A Case For Introspection

“You should withdraw inwardly and search for the ground upon which you stand, thereby you will find out what truth is.”  Yun-Men Wen-yen

Like many in the career advice field, over the past year I’ve been researching and incorporating the concepts of personal branding and the use of social media in the job search.  Those two concepts have been joined at the hip by many, since often the focus of personal branding is on the communication of that brand, especially through the use of new media.

As I have probed, explored, and, in fact, become a voice for proactive use of them, I have simultaneously felt the need to make the case that personal branding still begins with thorough and on-going exploration of the self.  Digital natives and even those somewhat-more technologically challenged are drawn to the relative ease with which one can begin reaping benefits from the use of social media.  It’s easy to just roll up your sleeves, create some accounts and begin projecting oneself out into the world.

What seems to be undervalued, or at least under-discussed, in this wave of personal branding coverage is the process of introspection that should be the genesis of any person’s “brand.”  That isn’t to say that there is no value to be had simply by, for example, setting up a Twitter account and having conversations with people of interest.  Indeed, those conversations can be a valuable part of the exploration process. But, I think it’s important that we, as student affairs professionals, make sure we’re helping students to learn and utilize the tools of the day without skipping over the processes of contemplation that should drive so much of their decision making about jobs, careers and life.

What tools are you using to help students be both introspective and extrospective?

(cross posted on The Student Affairs Blog)

Gary Alan Miller

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