Build Your Personal Brand
Creating and maintaining a personal brand is a key piece to successful career development in the age of social media. A personal brand is an authentic portrayal of you – your values, passions, skills, knowledge, and personality – and can help to set you apart from others in your major and industry.
Answer These Questions to Establish Your Personal Brand
- What are you good at (soft & hard skills)?
- What do you enjoy (hobbies & interests)?
- What are you passionate about?
- What have been your favorite classes?
- What do you prioritize in life (family, travel, school, earning an income)?
- What kind of jobs or industries interest you?
When & Where to Implement Your Brand
- Use your answer to create a Thirty-Second Commercial (Elevator Pitch) that you can use when introducing yourself during networking situations and interviews
- Examine your social media platforms. Do your connections and sources share your interests, values, and goals? Do your posts reflect your personal brand?
- Create a personal website or portfolio to showcase your work. Include the URL on your LinkedIn profile and add a QR code or URL on your resume.
- Be genuine and consistent in your networking efforts. Personal branding is a concerted effort to show the world who you are and what you have to offer.
- Because your brand is an authentic representation of yourself, it may change over time as your skills, interests, and passions evolve!
- Use Owl Connect to find student and professional groups in your areas of interest and join!
While social media outlets can help expand your network and knowledge, they can also be detrimental when not used in the appropriate manner. While some channels may be considered for more personal use (e.g., Instagram), it is important to note that faculty, staff, and employers may search for you on these sites.
If you decide to participate in various forms of social media, it is essential that you always put your best foot forward! The following are some guidelines to ensure that your social media usage is helping—not hurting—you:
- Start by having a completed profile and uploading a recent photo. Schedule your free headshot on Handshake!
- Ask trusted managers, supervisors, professors, etc. for recommendations after connecting with them. It’s an easy way to manage sources for references and build your credibility.
- You can post a “What are you doing..?” status on LinkedIn like Facebook and Twitter as a way to inform business contacts of your professional accomplishments.
- There’s no limit to how much information you put on your LinkedIn profile. Give details about specific job descriptions, titles you have held, and your specific responsibilities.
- Keep private conversations private. Do not use wall posts or comments to share personal stories, emotions, relationships, etc.
- Do not have yourself tagged in inappropriate pictures and do the same for your friends. Avoid tagging your friends in pictures that could get them in trouble (remember, once you post it, someone can always find it).
- Not everyone wants to be your ‘friend’. Some consider Facebook to be a strictly friendship-based networking site. If you are looking to build a professional rapport, consider approaching someone through LinkedIn or Twitter.
- Twitter is a useful resource for tracking industry news, companies, and even job opportunities.
- Do not be afraid to promote yourself (humbly). If you get a promotion, find a job, or are delegated a task at work, share it with others!
- Follow and interact with companies you are interested in and people in the industry.
- Use searchable hashtags including those for your specific field.
- It’s a terrific way to learn about company culture.
Maximize Your Social Media Use
- LinkedIn Profile Checklist
- Build a Professional Student Profile
- Network Professionally Online
- How to Research Employers Online
- LinkedIn Etiquette Guide
- Top 10 Online Job Hunting Tips
Incorporating GenEds into Your Brand
GenEd is not just about well-roundedness, major exploration and civic participation. It also helps you build skills critical to career success. Be sure to use what you have learned and done in your GenEds to sell your skills and accomplishments to potential employers.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys employers annually to learn what they want to see on resumes. These key GenEd competencies are among their top priorities year after year.