Branding will set you apart. When it’s time to graduate and find a job, your classmates suddenly become your competition. How are you going to stand out from the thousands of other new graduates? By creating a personal brand that helps others better understand what you’re all about.
Unless you’re majoring in public relations, chances are you haven’t given much thought to branding yourself while you’re still in college. However, you should know that establishing a strong brand is absolutely essential to your success, and you should get started as soon as you can. Here are a few points to keep in mind when setting your own personal brand as a college student.
Consider your focus. If you’re graduating as a chef, do you want to be known as the person who will take just about any job in the food service industry, or as the chef with an area of expertise? Think about what you really want to focus on, and make your passion known so that you’re known as the professional to go to for your specialty.
Go online. Offline branding is important, but online branding can give you a lot of payoff for not much work. Put a little time into building your online identity as an authority in your chosen field. Claim your name on social networking sites and gain control over your reputation. And once you’re set up, don’t abandon them. Check in occasionally to network and find out what’s going on in your area of expertise. You just might find out about opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else.
Read and write until you just can’t anymore. Surely you’re spending many hours in college reading and writing until your eyes cross. But find the time to do just a little bit more. Pick up magazines related to your industry, read blogs, and take advantage of your library’s journal subscriptions to stay on top of the latest in your industry. You want to build an authoritative knowledge that you can share with others through writing and even speaking opportunities. Seek out a printed publication where you can get a byline. Speak at a meeting for a group of students in your major. Employers love to see that others care about what you know about, and what you have to say.
With a strong personal brand in place, you’ll find that you’ll have an easier time finding a job after graduation than you would otherwise no matter where you are looking – Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah, Alaska. Employers appreciate a student who has taken the time to think about their focus and work on making a name for themselves. Use these tips to build your own personal brand for success.