!

“Score a FREE Lunch” Contest Instructions

  1.  Send an email to jacobiferguson@yahoo.com and include this information:
    1. Make the email subject:  “Score a Free Lunch Contest”
    2. In the body of your email, provide:  your name, your declared NIU Business major, and your academic year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).
    3. Please also briefly share “Why I Chose NIU.”  (There’s no right or wrong answer to this!  We just love learning more about you!)
  2. Send your email no later than WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 10th!  In order to be eligible your email must adhere to all of the contest instructions listed here.

Winner Selection and Announcement Details

Contest entries will be grouped by academic class (NIU Business:  Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).  Winners will be randomly selected from each academic class and notified via email on Friday, September 12th.  The email notification will include more specific information about the free lunch and will be sent to the winners by jacobiferguson@yahoo.com .

Any questions?  Lemme know in the comments section!  If not, well, then GO! and fill out the contest instructions!

 

And the Journey Begins…

NIU College of Business Marketing and Social Media Intern - Jacob Ferguson

Hello! My name is Jacob Ferguson and I am a senior Operations Management and Information Systems (OM&IS) major here at Northern Illinois University. Before we get started I would just like to thank all of the previous interns and authors particularly the most recent one, Rob Willer, for all their hard work and their dedication to making this blog the best that it can be. The goal of this post is to give you a brief introduction to myself and to inform you on the direction that we at College of Business plan to take the Student Voices Blog this year.

I graduated from Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois in May of 2011 with dreams of going to college and my eyes set on one school, Northern Illinois University. One of my main missions since entering Northern Illinois University has been to leave it a better place than when I started and to enjoy myself as much as possible along the way. I think I have managed to accomplish at least one of those in my time here thus far. Furthermore, I am involved in such organizations as Delta Sigma Pi, CAUSE (Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs) and the Dean’s Student Advisory Board which I believe have all helped me to make tremendous strides in achieving the two goals mentioned above.

At the end of the day a lot has changed since beginning my time here at Northern Illinois University and it hasn’t always been good. I plan to be transparent in my posts and will try to give you a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to this place that most of us call home for four some odd years. Topics will be selected by students and we will focus heavily on guest posts to give you different perspectives. This blog is written for students and by students.

Go Huskies!

 

 

Building your personal brand

Editor’s Note:  We’re coming up on the start of NIU’s fall semester, when a new NIU Business social media intern will post to Student Voices.  In the meantime, another NIU Business student sent in a guest post and we’re delighted to publish it!  In this post, Ludwig Gerdes (that’s him in the picture!) shares great suggestions for building your digital presence and your personal brand.  It’s a wonderful thing to do because building a personal brand helps you become more intentional about your goals and even more focused on how you Show Up for things in this great adventure called Life! Check out all of Ludwig’s suggestions in this story (below) and also on Ludwig’s web page.   (We couldn’t help but notice that one of Ludwig’s tips is to build a branded webpage.  And we also couldn’t help but notice that he not only gives the advice, but lives it too! Awesome.  So now your turn…go for it!)

 

A guest post on building your personal brand by Ludwig Gerdes

You may not realize it yet, but you are already contributing to your prospects of getting your dream job in the future. Whether your contributions are positive or negative, however, is the real question that you should be asking yourself.

What I’m trying to say is that your personal brand is already having an influence on your future, and it is high time you manage what your personal brand is saying to the people that matter.


“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.

personal brand, jeff bezosJeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Do a Google search for “Jeff Bezos”.  What do you see? Probably you’ll see multiple pages detailing his biography, some videos of speeches he’s done, and numerous articles about or concerning his work with Amazon.

Now search for your own name. What do you see? You’ll probably find your Internships.com profile, an old assignment you did for a class during your freshman year of college, and who knew you still had that old MySpace page.

So how are you and Jeff Bezos different, other than the $30.2 billion between your net worth and his? Well, he understands the importance of his personal brand more than you do yours.

But here’s how you can fix that.

1. Delete EVERYTHING (and start over)

It’s time for a good old-fashioned wiping off of the slate. Oh, but you spent so much time racking up those 2,000 friends on Facebook! They’ll still have profiles when if you come back. Think of it as a breath of fresh air. Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

If you do, however, have content that you want to keep (e.g. Facebook photos of yourself in high school, old Tweets you thought were hilarious, or Pinterest pins that showed exactly how you can turn that old desk in your parents’ basement into a GORGEOUS vanity) back it up. Save screenshots, download files, or whatever you have to so that you don’t regret deleting everything else.

If you need help, you can head over to PrivacyFix, or to one of these sites to search for any profiles you might have missed. If you’re willing to spend some money, head over towww.reputation.com. These sites are useful if you are worried that you might have missed something on the web.

Now that you’ve made it through that step and are most likely shaking from separation anxiety, you can start thinking about the next part: what do you want to do with your life?

2. Make Your Personal Strategy

Where do you want to be in your life? No, this isn’t an existential question. I’m asking you what you want your career to look like. Where do you want to work? What do you want to do to make money? Where do you want to live?

You should ask yourself all of these questions before you even START to think about anything else. Give yourself time though. It’s your life – don’t rush through it. Good? Great.

