personal brand
It used to be that “brands” only mattered when it was time to buy a TV or box of cereal. Now, in today’s hyper-competitive digital world, we’ve all got to be brands ourselves. What does this mean? According to writer Yesenia Rascon, a personal brand amounts to “all of the aspects that make an individual unique.” It’s what makes you you — and it’s the reason companies should consider hiring you over other applicants. How do you do effectively brand yourself? Start by reading Rascon’s great post “8 Tips for Building Your Personal Brand.”

1. Assess Yourself — What are you best skills and abilities? How about your goals? How would you describe your personality and work style? You must answer these and other questions when establishing your brand, and as Rascon writes, it’s “always important to stay true to yourself.” Being honest, she says, “benefits both the student and the employer.”

2. Create a Great Website — Once you’ve got your brand, give it a web presence. Here, you want to include examples of your work, blog posts, and your resume. This is a chance to showcase your skills and give a taste of your style and individuality.

3. Tidy Up Your Social Media Presence — Here’s one people talk about a lot. Those Facebook photos of you getting tipsy at last year’s campus Halloween bash may seem funny and innocent, but you probably don’t want potential employers to see them. Have a go at scrubbing away anything incriminating, and be sure to adjust your privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter so people only see what you want them to. It’s all about professionalism.

4. Target Your Message — Once you’ve got your website and brand identity, you’ve got to craft a message specific for your industry. Why should anyone hire you? What makes Brand You so irresistible?

5. Know Your Industry — As you build your brand and communicate your message to potential employers, make sure you know the rules of your industry. In particular, you want to pay attention to things like style and grooming. If you’re an investment banker, leather jackets and neck tattoos are probably no-nos.

6. Get Social — Consumer brands spread their messages with advertisements; people rely on social media. Share your brand with your network of contacts via services like LinkedIn. “A strong LinkedIn profile can project your brand very effectively, and since it is a professional networking site, you’re sure to hit your targeted audience,” Rascon writes.

7. Don’t Forget About Networking — You can have the greatest online profile in the world, but if you can’t connect with people on a one-on-one basis, it might not do you any good. Be sure to network in person and work on building relationships.

8. Be Flexible — Over time, you will change, and your brand should, too. “The best personal brand will be relevant and sustainable and adapt to current trends in your industry throughout your career,” Rascon writes.