COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

For previous generations, the concept of brands and branding was restricted to companies and corporations trying to sell you their products.  It went hand in hard with marketing and, like many things, has developed and evolved over time.  For the modern jobseeker, as well as for professionals looking to advance in their careers, personal branding has become much more important.  Branding has taken a step away from the strictly corporate spheres and has become a way of standing out from the crowd on a personal level.  Without personal branding, a person’s career can stagnate.  So, with that in mind, I will reflect on my own “brand”, such as it is.

Photo by Eva Elijas on

What would my personal brand entail?  I am an English teacher by trade, specialising in IELTS preparation, which is an area of study which is increasingly important among non-native English speakers.  For those not in the know, IELTS is an international standardised examination used to grade people’s level of English language knowledge and competency.  IELTS scores are primarily used for entry to English-speaking universities and colleges for people whose background and education did not take place in English.  It is also used for immigration purposes and to determine the language requirements for citizenship.  As such, it is a niche, but rewarding area to specialise in.

Photo by Thirdman on

So, what makes me special in the world of IELTS?  Unlike many of my competitors, I decided to specialise early in my career and have been able to build up extensive experience teaching in a variety of countries.  While living in Russia, I trained to be a writing and speaking examiner, which gave me insider insight into how the examination is run.  Lately, I have been developing this specialist knowledge further by taking on the added responsibility of supervising the administration of the examinations.  As such, I am able to offer my students comforting advice about the entire examination process, which helps to put their minds at ease when they are stressed about their results.  For many, IELTS is their gateway to escaping a place or a situation that they do not want to be in, or a method of achieving their dreams.  Being able to help them with that is the best part of my job.

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If my colleagues were to pick out my best trait, it would be my ability to relate to my students and their situation.  I have been where they are now.  I have learned another language (several, actually), and have struggled to communicate in that language.  I have made mistakes and caused confusion, and I have felt embarrassed when speaking with native speakers in their mother tongue.  I have lived abroad and have compassion for those who struggle to adapt through their culture shock.  I am also an immigrant to Canada, having moved here almost five years ago from the UK.  I know what it is like to desperately want to emigrate to another country for a better life.  I have also taken the IELTS exam myself, as it is a requirement for all Permanent Residency applications to this country, no matter the mother tongue of the applicant.  Having been in their shoes and knowing what success in this exam means to them sets me apart from the average IELTS teacher and allows me to give personal advice that cannot be given by every teacher.

Photo by Andre Furtado on

So, what am I most proud of?  I’m proud of my students for achieving their scores and reaching their dreams.  I’m proud of myself for helping them to reach those goals.  I am proud of my tenacity in pursuing my own dreams and using my experiences to influence others.  I am also thankful for the opportunities to see the world that this career has afforded me.  I am grateful that my choice to specialise and work at building a system of lessons that can change people’s lives for the better has benefitted not only myself, but also others.  I’m not someone who likes to brag, but in this instance, I am proud to be myself, and I hope that my personal brand reflects this.

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Blog #5 – COM0014 – Personal Brand

Blog #5 – COM0014 – Personal Brand

One’s personal brand can be hard to define. It requires a lot of introspection which can be difficult for some people, myself included. I have worked in the hospitality industry for over twenty years and that has shaped my personality and thus my personal brand. Long hours and hard physical work has most definitely contribute to the person I have become. For the last fourteen years I have worked in a local live music venue where I am a Bartender, Social Media Manager and the Event Coordinator. I work with the public and because of that I have well developed communication skills and I am good with people. However, spending a lot of time surrounded by people can be taxing and sometimes, I am very happy to be alone doing yoga, cycling or reading a good book. 

Image Source: Selfie

            I am a huge supporter of live music and the Arts in Ottawa and I feel that that is important to my personal brand because it is the motivation for the work that I do, and I am proud of that. I am driven, trustworthy, fair and honest, creative, yet strong willed and perhaps a little too stubborn at times, I am a Taurus after all. I do like to have fun and that’s why organizing events is something I truly enjoy doing. It gives me great pleasure to create an environment where people are happy, safe and thoroughly enjoying themselves. I live for the nights where the band and the patrons are in sync and the love can be felt in the room. I believe that this is something that others would say is one of my best traits, I am a true host. 

            The last year and a half has been difficult because the live music industry has basically been put on hold and because of that I have had to re-evaluate my place in life. This was very hard for me, but I think that I have grown a lot as a person during this time. I returned to School in September of 2020 at the age of 39 and have since completed the Marketing Management Graduate Certificate program through Algonquin and I graduate with honours this coming Wednesday. This is something that I feel makes me stand out because I have developed a new set of skills and I have a renewed sense of confidence. This experience has allowed me to see that I am capable of accomplishing anything I put my mind to. I am sincerely looking forward to the day when we can begin to have live music again I can again create an atmosphere where people can have fun and enjoy the talented folks in the music industry in Ottawa.

My Personal Brand

As a freelance model, I had to think quite often what kind of qualities or characteristics set me apart from models in my area.
One might be obvious. My red hair and my fair skin.

But the reason why some photographers keep booking me again or recommend me to their colleagues is that I am very professional, reliable, friendly, kind, confident and disciplined.

If need be, I can also plan and organize a hole photoshoot with a few days or offer an idea to a photographer. All of this I learned in the past 6 years of working as a model.

I have a Facebook business page and Instagram page for my modeling where I post about every two weeks. I also joined modeling and photography groups on Facebook to network and find new contacts for photoshoots (since I am still fairly new in town). Even when I do not post new content in those groups often, I do comment and/or engage on posts of other photographers and models.

After Covid-19 I plan to start meeting with photographers again. This time with photographers I have not made any photos yet to expand my network.

