Finding Passion and Purpose

By: Mackie Abergel, VP of Communications

As a freshman at GW I had the pleasure of being an intern at Street Sense, a bi-weekly newspaper with the mission to elevate voices and spark conversations about poverty and injustice. Daily tasks had to be met, but while I was in the office I was there to connect with our vendors - reviewing their articles for the paper or explaining what “trending” means on Facebook. More often than not though, I listened to their experiences and stories about their friends. Through one of the most ignored groups in DC, the homeless, I learned what a profound effect human connection - in person or digitally - has on individual happiness.

The story above is how I found my passion for social media and digital strategy with the purpose of assisting people to connect with each other, brands and ideas.

When you are new to internships or are entering the “real world” (me!) and figuring out how to brand yourself, even if you don’t know your career passion or purpose, it is important to tell your story. A resume is a string of accomplishments - but not who you are and what you can bring to the table, or office. Here are steps and tips I’ve found useful in creating my personal brand story.

  • List 3 qualities about yourself that have nothing to do with experience

Are you curious, resilient, and daring? Are you intuitive, humble and observant? Focus on integrating these traits into your brand story and it will help convey the type of employee you will be long-term.

  • Ask yourself what you value most and why

A story sucks if no one can relate to it, so the key here is the why. For example, in my story I focused on the value of connection and my “why” was the happiness that comes from it. If you have a chance in your cover letter or interview, share your why and give an example. This glimpse into your life makes you so much more relatable.

  • Be authentic

It’s easy to research a company and try to craft your story in a way that sounds appealing to them, but don’t. The best way to engage an audience you want to impress is by being unapologetically yourself. Staying firm to your abilities, qualities and values allows you to also interview the company you’re applying with.

Finding passion and purpose is a dynamic process that can seem daunting. Creating and staying true to your personal brand story makes it a little easier. In the words of Maya Angelou, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”.