Personal Branding needs to start from the 1st year at university. Not only will this help you secure the career you want after graduation, having a strong personal brand will fast track you on a very successful career.
Over the past 3 years I have noticed that graduating students are leaving university with all the coaching and preparation needed to land the careers they are looking for, from CV writing to interview tips and assessment centre tips. Even Enterprise posted a blog not too long ago on assessment centre tips. The success of all of this is credited to the excellent career service teams at universities across the UK. But one of the main skills I see lacking in graduates and even 2nd year students coming in for internships, is a lack of a personal brand, the “Brand Stand.” This is an area I don’t think is focused on with university students and usually not thought about until they are in career and sometimes 2 – 3 years into that career, but by this time it is too late. Personal Branding needs to start from the 1st year at university. Not only will this help you secure the career you want after graduation, having a strong personal brand will fast track you on a very successful career.
When I attend events at universities and speaking to students, student with “Brand Stand” stand out. So, what does a “Brand Stand” student look like? These are the students that walk with confidence, have firm handshakes and communicate with passion and enthusiasm and leave behind the WOW factor. These are the students that I get excited about and are most likely going to progress very quickly through the recruitment process and land the careers they are after. You are probably asking yourself, how do I develop a personal brand? Where do I start? There are loads of websites and news articles available on-line and I myself tweet a lot of information about personal branding. (follow me on twitter here)
Here are just a few tips on how to get started in creating your own “Brand Stand” the personal brand that stands out.
Self assessment – This is the most important (really think this out before going onto step two). You need to sit down and take a self assessment of yourself and think who I’m I? What do “I” want to be known for? For example, are you the 1st class Business Management student from X university or I’m “I” the driven career focused leader in X society for example ENACTUS or AIESEC? Once you figure that out you will be able to grow that brand and build your confidence around that brand. Forming what I like to call the “Brand Stand.”
Research – Once you have established what your “Brand Stand” is, do your research. What does it take to be a successful business person? Just like any interview or dissertation make sure you do your research. Learn the in’s and out’s, read news articles or books. Stay current and knowledgeable of your brand.
Networking – Now that you know your brand and are knowledgeable about that brand, put it to the test. Take every opportunity to network with employers at all university events. When you go to a skills session presentation by employers take the time to stay behind and introduce yourself. Make an impact! Go to your careers fair and take this opportunity to speak to every employer about their career opportunities and what is on offer, this is not using this time to shop for free goodies. If you make the right impression and establish yourself you will be the one that the recruiters remember when driving home that day and the one they are most likely to call in for an interview. Use the power of social media to network. Grow that network through LinkedIn (here is a great article on how to make your linked-in stand out.)
Continue to grow – never get complacent with your personal brand. Continue to grow your network and maintain the relationships you have developed. Stay in communication and use every opportunity to continue to network and learn all that is to be learned about your “Brand Stand”.
It is a competitive job market and you need to stand out from the crowd and this will sky rocket you in the right direction. These are just a few steps I think will help you start your Personal Brand in the right direction. If you apply these steps, there is no doubt that you will establish your “BRAND STAND” and will be the employable brand when you graduate university.