What can students do to help establish their unique personal brands?
While the idea of personal branding might conjure images of tattoos for some students, that’s not going to land you the job! Kidding aside, today’s emphasis on personal branding means expressing yourself in terms of things and concepts you value and admire. It’s who you are and what you stand for that the world will see.
If you are going to be a rock star, then it’s fine to dress and behave like one. If you intend to be a business leader, then project that image. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Employers take it extremely seriously when hiring. They look for individuals who have values that are compatible with the company’s mission and culture.
People get hired by name and reputation. Throughout your career, the impressions you make will follow you and affect your brand. Your supervisors and colleagues see first-hand the quality of your work and the effort you extend. What you put on the Internet, the pictures and words you choose, will follow you as well. The sum total of that is your personal brand.
For personal branding to be authentic, you have to be sincerely involved in the causes in which you believe. Take extra time to learn about subjects, people or events that inspire or interest you.
If you truly want to get into music or journalism or business, then study up on the best composers, writers, literature or industry leaders. Network, find good mentors, and immerse yourself in the field you are pursuing. Align yourself with people and organizations that will broaden your perspective. You can find a wealth of information online, and many colleges and universities offer support and connections through career counseling and alumni programs.
Remember, everything you post and tweet is a reflection of you—that includes what you find funny, intriguing, interesting, the causes you believe in, events you attend, and what you take a stand on. Be genuine and consistent as your brand unfolds, and it will serve you well for a lifetime.