What Brand are You?

I just sent an email to my 2014 university hires with the following subject: “Campus Recruiting + Your Referrals + CAMPUS IS HERE, GET EXCITED.”

“Hey! I’m Courtney, the Campus Recruiter for Appian! Thanks so much for stopping by our booth! You’ve heard of us before? Ohhh, wow! You heard we were AWESOME? Ha! Well, you heard correctly, *Technology Enthusiast from UMD, UVA, Duke, MIT, Virginia Tech, and Dartmouth*; we ARE pretty awesome, indeed.”

Believe it or not, folks: within the first few days of the start of the school year, employers will be or have already been flooding your campus in search of the best and brightest (see definition of “best and brightest” in my first blog post).

Not even kidding, guys.

We’ve already thrown our first campus events at the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia on Tuesday, September 2nd, and Wednesday, September 3rd (respectively) which, coincidentally, fell within the first week of classes (I know, I knowI can’t believe it either!).  The photo above? It was taken at the Cupcake Social we threw at UMD (pretty cool, right?).

What this means for you:  if you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to start thinking about your personal brand. What is a personal brand? you ask. Well, let me give you an example:

Take, for instance, Sean.  We met Sean last year at the MIT fall career fair — one of the busiest, most bustling career fairs in the nation.  Can you guess how many students we met at the MIT career fair?  Like, hundreds.  Pretty much every. single. student. fit neatly within the following profile: “Senior, Computer Science/Engineering/Business major, high GPA, interested in working for an amazing company, etc.”

Okaaay, great! So…what’s your name again? (You haven’t told me anything that sets you apart from everyone else majoring in Computer Science/Engineering/Business, touting a 3.7 GPA, TA-ing for Super Advanced Java class!)

Anyway — back to Sean. Sean played on the MIT baseball team! In addition to being incredible at coding, and amazing at Chemistry, Sean loooooves playing baseball.

And what about Kelsey? I spoke with hundreds of students at the Duke career fairs, all with similar backgrounds, but what stood out for me most were students like Kelsey — a member of one of Duke’s A Capella groups — and Kelsey loooves to sing.

Aside from the fact that they are both brilliant and talented (and currently work at Appian!), what do candidates like Sean and Kelsey have in common?

Passion.

Believe me when I say that we are looking for not only the best and brightest, but also some of the most passionate people the world can offer us.

Passionate (adj.): showing or caused by strong feelings or a strong belief

Not only that.

What Sean and Kelsey have also done is thought about their brand — characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the attendees at these insanely packed career fairs.

If you haven’t done this, think about the following questions: Have you participated in any extra-curricular activities about which you are exceptionally passionate? Do you have any hobbies that are either listed or not listed on your resume at which you excel? Or, put simply: What do you LOVE doing? What is it about who you are that makes you who you are?

So, before you attend career fairs (which are inevitably approaching — we are at Duke this week!), I ask you to think about what might give you that extra “Wow!” factor. I meet thousands of students every semester, and the ones who stand out, quite frankly, are the ones whose eyes light up when I ask them: “So, *Name*, tell me: who are you?”  Most often, the answer I receive has absolutely nothing to do with professional accomplishments…

..and those, future Appianites, are my very favorite types of answers. 🙂

-Courtney Connolly, Campus Recruiter