Understanding where you want to be in your career in the next 2, 5, and 10 years is vital before you start shaping your personal brand with different social media accounts.

“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Author of Crush it! (2009) and Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook (2013)

personal brand, Gary VaynerchukGary Vaynerchuk, CEO Vaynermedia

Gary Vaynerchuk (one of my personal heroes) understands the value of personal branding. Having attended a small private school in Massachusetts and receiving less-than-noteworthy grades, his personal brand and his attitude have more than anything made his career what it is today: a multi-million dollar media agency.

A. What Platforms to Choose (Professional)

Just how exactly do you start choosing what social media platforms to have a profile on, you ask?  Well, really it depends on where you said you want your career to end up, and how that relates to different social networks.

If you’re a design student (graphic or otherwise) you’d better have somecombination of profiles on Behance, Pinterest, Instagram, and Dribbble.

But wait! Don’t be on all of them. My recommendation is 2 – 3 accounts so that you can stay active on each of them, and it doesn’t stop being fun. Too many and you’ll never keep up; too few and you won’t have enough of a presence.

You can take a look at my comprehensive guide to choosing a social media platform based on industry. But in the meantime, let’s just say you’re majoring inbusiness administration, like me.

As a business student, your best friend is your LinkedIn account. On it, you can display your professional work, talents, and interests in such a way that someone interested in hiring someone with talents such as yours can easily find you. Did I mention that approximately 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet job candidates?

Secondly, you’ll want somewhere to host your work.

You love making slideshow presentations? Slideshare. Avid photographer? Instagram + Pinterest make for a one-two combo.  You have musical skills? Use SoundCloud to show off your masterful ability.

Each social platform has its unique features that lend itself to the betterment of your personal brand. Be creative and have fun.

B. What Platforms to Choose (Personal)

Now that you’ve decided on some professional profiles, you can decide if you want to accentuate them with one or two “personal” profiles.

What you have to remember in any case is that your personal accounts are still visible. Even if you set all of the privacy settings to your personal accounts to MAX, there are still numerous situations in which potential employers, co-workers, or recruiters can see your profile. So do not post anything you wouldn’t want emerging in an interview with the employer of your dreams.

Personally, I recommend sticking to the messenger apps like GroupMe rather than other, often problematic social media accounts, but for each their own.

C. 100% Completion

It’s not enough to just have a profile on a social network. You need to invest the time and energy required to reach 100% completion. Otherwise, you’ll come off as looking like an amateur. Do you want your brand to say “Amateur”?

Start by making sure that you have a sound profile picture. The picture should be less than six months old so it actually looks like you and not your younger, less stylish self. Also make sure the picture looks professional. No selfies or mugshots. Nor any generic background photo that looks like you cut it out of a yearbook. (I’m talking to you, NIU faculty!)

Link all of your professional accounts to each other so that they are easy to keep track of. Also, PLEASE customize your social account web addresses, if possible.  http://www.linkedin.com/in/ludwiggerdes looks infinitely more professional than www.linkedin.com/in/12019283102

Just go the extra mile to avoid looking like an amateur.

3. Create A Professional Website

Now that you have a professional presence on social media and are benefitting from the improved SEO that comes with that presence, you can take it one step further and create a professional website that can serve as a portfolio, blog, or simple contact form.

I know that you may have made a basic website during the early stages of your college career, but let’s face it. It was probably a piece of garbage. If you haven’t yet, go back and delete it.

With more modern technology, you can create a website with little-to-no difficulty using a combination of HostGator (web hosting) and WordPress (Content Management Software). I recommend following THIS GUIDE to creating your professional website.

I did, and then I slowly improved. You can take a look at my finished copy atwww.ludwiggerdes.com

One thing that I do (albeit less frequently than I would like) is write articles and publish them to my self-hosted blog. A quick Google search of my name will show you that my personal website is one of the highest-ranking results, just behind my LinkedIn profile and the work I’ve published for LinkedIn. That’s because original content is king.  You can use this to your advantage just as easily as I have, and boost your own ranking in Google searches.

Regardless of whether you blog or not, the most important part of your website is the message behind it, and the brand promisethat it displays. Again, be creative and original.

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” – Warren Buffett, Investor and philanthropist

personal brand, Warren Buffett, CEO Berkshire HathawayWarren Buffett, CEO Berkshire Hathaway

4. Stay Active

So you have successfully created your professional presence on social media, a professional website for yourself, and cleansed the Internet of all traces of your unprofessional self.What’s next?

Well, now comes the hard part.

You need to stay active online. Not for a grade like some college courses require. I meanfor the sake of your future career.

You should endeavor to contribute to online communities, because other community members will take notice. However, you shouldn’t contribute by not contributing (e.g. spamming LinkedIn groups with questions you don’t actually care about).

Your personal brand is only viable if you maintain it. If you don’t strive to maintain it, then you are in essence telling potential employers that you don’t take pride in your work, and that you can’t be relied upon.

So you need to keep up with your social media presence, your professional website, and the online community that you are a part of.

If you don’t, then you may have already ruined your chances of getting your dream job.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.” – Oscar Wilde, Author and Playwright


Ludwig Gerdes is the social media marketing strategist for Northern Illinois University, as well as the 2014-2015 President of BASA, NIU’s Business Administration Student Association.