When you’re trying to get a job, it’s important to know how you’ll be seen by potential employers and/or other professionals in your dream career field. Their first impression of you will likely come from whatever online persona you’ve created for yourself. You have the power to design any image, message, or mantra that you want your brand to express. Although the idea of building a brand from the ground up is pretty scary, here are some steps that will ease that fear and put your personal brand in a solid starting place.
Find your personal career niche
If you haven’t already, think about something you can offer employers that no one else can. You may have a standout skill or a side passion project which you feel employers can really latch onto. Lean into your uniqueness as an employee. Knowing your specialties will set you aside from the rest of the pack and can give you an “in” to a possibly narrow field of work, which you may have your eyes on applying to after graduation. Then, you can follow through with some of the steps below in order to get started on building a brand.
Make your social media sparkle
Make sure that all of your profiles are on the same page—visually, professionally, and with references. It’s a good idea to link to your best work in your profile somewhere so employers can find it. Any portfolios or work that you’re super proud of should be easily clickable. Comb through any public profiles you’d like to use and make sure they’re relevant to your brand, uncluttered, and are overall fairly business casual. If you’re not already using LinkedIn, now’s a great time to start. Check out Career Service’s LinkedIn Resources page.
Treat yourself to headshots
There’s so much that can be said in a photo which just cannot be said in words. Employers want to know how you stand out from the crowd. So, headshots are a chance for you to tell employers the story of your brand, visually. If you can, try to get professional headshots taken. Use things like interesting lighting, a unique background, or the room around you to set the stage for a fresh composition. When you’re done getting your shots, think about having several to choose from. You might want some for icons, one for a background, etc. Of course, you can hire a photographer while still social distancing. But if you’re uncomfortable with that, or if you’re just trying to save some money, now is a great time to try and work on personal skills, like photography (which you can also add to your resume!).
Upgrade your old resume
Just as you can put creative work into your headshots and social media, you can do the same to your resume. Think strategically about using your resume to showcase yourself for each individual job you’re applying to. Visit the Virtual Workshop for Resumes and Cover Letters, or make an online appointment with Career Services so that you can use to make a resume you can be proud of.
Showcase yourself on a blog or webpage
Even if you’re not planning on selling a physical product, you’re going to be promoting yourself and your particular skills and that warrants a webpage. A webpage is an elegant way to show people who you are, what you can do, why you’re different from others, and why you’re a desirable employee. All of that will be wrapped up in a cute little bow that you can style with all of the previous steps. It will also show employers how serious you are about your career. Putting time, effort, and thought into an entire webpage shows a lot of creativity, work ethic, and passion.