The National Association of Colleges and Employers conducted research to see how many students graduated last year; 1,855,000 college graduates – 1,855,000 students all looking for jobs. How will you separate yourself? Their research shows that the number of college graduates will continue to grow in the years to come. When we graduate, we will be fighting those students for the same jobs in the workforce that we want. Branding yourself is a great way to make sure you stand out from your peers and show potential employers who you are and what is important to you. Here are my tips on how to effectively brand yourself:
Determine Your Unique Value Proposition:
How are you different? What skills do you have that are different and what makes you better than the other person applying for the job?
To stand out from the crowd you need to uniquely define yourself and offer the company something they do not have already. Think about what skills or experiences you have had that would appeal to the company. A great place to start is with a mission statement of how you want live and act in the workforce. A mission statement is at the core of who you are and what you believe. Develop a brand that is supported by your mission statement and provides guidance. If you have not thought of a mission statement or goal for your life now would be the time. It will help you to have that as a basis for determining your unique value proposition and will help you brand yourself consistently.
Remember the 3 Cs of Branding:
The three Cs of branding are clarity, consistency and constancy. Once you decide your unique value, you need to communicate that to your audience. Clarity is critical if you want people to understand your brand and it showcases your ability to speak and brand clearly. Consistency and constancy relate to how closely you stick to your brand, how often you post and if your information is relevant to the brand you have set for yourself. Make sure you are honest, ethical and focused on the job or in the field you want to work in after graduation. Combine all of the Cs to work toward a consistent goal.
Be someone who practices active-listening and interacts with your audience. Take time to watch and learn from others and engage in their lives. Self-promoting could eventually fail you, but if you have taken the time to listen to others and build relationships with them you are more likely to succeed. Show employers that you can listen to feedback and apply what your audience suggests.
Have a Strategy:
What are you going to post? Why are you posting that article or sharing a quote? Be careful to publish content that has a purpose. It is great to be yourself and show employers your true qualities, but make sure what you are posting is consistent with the message being conveyed with the rest of your brand. It is okay to be yourself, but post wisely because once something is on social media it will never go away.
Consistency is important in your brand, but do not become trapped or blocked by a narrow focus. You can build, shape and grow your brand as you see fit as your audience provides you with suggestions and new ideas. Listen to their voice! Do not ignore what they have to say just because you do not think it fits your specific brand.
Be consistent with your brand and make sure all of your social media matches while being open to growth. Do not forget to update your résumé, LinkedIn profile and cover letter to reflect the brand you have chosen for yourself. Remember, branding is a great way to highlight who you are and show employers why you are different and better suited for your dream job.
Hannah Morris and is a current senior public relations major. She serves as secretary for the Waynesburg University PRSSA Chapter and as co-director for our Chapter’s first regional conference – “Caffeinate Your Career” taking place April 8 and 9, 2016. As an emerging public relations professional, Hannah is interested in pursuing a career with higher education. She currently works with Waynesburg alumni in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and is active in musical groups on campus. Hannah also enjoys music, tea and swing dancing.