BRANDING YOURSELF AS A COLLEGE STUDENT
Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffett are three different people that work in three different fields--but, they’re considered some of the world’s most powerful people. One of the top reasons is because they branded themselves well--personally and professionally. Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. As a college student, it ’s crucial for you to start your personal branding because your brand says a lot about you as a person and a professional.
My mentor, Maurice Bretzfield, always tells me whenever you apply for an internship or a job recruiter will look at your resume and then Google you. Therefore, it’s important for you to know how to develop a brand for yourself that is unique and professional. It will make you stand out in front of a recruiter in a pool of thousands of applicants.
Here are 5 tips on how you can brand yourself:
1. Create a LinkedIn Profile and make sure it’s BANGING.
LinkedIn is one of the most important platforms for a college student. LinkedIn is a platform that helps you connect with professionals in every field and every company. I personally used the platform to connect with many recruiters and professionals in Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn is great for a variety of purposes, one of them is groups. You can find these groups that align with your interest or career field--they allow you to collaborate and learn from other professionals in the field. Here is a guide to join groups: Finding and Joining A LinkedIn Group. Aside from groups, LinkedIn is also a great way to showcase your professional journey with many professionals around the world. You can share career updates, stories, tips for success, and everything in-between. In my opinion, it is the best way to network with other professionals that can help you build your career. If you can utilize it properly, you can get interviews that lead to internships and full-time jobs through the platform. Here is a great article on this article written by one of my closest friends, Kenny Soto on How to Use LinkedIn to Get Interviews.
2. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are also part of your brand.
Yes, LinkedIn is a great platform to build your online brand, connect with professionals, and get awesome opportunities. But, it’s not the only one. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are very important platforms that also play a crucial role in your personal branding. Depending on how you use them, you can be more personal and less professional--but still showcase who you are, what type of things interest you and what your goals and ambitions are. This allows you to let your professional guard down and be more chill. You should also know you can definitely choose to only use it for friends and family. Some people do this to separate professional from personal. However, the opportunity to mix the two is very attractive for many young people trying to build a following and stand out. You can let your guard down and allow others to see who you are as a person. You should be very mindful of the content you put up regardless because anyone can find anything you put online. Here are a few ideas for your FB/Insta/Twitter: share your trips to different places, updates on your life, photo shoots with friends, videos about things you are good at, the food you are eating (if you really really want to) and the people you are hanging out with because no one wants to hire a boring person. It’s also important to share the right content which I will be talking about next. When recruiters are hiring someone, they always want to know who you are as a person and who you are engaging with, so it’s very important for you to keep your social media very engaging with your amazing experiences.
3. Create, document, and engage with content
Now that you have 5-6 platforms, you need to know how to utilize these platform to maximize your outcome. That’s where content comes in handy. Everything that you do can be turned into content, such as the time you went to a conference, you can write a short article about what you learn from the event. When you have a meeting with your mentor and learned something new, make sure you write about it too. Say you went to visit a country, write about your experience. If there is some topic you’re good at, write about it, or if there is some topic you’re interested in learning more about, you can do your research, learn, and then write about what you have learned. These are some examples of how you can write about anything to help others understand how unique you are. Content doesn’t always have to be writing, it can be pictures and videos. If you’re not good at writing (like me), you can always make short videos about anything. It’s all about creating content and engaging with people on the Internet.
4. Create a personal website
Now that you have your social media, your accomplishments, your experiences and your content, you need a place to showcase it all at once. People are usually visual, so the more you can show, the better. Your resume shows the things you have done professionally. On your personal site, you can take someone to your blog and show why you are unique and be very engaging. By featuring your work, experiences, awards and other fun activities you have done, your personal homepage can act as a digital portfolio of your work and who you are as a person. Studies show that 70% of companies use social media as part of their screening process. So it’s important for you to showcase yourself properly. For example take a look at my website: https://khandkerahamed.com/
5. Attend relevant networking events
Not only is it important that you brand yourself online, it’s also important to brand yourself with the outside world. Attend as many networking/ conferences you can. Not only will you emerge yourself with many like-minded individuals, you can even be able to meet recruiters from your dream companies. Not only will they be impressed by your online presence, but they will also know you personally because you took the time to network with them. I have personally met with many CEO’s and recruiters by attending such events, which have helped me grow as an individual personally and professionally. Just remember it’s not about what you are, it’s about who you are.
Anyone can build a personal brand, and in today's society, personal branding is more important now than ever. Invest in yourself now for a brighter future.