By Vanessa Dreher
He’s young, hip and living it up as a public relations professional in the cultured city of Orlando, Florida. Miguel de la Rosa, 26, has achieved the dreams of any recent college graduate or current student: he has a thriving career in his field of choice. But getting there wasn’t easy.
De la Rosa hit the ground running with a goal of getting an internship his freshman year at Indiana State University. He had nothing on his portfolio or resume that made him marketable yet, but he did have something to his advantage: he was willing to learn. Although he hadn’t quite mastered the ins and outs of his field, he was ready to take in the experiences from those around him.
During the second semester of his freshman year, de la Rosa landed a position with the Walt Disney World Company as a College Program Intern. After the program, he became a campus representative. Here, he worked on email copy, social media and blog posts aimed at recruiting other college students to apply for the internship program. De la Rosa wanted more than to just receive college credit; he wanted to become a part of something larger and to be a catalyst for change.
“I knew that thousands of people applied to the Disney College Program, and how competitive it really was,” said de la Rosa.
De la Rosa’s college degree is in marketing. He used skills that he learned in school to continue to sell himself to land more internships, and to eventually have one of his internships become a full-time job, where he still works today.
“I see a lot of students at USF do a really fantastic job at marketing themselves,” said de la Rosa. “It’s how you present yourself.”
After graduation, de la Rosa took a risk and packed up his bags to move to Orlando. His love of the culture, area and vast network made this decision easy.
He joined Your Brand Voice, a startup digital marketing agency and helped the company grow immensely through his expertise in strategic management. He was the agency’s first employee, aside from the father-son duo that started the company.
“I had the chance to be a part of a growing business,” said de la Rosa.
As an intern, he brought design, video production, social media and email copy to the table. As a full-time employee and account manager he truly became a jack-of-all-trades. The company has since hired several new employees.
“Here I am today, still involved with the same agency, Your Brand Voice. I am now the project director, and I’m developing internal and external strategies,” said de la Rosa.
Clients of Your Brand Voice range from small to large and include Disney Golf and the University of South Florida Alumni Association. The campaigns developed for the USF Alumni Association connect recent alumni with older alumni, encouraging them to become members. The campaign was very successful. The original goal was 70 new members, and they achieved 150.
De la Rosa believes in the strength of using the internet to market. Your Brand Voice focuses solely on digital marketing, rather than on traditional advertisements. He believes that it is important to focus on how you can reach people on the one device they always carry: their smartphone.
“People are consuming more and more content on their device or on the internet,” said de la Rosa. “What we do isn’t going away.”
De la Rosa advises students to see themselves as their own brand and business. He says that it is all about the mindset, and that it is so important for students to conduct themselves as if they were a company.
“Negotiate why you deserve that spot on the team,” said de la Rosa. “Don’t let them look at you as if you’re disposable.”