Students who are just entering the workforce often have the skills and the knowledge to do the job but lack the personal “branding” that gives them the edge when it comes to interviewing and presenting themselves to a future employer. The SkillsUSA organization serves just under 360,000 students across the country, making sure they have the skills and resources they need to brand themselves effectively.
Students who are going to school for skilled service, trade, and technical occupations can join their school’s SkillsUSA program and get the skills they need to be effective as well as productive in the workplace. The skills they provide help to build the framework that each student needs to get from the classroom to the boardroom or any other skilled trade position they may choose. Academics is the foundation that is used to build workplace and technical skills that help each student achieve their personal best. Competitions are held at the local, state, and national levels, allowing students to compete against their peers and receive recognition for all of the hard work they put in to earning their degrees.
Helping Students to Build Their Brand
The “What’s In Your Brand? Build a personal brand that works for you” program is designed to help students put themselves in the best light possible before going in to sit for an interview. Just like corporate franchises have a “brand”, each student learns to create a trademark for themselves that identifies them both as a person and as a professional. Their brand is a representation of what they stand for, what they want to achieve, and the work they have put into getting where they are.
The “build a brand” project has three main areas in which each student participates. They go through an interview, a resume review, and a session in which they are given suggestions on how to polish their image. Interviewers go over basic interview questions and evaluate the student. Their resumes are reviewed and each student receives pointers on how to tune them to stand out. By the end of the session, students have a wealth of information they can use to build a brand for themselves that will set them head and shoulders above other prospective candidates.
The Wiregrass Connection
Lydia Hubert, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Wiregrass Technical College said, “Wednesday we had 37 students go through, and Thursday we had 21. We are expecting even more students for Tuesday’s event as we serve our Allied Health students.” Campus Life Coordinator Kelley Wetherington helped set up and manage the event, making sure everything ran smoothly. The event lasted three days, Wednesday, November 28th, Thursday, November 29th, and Tuesday, December 4th, allowing students from each of the different technical and trade areas of Wiregrass to participate. Wiregrass’ SkillsUSA chapter hosted the event using criteria from the organizations program to help the students prepare.
Preparing Students for the Future
Part of the SkillsUSA program is providing students with opportunities to exercise their job search skills. This includes concepts used in the “What’s Your Brand?” program. Business owners and other professionals, like South Georgia Today’s Lynn Loftus, volunteer their time to help the students get a feel for the interview process. As a part of South Georgia Today’s sales team, Lynn understands the pressure many of these students feel as they begin their job search. “They need these skills so they can make a good impression.”
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of SkillsUSA and Wiregrass’ “What’s Your Brand?” program is to provide students with the skills they need to always put their best foot forward. By building their brand, they also create a unique sense of self. This gives them the confidence to walk into an interview with the skills and knowledge to perform whatever is asked of them and shine while doing it. With the help of local business owners and mentors, the students at Wiregrass can benefit from the training tools SkillsUSA offers. As the get closer and closer to graduation, events like this will help them not only build their brand but gain the confidence and self-assurance they need to succeed in reaching every goal they set for themselves.