Stand Out in CollegeTimes have changed.   College graduates face intense competition for most of the entry-level jobs. That doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs – it just means that you need to stand out.  And when you do, there are so many excellent opportunities.

That’s why personal branding is such an important skill to develop before you hit the job market.

Personal branding is something that many people don’t really think about until they are already in their careers.  And at that point, it is usually to change, enhance, or even do damage control on their existing brand.  But during college or university is the BEST time to start thinking about what you will do to stand out.

What is a personal brand?  Well to put it quite simply, it is:

How other people perceive you.

It has become even easier to build a brand with all of the tools and technology at our disposal today:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Blogging platforms
  • Video resumes

And in a career search, ask yourself if your online brands are helping or hurting your chances?  You better believe that employers are checking Facebook to see who you really are!

[Tweet “Take time to think about what you want to be known for. “]

In Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Schawbel,  there are some great tips on using college as a testing ground for establishing your brand.  Schawbel says to make the most of your investment by using college as an exercise in networking and personal branding.

  • Connect with fellow students
  • Ask awesome questions of guest speakers that come to your school
  • Network outside the school with potential employers
  • Develop your talent “niche”
  • Use networking to land internships or projects in your community
  • Use every opportunity to promote your personal brand
  • Find mentors

In order to ensure you attract the right opportunities and are taken seriously, make sure you’ve created a powerful personal brand.  One of my favorite quotes out of Schawbel’s book was a reference his employer gave him:

“Dan treated the initial informational meeting as the formal interview – his one chance to communicate his personal brand.  Dan’s resume, promotional CD, and unwavering eye contact communicated experience, confidence, and tenacity.  Dan quickly rose to the top of our list, and soon after, we extended an offer.” – Joe Markey Sr. Marketing Manager, EMC

Well I’m impressed!  He went in with a plan, a CD portfolio, and presented himself absolutely professionally.  How could you create a sense of WOW in your interviews?

Over the years we have seen countless graduates struggle when they enter the job market because they were just unprepared, but the ones who have a plan, have a great attitude, and put in the effort, always succeed.  So start your plan early and be ready for when you graduate.

How will YOU stand out in a sea of applicants when applying for your new career?  It’s easy for us to make excuses why we didn’t get the job.  But there are so many exciting opportunities out there for those who are willing to put themselves out there, stand for something, and get noticed.

[Tweet “A personal brand is simply “how other’s perceive you””]

***If you want to learn more about how to actually build a personal brand, get ready.  Next week, I will be launching my ebook, 20 Tips to Create a Powerful Personal Brand  Enter your email address below if you would like to receive it. Learn about crafting a personal brand that gets people excited and gets you noticed, understand effective social media usage, and get training and resources on how to start your own blog.***

Joe Girard
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