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IMC'ing you: professor teaches personal branding strategies

“Imagine a company that you would like to work for, and picture the kind of work you would like to be doing at this fictitious company,” said Tom Collinger, executive director of Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center, to a crowd of Medill students and faculty. “Now here’s the question I want you to answer in one sentence: why should they hire you?”

Collinger spoke to students about personal branding and how they can “IMC themselves” to separate from the pack in the interview process on Tuesday, April 29. He said companies look for applicants that display a strong-sense of self-awareness.

Tom Collinger IMC Yourself

“If you know your strengths, and you also know what your limitations are, you’re going to work to find a way to fill those gaps working with other people, collaborating and doing research,” Collinger said. “A good fit is not just what [companies] want, it’s also what you want. It’s where you are going to do your best work.”

When building your rich network of relationships, wait to get to know people before asking to add them on your LinkedIn profile, Collinger said.

“You are asking them to vouch for you,” Collinger said. “That is a big deal. So when you make the ask, make the ask in a way that doesn’t make that person feel like he or she is one of a thousand people you are sending [the link request].”

Professor Collinger's presentation was extremely helpful in easing the stress associated with the job search process in a systematic and relatable way, said Aaron Ran AN, Co-Chair of the Medill Asian Student Association (IMC 14).

"Now I understand better the difference of being strategic and tactical," Ran AN said. "We are the most valuable brand we have and we should manage it strategically." 

As he closed, Collinger emphasized that no matter how well you plan, circumstances can change and you have to be open to change and just be yourself.

“Careers are what happen in the rear-view mirror, it’s not what you planned out,” Collinger said. ”People hire people. They don’t just hire a list of experiences.”