Francine Fabricant | CAREER COUNSELOR
3 Steps For Personal Branding

CCS_authors | 04 February 2013 | no comments

McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and White Castle are brands, with powerful marketing and promotional efforts to  help you differentiate and desire their products. Even though they all serve burgers and fries, most people would not mistake one for another. We’ve learned about them from their advertisements, our personal experiences, and their marketing choices. Somehow, we get a different feeling from each of them and we may like one over another.

Yes, You Have A Personal Brand!

Personal branding is a lot like branding in the business world. The big difference is that personal branding often happens to you, rather than by you, because many people donut make the effort to learn about personal branding and learn personal branding techniques.

Why do people like you? What skills and talents do you offer? Why do people rely on you? For instance, are you a good listener, are you good with technology, or do you know how to take photographs? These are the types of talents that may attract others. Whatever you’re known for – that’s your personal brand. Personal branding is the process of becoming more aware of your reputation, then shaping and promoting it intentionally.

With personal branding techniques, you can take charge of your reputation and improve your job search and career success. These three personal branding tips will get you started!

Step 1: Ask yourself how others see you.

The first step to building your brand is identifying some of the assets you could most easily brand, because they are already part of your reputation. To find out the best qualities you offer, ask the people you know why they would go to you for help, support, or advice. Ask them what special personal qualities, talents, or skills they think you can offer, and why they think you would be the right person to offer that assistance. Ask your friends, family members, a former boss, or your roommate. If they can’t think of something, ask them what they think is your reputation. Using different words or phrases, such as “go-to person” or “reputation,” can lead to new insights.

Step 2: Consider whether these are the qualities you want to brand for yourself, and then develop them further or make some changes!

Now that you’ve learned how others view you, decide if these qualities are important to you and if you’d like to be known for them. With this self-exploration, you’re deciding how you want to shape your personal brand.

Are these assets being honed, utilized, and enhanced through experiences?

After you decide which qualities are the ones you value, examine your activities, courses, and experiences to see where you use or build these strengths. If you aren’t developing them, consider adding new activities that make them part of your current experience. For instance, if you’re the one your friends go to for advice on their dating relationships, consider becoming a peer educator, taking a psychology class, or writing a column about dating in the school paper.

Step 3: Now, share your brand.

Look at your social media, and see if the message about your greatest assets comes through. Examine your resume. Look at your course list. As you go through all of the information and documents you have for yourself, look to see if these qualities you value come through. If not, consider if you need more experiences that back up these strengths, or if you just need to highlight them more.

As you better understand your personal brand, and choose activities that support it, you will find that your message starts to shine through, and soon you’ll have even more people seeking you out for the assets you want to use most!

Tell us how you are building your personal brand.

About The Author

Francine Fabricant_headshotFrancine Fabricant is a career counselor and the lead author of Creating Career Success. She has an extraordinary passion for career development, and is a frequent speaker on career topics. She has worked at the Columbia University Center for Career Education and FIT’s Career Services. She received an MA and EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University. Visit her website at

Learn About Internships

CCS_authors | 09 January 2013 | no comments

You’ve probably been told numerous times that you need to have an internship. In the Chapter 5: Explore of Creating Career Success, we discuss real-world career exploration, learning by doing, and the benefits of experiential learning.

An internship is the most common way to “learn by doing,” and similar programs may be referred to as externships or cooperative programs. There are also many other ways to learn on the job and from people in the workforce, such as job shadowing, site visits, employer visits to campus, part-time work, volunteer work, temporary work, and informational interviewing.

What is an internship?

An internship is a work experience that has a learning component. You—the intern—get hands-on experience as you contribute to the success of the business or organization. Ideally, internships are for those who lack professional experience, but are eager to explore a field while building skills, experience, and references. They can be paid or unpaid, and there are legal requirements employers must follow to ensure that interns are learning and not simply engaged in work tasks for which they are not being properly compensated. (For more information, visit the website for the National Association for Colleges and Employers.)

Why is it important to intern?

Perhaps most importantly, it will help test your beliefs about your career choice. If you think you want to be an accountant because you are good at math, an accounting internship is a chance to get to know the work environment, people, and culture. Internships also helps you develop critical skills, including specific job-related skills and professional skills that prepare you to manage yourself in the workplace. Finally, you may meet people at an internship who can serve as mentors, advisors, and advocates. Developing workplace connections is essential for building your network and obtaining meaningful professional references.

Before we finish, let’s go ahead and address some of the many myths floating around about internships:

Myth #1: My internship will be interesting and challenging all the time.

No internship— or job for that matter—is going to be both interesting and challenging 100% of the time. Employers sometimes give interns tedious projects that may seem like grunt work but that allow you to become familiar with procedures, accounts and other important aspects of the work. Proving yourself with seemingly unimportant projects may lead to your supervisor trusting you with bigger and more important work. But on the other hand if all you are doing is making coffee, picking up your supervisor’s dry cleaning and making her doctor appointments, you may need to speak to your supervisor or human resources about the purpose and goals of your internship.

Myth #2: If I don’t intern, I can’t get a job.

For the most part you don’t have to intern to get a job, but in today’s super competitive job market you need to make sure you are as marketable as possible—and interning is a great way to do that. In some fields, such as publishing, it is very difficult to get a job without doing an internship first.

Myth #3: I will get hired after completing my internship.

Some students mistakenly expect that they will be hired after completing an internship. Maybe you know someone who received an offer this way, or you’ve seen a company advertise that a position can lead to an offer. While many companies do look to former interns when hiring, there are no guarantees of future employment. The main purpose of the internship is to explore a field and develop skills.

Be on the lookout for our next blog about internships where we will cover how to find a summer internship. The skills, experience, and connections you can build through internships are invaluable in your career development.

Are you interning now or planning to look for an internship? What do you hope to gain through your internship experience?


About The Authora

Francine Fabricant_headshotFrancine Fabricant is a career counselor and the lead author of Creating Career Success. She has an extraordinary passion for career development, and is a frequent speaker on career topics. She has worked at the Columbia University Center for Career Education and FIT’s Career Services. She received an MA and EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University. Visit her website at

Jennifer Miller_croppedJennifer Miller, MBA, MSED is an Associate Professor and Counselor in the Career and Internship Center at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) since 2001. She is very knowledgeable and passionate about sustainability and social media. In addition to counseling she taught Career Planning for several years and currently teaches internship courses on Career Exploration and Career Planning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and she has two masters degrees; one in Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College in New York City, and one in Business Administration from Binghamton University.


Using Creating Career Success

I’m excited to share free resources, tips, and more to help you create your own success!

... read more


Francine Fabricant, MA, EdM helps people rethink their opportunities and build careers that are personally meaningful and rewarding. Lead author of Creating Career Success, Francine is a lecturer at Hofstra University Continuing Education and has also worked at Columbia University’s Center for Career Education and FIT’s Career Services. She holds degrees from Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University and is a frequent speaker on career topics.


Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive new posts by email.

Get in Touch

Success! Your message has been sent.