Despite what many corporate sycophants may have led you to believe, finding a good job on the labour market when you’re fresh out of college is a struggle. Putting your skills to work won’t cut it. You need a brand of your own.
Behind all the talk about free enterprise and equal opportunities, there’s a truth many neglect. Appearances still matter. You’ll have to wear a costume if you want to blend in with the corporate crowd. Your brand is your avatar in the market. Leverage it to your advantage.
Clean up Your Online Presence
For all the talk of innovation, expansion, and progressiveness, business is still on the uptake when it comes to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Your friends and family know there’s more to you, but a potential employer may think your social media profile represents who you ‘really’ are.
Even though you know your social media presence is just a mishmash of interesting stuff you found online, your future employer might not realise that. You’d want to come across as a serious, rational person that has what it takes to be a proper business person.
You may be fond of your Reading Festival profile picture, but it may be more practical to replace it with a photo that emits a more professional vibe. It is time to tidy up your social media profiles.
Take a conservative approach when curating your online persona. Before posting something on Snapchat, ask yourself, ‘Would I be comfortable with my future employer seeing this?’
Now that you’ve cleaned up your social media, it’s time to update your LinkedIn account as well. Many graduates do not take advantage of the platform, and yet it’s such a powerful branding tool.
The platform allows you to make the most of your resume and cover letter. Stay current and relevant. You can rest assured that employers will take notice of your LinkedIn profile. You can show how passionate you are by sharing quality content that’s relative to your industry.
Create a quality headshot. Use it across all social media platforms, and not just LinkedIn. Do your best to deliver a great first impression. When researching candidates online, most hiring managers take note of those who have a friendly, clear headshot.
Contribute to Your Community
Getting involved in your community is key to establishing your personal brand, especially when you’re fresh out of college. There are numerous ways one can do that. For instance, you can attend professional meetups or volunteer at non-profits.
Making an effort to contribute to your community demonstrates your passion for helping others, as well as your leadership skills. But, at the same time, it helps you establish and develop your professional network.
Brand Your Tools
You’d want to avoid sending out a generic, templated cover letter. HR may find it frustrating. Take the time to customise your cover letter.
If it looks generic, it will be treated as such. You can show off your personality by having a unique cover letter that will stand out from the rest of the pile. It will provide a leg up as few people take the time to do it.
Even though technological advances have made our lives easier, print still plays an important role in the world of business. Always have a stack of business cards on your person! Business cards are still one of the most effective branding tools in the corporate world.
The reason behind that is simple; They’re easy to distribute and cheap to produce. Make it a habit of handing them out at appropriate occasions.
A business card is a tiny networking tool that can lead to a nice gig at a reputable company. Networking is an intrinsic part of personal branding. You’ll have to rely on others to spread the message of your personal brand. Make sure you customise your business card as well.
Create a Personal Headline
What do you want to be known for? Remember, there’s no second chances when it comes to first impressions. Those first impressions matter a lot for a new graduate that’s entering the labour force.
Before you meet people and start working with them, think about what your personal headline will be. Do what you say you’ll do and be consistent with your actions.
Creating a personal brand is a part of the game. Most universities do not offer classes on finding a job. Don’t hesitate to take matters into your own hands. Use every tool at your disposal and make your personal brand work for you.