You’re about to graduate soon! Congratulations! Now what? In a competitive job market, how will you stand out amongst the hundreds of other who are applying for your position? You'd be surprised to learn how many people share the same interests as you, are applying for the same jobs/internships as you, and are simply just like you! It is important to look at yourself as a brand. You must consider yourself as the S.ugar H.oney I.ced T.ea! You must build on what makes you unique. To prepare for life after college, I'd like to share some of my favorite tips on branding yourself. No matter what year you are in school, it's important to find out who you are now and start branding yourself.
Be An Expert!
Figure out what you enjoy and what you are passionate about, and then become an expert in that subject! After all, you love it because you KNOW it best. Share your expertise and passion with the world. A great way to start is by creating your own blog or website. Without a digital space, you’re invisible. Your blog or website allows you to reach people beyond your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Many employers are adding the “website:” option to their applications. How awesome would it be for them to get to know your personality, passions, creativity, and uniqueness before the interview? Sites like www.wordpress.com are great for beginners! Once you become an expert, share your expertise on your brand new website!
Network by Association!
Join and become active in a professional organization in your field. Join an organization that will benefit you in the long-run. Meeting other people with similar career interests will create a clear path for success. Networking will always lead to future opportunities. There is much truth in the phrase, "It's not what you know, but who you know." In the meantime, research new organizations you can join and create yourself some business cards! Visit www.vistaprint.com to easily create your own and don’t forget to add your website’s URL.
Build Your Digital Space!
Social networks are like those friends you have who seem to know everybody. By joining sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, you have joined a community of limitless opportunities. Identify and connect with people who think like you and especially with those who don't think like you. You may be an accounting major who comes across a dancer who has dreams of opening their own dance company. The relationship you build with the dancer may open a door for you to be the accountant of their dance company in the future. Socialize and network efficiently; these sites were created for your benefit.
Discover your X-Factor!
Your X-Factor is what you have that no one else can claim. For example, as a marketing major, I decided to minor in Spanish. Well aware of the impact Latinos have in America, I knew it was beneficial to learn a second language. Learning a second language allowed me to be more flexible with my job search. Employers were impressed to know that I was bilingual. I stood out against the "4.0 GPA" student who only knew English. Why? Because I could communicate with more people by knowing a second language. Find your X-Factor and make that a large part of your brand. Learn a second language, master a software program, volunteer at a company in your specialized field, and find internships! These amazing skills that will help you transform you from fitting in, to standing out.
Never stop growing and expanding your brand. Always be open to reading articles, watching documentaries, visiting companies, and reaching out to people who can help you grow. Remaining dormant and complacent won’t get you far. Step outside of your comfort zone and find new, creative ways to brand yourself. By reading this blog post, you are already growing. The more unique your story, the better.
Now that you know some tips on branding yourself, don't stop here; keep expanding your knowledge! The next time someone asks you, "So, tell me about yourself?" tell them about your brand!
Share your thoughts or get additional advice from Brittnay Applegate! Follow this BOSS on Twitter @bdapples