If there’s one thing I have learned from the excellent advertising program at Illinois, it is that we are all our own individual brands. Just like Nike, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, each person is a brand, including you! Think about your personal brand. What do you like to do? How would your friends describe you? What do you want to do for a career? These are things you should be considering when thinking about your brand here at Illinois.
As a freshman, I tried to figure out what I was good at and what I wasn’t so great at. I found out that realizing what I wasn’t good at helped me define myself, and that led me to clarify my brand through the activities I joined and the classes I took. For example, when I took my required Introduction to Statistics course here at Illinois, I struggled. It was during that class I realized that I wasn’t going to be a math wizard. I could instead focus on things that don’t have to do with statistics, which was extremely helpful in choosing classes.
I found my niche my sophomore year when there was a special topics class taught through the creative writing major. The course was called Comedy and Satire Writing, and it was a perfect fit. I am currently the chief campus editor for The Black Sheep, a comedy and satire newspaper here at Illinois. During the class, we wrote skits, screenplays, and satirical articles, and it confirmed my affinity for comedy writing.
The next most important class I took was an Advanced Creative Concepts class. It was an advertising course that taught people how to think creatively through creating ads. The class helped me hone my creative skills, and because of that, I knew I wanted to do something creative with my advertising degree.
I realized from comedy writing and my creative concepts class that I was a creative, a storyteller, and a court jester. The creative came from my love for creativity and how it blended in with advertising. Storytelling came from the stories I told through my comedy writing. Finally, the court jester comes from my personality as a jokester and ability to make everyone in the room laugh.
The activities I participated in and the classes I took at Illinois helped me solidify my brand. I was so confident and excited about my brand that I even made business cards to reflect it!
If you are having trouble with your brand, or if you don’t know where to begin, many colleges and academic units have career advisors and services that exist to help students with issues like these. Also, the university is lucky to have the resources offered by the Career Center, including coaching related to LinkedIn, resumes, mock interviews, and more. They could help you figure out your brand. For more information on the Career Center, click here.