Many graduates think that personal branding isn’t for them. They assume just because they don’t have much career experience they have little to sell and so it won’t be worth it. In fact the opposite is true.
Never is it so competitive to get a job than as a graduate entering the workplace and competing against thousands of other graduates in the same field. This is the time to differentiate yourself! To stand up and showcase what you bring of value to future employers and why they should invest in you over others with the same qualification.
But how do you do this? Building a personal brand shouldn’t be taken lightly. To do this properly demands that you dedicate time to building insight into your target market (particularly employers in your sector) and then analysing, extracting and honing your key brand attributes that will be relevant to them. Your brand needs to be authentic and based on your true strengths and passions. Faking a brand that isn’t you will never work.
For graduates serious about personal branding you can employ the services of a personal branding strategist or read books on the topic such as Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixon. This will enable you to build a brand that will enhance your competitiveness and set the foundation for your career in years to come.
Once you have your personal brand, its time to communicate this to the world at large. For graduates your resume is a prime place to do this. Build a branded resume. If you can afford it, employ a professional resume writer who can ensure your opening profile in your resume highlights your brand and that your resume then backs this up with evidenced achievements of your accomplishments to-date. Include extracurricular activities, industry experience, internships, anything that reinforces your brand and differentiates you from your peers.
When you have a killer resume re-assess your image and make sure it’s sending the right signals and then start building your network. Effective networking is always the best tool for career marketing.
Finally remember personal branding doesn’t stop when you get a job. Continue to build your professional brand in the workplace through a consistent professional reputation based on the value you bring to your employers and industry through your unique strengths.
To all graduates out there making the jump to the workforce – good luck!!