Reaching your dream job requires you to work work hard, be persistent and put yourself out there. Doing so now will help you get ahead by building your personal brand and will also help you secure a job after graduation when you’re ready to hit the workforce full speed.
According to NACE’s 2016 Job Outlook Survey, employers are looking for candidates who can be leaders. The survey reports that more than 80 percent of respondents indicated that they are seeking candidates who exert leadership skills when hiring while 78.9 percent of respondents seek candidates who can work well in a team.
In a competitive job market, it’s important to build a personal brand that resonates, reflects your authentic self and makes your skills and contributions to your industry shine.
Your personal brand should be authentic
Before breaking ground for building your personal brand, it’s important to have a vision for what you want your personal brand to reflect. Your vision should be authentic and encompass your goals. Having a vision is important because it serves as the blueprint for everything you create.
Authenticity is important in creating a brand that resonates with employers, key leaders in your industry and your peers.
Be social online and offline
In a day and age where social influencers can add fuel to the fire of controversy with a hashtag like #DeleteUber or #BoycottUnited, it’s without saying that building a social network is important both online and offline.
To start building your online following, make it a priority to follow key leaders in your industry, engage in conversations such as Twitter Q&As, webinars and engage with the content they share by reposting, commenting or asking questions. This will show key influencers that you’re attentive, interested and engaged.
Don’t forget to keep the conversation going offline by attending networking events relevant to your industry and attending workshops or conferences.
Create consistent content
One of the most important parts of building your personal brand is creating content. However, that doesn’t mean just any content, but content that is relevant to your industry and that contributes to the conversation whether it’s research, feedback or sharing what you’ve learned. Publishing content on appropriate platforms builds credibility and makes you a reputable source.
Be sure your content is authentic, attributed to contributors who added value to your content, concise and has some visual element whether it’s video clips, photos, gifs or infographics. According to 3M, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than stand-alone text, making visual elements vital to your content. Having a visual element integrated with your content will resonate with your audience.
We can all reflect a time where we asked an industry leader a question at a speaking engagement on campus or a summer when we took on our first internship and how nerve wracking it was. We can all probably identify someone who made the experience a little bit easier or guided us along the way. Recall how much that mentor helped you hone your skills, learn the ropes and gave you advice about work, school or life; what would you have done if this person wasn’t around to help you along? Chances are, your experience wouldn’t have been so great.
It’s important to give back the same guidance, expertise and time to those learning the ropes of the industry or trying to find their way. Whether it’s mentoring a fellow student who is taking on their first internship, sharing what do or not to do at a workshop on campus or helping a peer with their resume.
Get started building your personal brand with experience working as a student ambassador for big brands while earning cash—it’s a win-win!