From a lemonade stand to a photography business in high school, Marie Armstrong has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
She had so many interests that it was difficult to narrow her goals to one specific thing. While she initially wasn’t sure if college was for her, Marie decided to study Business and Management Information Systems.
True to form, she had several internships in different areas, including financial software, marketing, and technical project management. She wanted to be well-rounded and have lots of different skills. It paid off: after graduating this past May, she landed a full-time job at Microsoft as a technical account manager.
When her friends noticed that she was having an easier time getting interviews than they were, they started asking her advice on personal branding and how to sell yourself for a job.
And that’s the same reason Marie is joining us on the podcast today!
In the episode below, she discusses why personal branding is important, how to stand out to employers, how to stand out in an interview and get a job if you’re not a straight-A student, and how to brand yourself—including creating a logo, a website and a strong social media presence—to get your name out there.
- When you’re competing to get an internship, try and bring something to the interview that others won’t bring. That could be your personal experience, your personality, or your creativity. Consider what sets you apart from the rest.
- Soft skills are just as important, if not more important, than hard skills, especially when it comes to technical interviews.
- Hard skills can be learned, so you don’t have to check off every box on the job’s list before you go for it. Show the skills you already have plus a willingness to learn the rest, and you’ll have a great chance!
- Good personal branding and having a strong presence online, like a strong LinkedIn profile, is important. Creating your own website is great too, even if you're not a developer. It's a great place to showcase all of your current projects and your creative side (e.g. a website about rock climbing, art, etc. can show drive and personality).
- Grades aren’t everything. If you’re getting lower grades in a certain area, that means you could work harder in a different area or work hard to get the experience that outshines your grades. After college, you often won’t even need to worry about how to explain bad grades, since there are plenty of companies that don't care about GPA. Instead, focus on showing them where you shine.
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Special thanks to this episode’s sponsors
Thinkful: With online programs, flexible classes, and one-on-one mentoring, Thinkful’s Product Design program can help you land a job as a product designer. To get $500 off, go to learntocodewith.me/thinkful.