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Image of Jake May holding a laptop.

UWL Senior Jake May recaps his college experiences in a personal branding video. Participating in campus groups helped him learn about himself while connecting with people across campus from different majors. Overall, the relationships he has been able to build in college have exposed him to “some brilliant minds — students and faculty alike,” he says.

Class project challenges student to reflect on college years in a personal branding video

When UWL Senior Jake May started college it was like he was watching a mini movie about himself where he couldn’t predict the end. But, over time, the plot — and his path — became clearer.

“I didn’t have that passion or drive before — that has been the most impactful thing about college,” says May. “I see a future now and I see myself in that future I am passionate about.”

May says UW-La Crosse helped him realize his career goals in marketing and sales while getting the training and connections he needed to do it.

He took some time to reflect on all that he’s learned in college for a project during the spring semester. Scott Reber, UWL lecturer in management, challenged May and other students in his business communication class to create a personal branding video. The videos feature someone summarizing their own experiences, skills, interests and values that have prepared them for their career. The video supplements a cover letter and resume as part of a job application.

UWL Career Services hasn’t seen many employers requesting a personal branding video as a part of an application, but a well-done piece could be linked to a resume, giving the option to the employer to view the video if they wish, notes Becky Vianden, UWL director of Career Services. Career Services is available to assist students with crafting a personal branding statement. See more below.

UWL senior Jacob May, a marketing major and sustainable business minor, graduates in December. He says a personal branding video project last spring helped him reflect on everything he has done in college and how it has shaped him.

May calls making the personal branding video one of the most worthwhile projects in college — not only because it could be used in application for a job.

“Thinking back on the last four years and this college experience, you forget what you don’t think and act on daily,” says May. “Here was a project that made you reflect on all of those experiences that shaped you.”

In the video May explains how he’s gained skills from not only classes, but also participation in campus groups and internships. He started out in Chi Phi fraternity as a sophomore after a friend encouraged him to join. He eventually became the public relations chair for the group.

After Chi Phi, he joined UWL’s American Marketing Association chapter, which has provided him the opportunity to attend collegiate conferences, meet marketing alums, and gain more insight on personal branding and a marketing career through networking. Moreover, AMA and Chi Phi taught him about himself.

“AMA and Chi Phi helped me learn that I am a people person,” he says. “I like connecting with people face-to-face and that led to a marketing major. My major has allowed me to really hone those skills.”

The video also ties in May’s internship experience as a social media and marketing intern with Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions, LLC. More recently he became a client success manager intern at Kaplan Professional Education where he works closely with the company’s sales team. In addition to internships and school, May balances part-time work at the People’s Food Coop in La Crosse.

May says the video project — like college — was a lot of work. But, as he begins his search for a career after December graduation, he is glad he did both. The video challenged him to reflect on his college experience. And college challenged him to reflect on what he wants out of life.

“It’s been challenging but so worthwhile,” he says.


Creating a personal branding video

UWL Career Services does not have resources to help students create the actual video; however, advisors are available to help students create the content of a personal branding statement. This statement articulates who they are, their skills, values and what they are looking for in a job opportunity. Becky Vianden, UWL director of Career Services, encourages students to create a branding statement because all or part of it could be used in a variety of settings, such as at networking events, interviews, or simply when introducing oneself in a professional setting. The content could also be used in a personal branding video.