Career Services

Three projects to tackle while social distancing

CO-VID 19 is changing the world’s perspectives in many aspects, from higher education to home office, from health care systems to climate change. In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, “CO-VID 19 has brought a time of disruption. A disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and an enormous change in the daily lives of us all.” In this blog post series, I want to give you three ideas of things to do to make the disruptions in your daily life smoother. 

In the spring semester, students and faculty from all over the world have demonstrated an unprecedented amount of resilience battling through a challenging academic semester, therefore summer comes as a well deserved time for mental and physical rest. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I came back to my home country, Brazil, a process that put me in a 14-day self-isolation period, and I had to come up with projects to fight boredom. I am doing all of these three things myself, and as a disclaimer, as much as they make my quarantine better, quarantine is still quite difficult. It’s important to embrace the emotional hardship of these times and to remember that your value is not based on your productivity.

This post covers the first project of the series: create value-driven personal branding.

Create value-driven personal branding

Personal branding means crafting and marketing yourself and your career as a brand. You can start by deciding three or four values that are most important to you, then curating all the content you put out in the world to be aligned with those values and demonstrating a vision that makes you unique. To ignite your feelings about values, you can ask yourself these questions:

  1. What problem in the world am I most passionate about solving?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. What do I want to be known for?

Answering these questions will help you to brand yourself before others do. Peter Nez, professor at Chapman University and Personal Branding expert cleverly states that your personal brand is “the ultimate currency in the 21st century.

Engage in online courses about personal branding:

Here are two LinkedinLearning courses to get you started (they’re free for Menlo students!): 

Course overview: “Your personal brand is your reputation and legacy. A strong personal brand can lead to job and career opportunities. A weak personal brand leaves you liable to be passed by. In this course, personal branding expert Lida Citroën helps you identify what your personal brand is now and align it with the brand you want for yourself in the future.”

Course overview: “When it comes to social media, you need more than just a well-lit headshot and a witty tagline to cut through the noise. Professionals of all stripes—from amateur food bloggers to CEOs—need to craft a strong, authentic personal brand that’s consistent across multiple social media platforms.” 

Create your online portfolio:

This will undoubtedly increase your online visibility and presence. Your online portfolio is a lot more than just the online version of your resume. While many of us struggle to keep our resumes on one page, your online portfolio can have as many details as you want. 

It also allows you to include pictures, files, slide decks, work samples, recommendation letters, and external links that will showcase your projects a lot better than one or two lines of your resume. The external resources will automatically increase the credibility of all the information you have on your CV. There are many platforms with hundreds of online portfolio templates for you to build your own smoothly:

  • Digication
  • Wix
  • WordPress
  • Weebly
  • DoYouBuzz

For my personal portfolio, I chose Wix because their templates are super user-friendly. After choosing your CV or portfolio template, put all the information you already have in your resume, then add external sources, experiment with different color palettes, fonts, and design styles. The advantage of having the online portfolio is that it can serve as the full version of your portfolio, and every time you apply for a job or internship, you can select the experiences that are more relevant for the job description. Here are some examples of online portfolios from Wix website:

Online portfolio from Menlo Student Basil Merk ’23

If you want to see my full online portfolio, here’s the result of my quarantine project www.biancabarros.com. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you would like guidance on how to start your online portfolio.

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