Another Round of Workshops: 30 Day Challenge

Over half way through the 30 Day Challenge, two new workshops were offered. One of them encompassed the idea of personal branding. This session was led by Mary Ellen Kettelhut, a Senior Career Advisor at the Boerigter Center, as well as Haley Wilson ’16, who works in Global Talent Acquisition for Tik Tok. 

Brands are a part of all areas of our lives: in the foods we eat as a kid, the schools we attend, the organizations we work for after college, and the products we buy in our day to day lives. A brand is a promise that a product or service makes to others and can be applied to us as individuals. They can also be the people around us and the work they do as their own personal brand. The examples of Taylor Swift and Patrick Mahomes were used to start the conversation of a personal brand.

A personal brand is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence your public perception. We do this for a few different reasons. We do this to position ourselves as an authority in our industry and to elevate our credibility and differentiate ourselves from the competition. Ultimately, we do it to advance our career, increase our circle of influence, and to have a larger impact on the world. 

Mary Ellen then walked through steps on how to create your own personal brand promise. Step one is to look at who you are, uniquely, from four perspectives. The first of these perspectives was skills – what “transferable” skills do you have, such as marketing, research, recruiting, public speaking, etc. The second was positive feedback – from friends, family, supervisors – what do other people say about you? The third was strengths, coming from the Gallup StrengthsQuest that students at Hope take to find their top five. Finally, the last perspective was values – what is foundational for you? These four perspectives go along with the worksheet that can be filled in included in the 30 Day Challenge booklet. Step two to creating your own brand promise is to reflect and find themes from all four categories, and then to construct a short and memorable personal brand promise. Consider an adjective and noun, or a five to seven word sentence. Some examples of these could be Enthusiastic Engager or I strive to put others at ease. Haley and Mary Ellen showed their worksheets filled out and how these perspectives and brand promise look in their own lives.

The third step involves spending time gathering inputs, sharing with a friend or two to gather more input about yourself, writing your promise, and trying it out and revising as you learn and grow! Mary Ellen reminds us again that ultimately, we want to leverage our personal brand promise to advance our careers, increase our circle of influence, and to have a larger impact in the world. 

The “Interviewing 101” session was kicked off by Boerigter Staff member Dale Austin who began to set the stage. When people go into interviews people really want to put their best foot forward and show off their strengths and talents that a potential employer would want to see. But, this is easier said than done. Dale talked about how many people go into “interview mode,” they tense up, and get nervous during an interview and struggle to show their best self. To help with this, Dale emphasizes two methods that help alleviate that stress, preparation, and practice. These methods help people move from interview mode to personality mode, this is where we want to be during an interview. 

Dale then introduced Bethany Florek, who currently works with Greenly and Hansen, and is the director of Human Resources. The first question that they discussed was the first big one that is asked in almost every interview. “Tell us about yourself?” As is the case with all questions, you do not want to sound like a robot when you respond, you want to let your personality shine through. At the same time, you need to maintain a level of professionalism and look like you are not just shooting from the hip. This answer to this question should tell your story, and let the employer know a little bit about you. This is not just listing your resume, where you were born, etc., this is where you also begin to show the employer your personality, traits, and strengths. It is important to make sure that these are traits that are connected to the job you are applying for!

Dale and Bethany next talked about two common interview questions, what are some strengths and weaknesses. With strengths, Bethany mentions how it is important to not just list basic strengths with no explanation. You should have strengths that are going to help connect you with the position you are applying for, and you should be able to explain why you have this strength, maybe an example, and why it is important. When it comes to weaknesses, it is important to be genuine! We all have weaknesses, do not pretend that you do not. With this question, you should really think deeply and have a conversation with yourself. It is important to look for weaknesses, and then be able to posture them in a positive light and show how they are achieving. This is also not a place to be brutally honest and give details that will be detrimental to your chances of getting the position!

Next, the two discussed some strategies for virtual interviews and some of the advantages and challenges of doing an interview online. Virtual interviews actually help to take away some nerves that an in-person interview causes. You do not have to worry about parking, getting early, etc. But at the same time, those are being replaced by things like technology problems, not having a charger, figuring out Zoom. In order to prevent these problems, it is important to make a checklist for yourself! It is important to do everything you can do to be professional and impressive to the employer. 

For the next portion of the session, two Boerigter Staff members put on a mock interview that was critiqued by Bethany to show live some slip-ups that people commonly have. 

Next week is the last week of the 30-Day Challenge. There will be one session on Tuesday with the goal of helping prepare people for the career fair on Wednesday! Be sure to tune into the session next week, and sign up on Handshake for the career fair!

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