In today’s competitive job market, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Gone are the times of walking up to a brick-and-mortar business and handing them your resume in person—today, first impressions are often made long before you meet with a recruiter or manager in person. Building your personal brand online is one way college students (and job-seekers of any age) can make themselves known and work towards snagging the job of their dreams. Here are five tips to developing a strong, unique personal brand:
- Be authentic.
When you’re job-hunting, it’s important to show your true colors. Potential employers want to know about you and the type of energy you might bring to the workplace—and it can turn employers away when your posts don’t seem genuine. Be sure that your posts reflect who you truly are, and work on developing a style of posting online that is lively and engaging.
- Be consistent.
While it’s not necessary for your social media presence to be as tailored as a public figure’s, be aware that everything you post ties into the overall image you present online and try to make your posts consistent with your personal character. Career-focused social media channels, such as LinkedIn, provide an additional opportunity for you to nurture your professional personality, especially if you have your heart set on a specific position or industry. For example, when listing the roles and responsibilities of your previous positions, highlight those that are most applicable to the job you’re hoping to get.
- Keep it clean.
While your friends might appreciate your drunken snapchats from last weekend’s party, employers might not feel the same way. Think about what you’re about to post and ask yourself if you would want your grandmother, little brother, or high school principal seeing it. If the answer is no, it’s probably something that should stay private. Make sure your privacy settings are up to date as well, so only those who you approve can see what you post.
- Use your social media presence to highlight unique, non-work talents and interests.
Do you speak fluent Mandarin? Play the trombone? Backcountry ski? Knit sweaters for puppies? There’s no better place to showcase these talents than your online brand. Although employers are looking to see your work experience first and foremost, showcasing evidence of a talent that’s unique and interesting may catch the eye of a recruiter. If anything, it’s an interesting conversation starter for networking events!
- Publish work and projects relevant to your career goals.
For example, if you’d like to get into graphic design, it’s a good idea to build an online portfolio to show off your work. You can also publish writing samples, case studies, and other projects that you’ve worked on that can help you show your experience to employers! If you’re searching for good, simple websites to host your online portfolio, Squarespace, Wix and Webs all offer easy-to-use templates to help you get started (don’t worry, no coding is necessary!).
Personal branding isn’t just a marketing tactic for large corporations; anyone in any career or academic field can start working on their personal brand and take their online presence to new heights. Don’t forget to join BRPR on Wednesdays at 7 PM to discuss useful branding and marketing skills that anyone can put into action!