Any tips and tricks you can share with me? Then please, leave me a comment! Thank you.

COM0014 – Blog #5: Personal Brand

As someone who is just starting out, I am in the process of building my personal brand. I’ve found that when job hunting, being able to represent oneself as a brand is essential. In this assignment description, it says “What do you do that you are most proud of? It’s okay to brag!” I’ve always found it uncomfortable to brag, as such I’ve found answering questions such as the one above difficult to answer. However, for the purposes of this blog assignment, here is my personal brand:

I am a film enthusiast, feminist, ardent learner and quiet rebel. Some of my personal qualities and characteristics which set me apart from my competitors are my willingness to think outside the box, my love of research, and critical thinking skills. In the past year, I’ve spoken at a conference about my research: The Change in Women’s Writing, A Case Study for English Literature and Film Studies, which is something which I am proud of having done. Being able to contribute to the knowledge making in the fields of film studies and feminism has been a very rewarding experience. I hope to continue to contribute to the field of film in the future and am working towards that goal. As a result to help me with this objective, I am continuing to learn and acquire skills and knowledge, for example by taking a social media certification program. 

Before ending this post, I’d like to share Amanda Miller’s article entitled “How to blow your own horn, without embarrassment or apology,” which I found helpful when starting to think of my personal brand and how to write about my accomplishments. I hope that anyone reading this, who might have trouble writing and talking about their successful achievements, will also find it helpful. 

COM0014 – Blog 5: Brand Me

I am a communications professional who currently manages social media for an Ottawa-based nonprofit. Several things set me apart from other professionals in my field.

There are a lot of people out there with skillsets and experience similar to mine.
A key part of my personal brand is what makes me stand out. GIF source: Giphy

First, I have a lot of experience in delivering high-stakes communications campaigns in difficult operational environments. Such environments include post-conflict nations, characterized by repressive political system, endemic corruption, and deep-seated suspicion of foreign-funded projects. I know how to move forward and secure crucial allies in seemingly hopeless situations. This means that I can be a valuable asset to internationally funded development projects and initiatives working in such places.

I have delivered successful communications campaigns in difficult
operational environments. GIF source: Giphy

Second, I am good at crafting messages that resonate with various audiences. In my current role, I develop a lot of social media content focusing on digital safety. The people I work with often commend my ability to explain complex and technical terms or processes in plain language. I have recently begun using comics to convey digital safety advice.

I am good at writing for various audiences. GIF source: Giphy

Finally, I have a sharp analytical mind that allows me to see patterns amidst thousands of data points, extract key information from these patterns, and pinpoint connections between seemingly unrelated events and developments. In addition to my social media work, I help the organization I work for to understand and position itself to capitalize on major political, economic and social developments in the regions where we operate. I am particularly proud of this aspect of my work.

Blog 5 – COM 0014 Do people know who you are?

These courses are designed to make you think and the one that I always get stuck on is describing my personal brand. To do this I have to dig deep into the part of myself that has been hammered at since kindergarten that says “don’t make a scene, don’t draw attention to yourself, just fit in”. I have an aversion to sticking out in a crowd, I’m the one that likes to sit back and observe and only make a scene if the scene is warranted. Now I’m about to lay it all out and share the best of me.

In my work group I am known as the “Organizer”, the one people come to when they can’t find the file that they are sure they put somewhere easy to remember, or the one they rely on to source out supplies and get them ordered. I don’t mind this title now because I’m usually the one that puts the files in locations that my brain understands where to find them and going onto websites to find supplies is sometimes like a puzzle when you have to find websites selling the items you are looking for. I say now because, when you try to personally analyze what is special about you or what makes you remarkable, being organized doesn’t sound that flashy. But being organized has help me do my job more efficiently and has helped others when they don’t know where to look for something.

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We recently purchased a new photo storage filing system for our department, and I was the one to test and decide if it was going to work for our department. Now that it is in place, I will be responsible for training my co-workers how to use the system which will help them in the long run when they are trying to find specific images.

So I guess being organized has some perks, I get to feel like I have something to offer when one of my co-workers comes to me with a question “Hey do you know where such and such is, or do you know where I can find such and such to order”. And sometimes, just to mess with them I like to re-arrange the folders to ensure that I will always have a job as the “Organizer”!

When Life gives you lemons…

When describing one’s personal brand it is as individual as we are, we all have different skills, personality, values and goals. Unlike some of my friends and co-workers, I have always had the reputation to turn a negative situation into an opportunity area. I have given one of my favorite quotes which is in the image at the beginning of this blog.

When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade….Then try to find somebody whose life has given them gin, and have a cocktail hour!

As for my work ethics my employer has several times mentioned my natural ability to being resourceful in identifying clients needs and the capability of designing a solution that will fulfill their requests. With having a vast knowledge, being able to multi task and having excellent people skills keeps myself an asset to the owners of the company.

I am in my mid 50s now and for 27 years I have been in a shipping / receiving work environment. Due to a critical injury at work my shipping / receiving career was no longer. After 2 1/2 yrs of rehab my friends and relatives suggested to me about  taking the easy route by going on disability. I worked with WSIB, Agilec Employment Consultants and a local company Ontrac to get funding to retrain for suitable employment. I was very eager and willing to add to my knowledge base along with updating and learning new skills.

My positive attitude towards retraining drew my present day employers attention to look at me for a new position within their expanding company. They were looking for certain traits in the ideal candidate, honesty, trustworthy and professionalism were the top three. The ideal lemonade cocktail was being mixed right before my eyes. I am so happy with the path I took and have never looked back to the Y in the road. I feel really good having  retained my dignity to this day!

Below is link for a recipe for a pregnant wife.

The Pregnant Wife favorite cocktail