Jumping into the real world after college graduation can be overwhelming. Often the things you think the job market needs aren’t the things that actually matter. However, taking control of your personal brand is one of the best ways to get started.
There’s never a bad time to get started on building your own personal brand. Here are a couple tips on how to make your name stand out as you launch your career:
1. Dominate your online presence
What do people find out about you when they Google you?
It’s without a doubt that any potential employer will Google your name before you even get to an interview, so make sure your online perception of yourself fits reality. Start with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most essential platforms for job search, so you don’t want to be bad at using the tool. For starters, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you need to create one. It should look sharp, clean, and be easy to read. Paired with a professional headshot, each section should be filled out properly and free of grammatical errors. The content should be written in high detail and use descriptive language so that anyone viewing your profile should be able to understand you, your experience, and have minimal questions about your skillset. To the same sentiment, your social profiles should be the best reflection of your personal life.
You’re going to want to clean up every one of your social media accounts as many employers will look to these to catch a glimpse of your character on a personal level. Take a deep look into the content you post and determine if it is appropriate for your new professional lifestyle. If there is anything questionable, it’s best to delete it and not take any risks. Have a close friend or family member take time to review your accounts and get an unbiased opinion on what you’re putting out there for the world to see. After all, the perception of yourself you have curated online will likely follow you into in-person meetings, and first impressions are sometimes hard to change.
2. Build your portfolio
As you continue to build your online brand, intertwining a portfolio into the mix is a great way to bring your resume, experience, and personal brand to life. Building an online portfolio for all your work is great to strengthen your brand and is the perfect tool to give to employers when they ask for more information.
Centralizing all of your proudest work into one place is a great way to showcase creativity while simultaneously demonstrating organizational skills. Launching a digital portfolio is simple, you can create a website where the URL is your actual name. Doing it this way can serve multiple purposes; starting with adding your name onto the Internet (in a positive way), making it easy to remember for branding purposes, and makes you easy to find by employers.
Similarly to your LinkedIn profile, keeping a tidy portfolio is what will grab the attention of site visitors and potential employers. Your online portfolio should be detailed, but should not give away too much and should serve as just the taste of what you have to offer and your skill set. It should be intriguing enough for people to want to reach out and ask questions about your work and learning more about your experiences. By being selective on what to include in your portfolio, it can be the best way to entice an employer in, then be able to tell them about it fully in the actual job interview.
You never know when or how a relationship can turn into a job opportunity. Recent graduates seeking tips on networking should begin by understanding that the concept doesn’t have to be difficult or daunting. Networking with your peers and those already in your desired field of work will help to keep all potential doors open as you start the job hunt.
Building online relationships has become increasingly popular over the past few years, so expanding your efforts to befriend people in the industry (across multiple locations as well), can be a great way to get your foot in the door and show you’re interested in growing your career. If you’re able to, attending conferences about topics you’re passionate about are great places to meet and mingle with professionals already in the business you’re looking to enter, or with other prospective employees, exchanging tips about how to self-improve along the way. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone because you never know what opportunity may arise!
4. Sharpen your appearance
One of the biggest steps in building your brand should be professionalizing your appearance for your job search. You want to make yourself look suitable for a position in your desired field. When it comes to the job hunt, applying for jobs, and getting granted interviews, employers will be keen to hire candidates that “match” the look and feel of the company. Of course, this look may change from industry to industry and even company to company, but building a consistent look can make yourself recognizable and will help you stand out.
For women, hairstyles and accessory choices are great ways to solidify your look and maintain a professional edge. Keep in mind that you don’t want your clothes or makeup to take the focus away from you and your personal \ accomplishments. Sticking with neutrals and natural makeup is typically the best bet, but don’t be afraid to mix in a tasteful pop of color where you see fit. You don’t have to change anything about your style preferences, just make sure that you’re choices are an extension of your best self! Your comfortability and confidence are what will stick out the most in the job search process.
Likewise for men, keeping a well-kept appearance is essential in maintaining a personal brand. In today’s workforce, there is no mandate on what is acceptable. Gone are the days where clean-shaven is the only way to go. Whether you opt for a clean-shaven face or are currently sporting facial hair, make sure that you always keep your preferred look well-maintained. Do so by using razors and shaving products that guarantee precision and reduce irritation. To the same point above, owning your look plays a big role in declaring your personal brand.
If you’re unsure of how you should dress, the best thing you can do is mirror the employees of the company you’re applying to. Check company pictures and LinkedIn profiles to get a beginning idea. It’s a great way to put your best foot forward and show you’re excited about working at the company.
Personal branding is a process that never ends, but with these tips you should be set with a solid foundation!