While many people have discussed the need for a personal brand, online profile or web based resume, students need to recognize that before they can do any of those things, they should have the D.E.S.I.R.E. to discover their value by assessing, branding and communicating that value to the marketplace. D.E.S.I.R.E. is a six word acronym (Demonstrate, Explain, Show, Illustrate, Reveal and Exhibit).
- Demonstrate an ability to assess personal and professional traits and habits. Students should be proactive and clearly state those traits or habits that hold the most value for others looking to either hire them or work with them in some other capacity. Doing so will help differentiate themselves since most students overlook this critical foundational step.
- Explain their value proposition in a compelling phrase of seven words or less. Students need to create a phrase that allows them to advocate for themselves in a clear, concise and compelling manner. Doing so will help others understand how the student differentiates from others.
- Show the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. A clear and compelling website will provide an excellent example of the student’s ability to communicate in a clear and effective manner. This is extremely important since employers are looking for graduates/employees who have outstanding communication skills.
- Illustrate success factors. Success factors allow students to present their top experiences in a well organized and concise fashion. Publishing success factors on a web site allows the student to update them on a regular basis. As students participate in international education experiences they should revise their success factors accordingly.
- Reveal a level of comfortableness with transparency. As Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams wrote in Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, "Transparency is a growing force in the networked economy.” While it is unadvisable to expose all personal and professional information online, it will behoove students and young professional to work towards being transparent with as much information as legally permissible and that affords them a high degree of comfort. As students participate in experiential travel opportunities they should consider being transparent about their experience and update their web site where they went and provide a link to the program’s site.
- Exhibit testimonials. Students should complement their transparency with statements from co-workers, teachers and other professionals. Doing so creates a sense of authenticity in addition to the transparency of one’s online reputation. Students involved with off-campus internship programs should consider asking their workplace supervisor to provide a quote. Such a testimonial makes it easy for potential employers to view references at their convenience.
As Clive Thompson noted in Wired “Google is not a search engine. Google is a reputation-management system.” Students participating in off-campus programs and looking to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive and every changing global economy should have the D.E.S.I.R.E. to create and maintain their online reputation with purpose, intention and clarity.
Note: The ABCs of Marketing Yourself is now available as an e-book. Click here for more information.
"Discover Your Value (DYV)" is a 14-part blog series that helps individuals learn how to communicate their value to others with an emphasis on their international experience. Michael Edmondson, Ph.D., is the Director of Marketing and Recruitment for The Philadelphia Center. He and Peter Abramo, Ph.D., are the authors of The ABCs of Marketing Yourself: A Workbook for College Students, upon which this series of blog posts is based. You can follow Michael on Twitter at @ThinkActGrow.