I am assuming you are the ambitious type. Students who think they will think about a career after they graduate wouldn’t be interested in building a personal brand. Well, so let’s dig right into it. Personal branding is a daunting task even for the best of us and figuring out where to start is the toughest part. So here are some tips that you can implement from day 1 and see your personal brand grow. This will not only help you get great internships in Spain when you begin the search but also help you stand out while pursuing your degree from the top business schools in Spain.
GET A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT
The first thing you would want to do is ask your mate or mother or anyone for that matter to shoot a decent headshot for you. Squinch, smile and dress sharp to look good in the shot. Think of who you want to be in the next 5 to 10 years and dress like that person. If you are preparing to get into business school looking to work for an accounting firm or human resources put on a suit. If you are preparing to be a communication major looking to work in PR or advertising you can be a bit more casual. Just don’t look sloppy or use a picture from your birthday or a party!
The backdrop of the picture should be simple, flat colour or blurred out work the best. Don’t get too much into the details, I don’t want you to procrastinate!
BE DISCOVERABLE ONLINE
Bring social media to play and be discoverable. Think of the social media platform that is relevant to you and make sure you keep it professional. If you are a fine-arts major, you would want to have a presence on Instagram and Pinterest. You would thus want to keep these accounts free of your drunk party pictures or any other picture you wouldn’t want to share with you parents! Curate your Instagram page with your work or work of other people (don’t forget to give credit) that you like. This will give people looking at your page an insight into your mind. If you are a business or an engineering student having a presence on LinkedIn is a must. You may or may not want to maintain a professional Instagram page. If you have a personal Instagram page make it private. Think of social media as your CV, only put-up things that will help people understand you. Remember, there is no point having an account on all social media platforms out there if you are not engaging in it.
HAVE A PROFESSIONAL PURPOSE
A mission and a vision statement are not just for companies. Define your own purpose, mission and vision statement. Write it on a piece of paper and stick it on your desk. This will not only help you stay on track but also work as a litmus test when you are confused. Think of what gets you out of the bed in the morning, what are you passionate about. A professional purpose will get you excited about your future. Paycheck shouldn’t be the only reason to get a job!
LEARN TO LISTEN & PRACTICE EMPATHY
To have a well-rounded personal brand, you need to strike a balance between what you know and what you have yet to learn. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with people you want to learn from. Ask for their time, if they live in your city try and meet them for a cup of coffee. You will be surprised by just how many people might actually say yes. Constantly, grow your network, meet or connect digitally with people who you want to be like. This will deepen your understanding about your field and open up a world of opportunities.
“Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out” Okay, now that’s a tad overboard but think before you jot down and share online. Even though you can delete and edit most of the time, you still wouldn’t want to come across as brash. Some age-old sayings still hold true today, it is just that most don’t realise it. “Never talk about religion, politics or money at family gatherings because it will end in a fight.” This is as true for family gathering as it is for the internet. As far as possible stray away from these topics unless you are majoring to be an expert in the subject. When posting publicly one needs to always think about how your post can affect someone, globally.
ANALYSE YOUR COMPETITION
You might be the best in your college or your school. But in this connected world that we live in today, your competition might not even be in the same city or continent as you. So, always keep your eyes open. What are other students with your background from around the world doing? Courses they are taking, companies they are interning for, initiatives they are a part of. This will help you realign your priorities. Many times we don’t look beyond our circle of comfort and pretend we are doing fairly well. Look beyond to get inspired.
CREATE VALUABLE CONTENT
Students can benefit from sharing their thoughts via podcasts, Medium articles, or curated Instagram feeds. Focus in on your long-term goals and then reverse-engineer a plan for the kind of content you want to create. For example, I am building a career in digital marketing, so my plan is to write about the latest social media trends.
Young people often feel like they don’t have enough life experience to build an audience, but that’s a misconception. Youth are excellent communicators – just think of all the teenage YouTubers and Instagrammers who are followed by millions. Whether you want to write on Medium or podcast via Spotify, there are already students leveraging that platform. With enough planning, you can use your youth to your advantage and develop your own niche perspective. Youth are creating valuable content every single day, and you too can build an audience online.
BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Another important aspect of personal branding is building key relationships. When you begin college, it’s your responsibility to shake hands (or touch elbows, thanks to 2020) and talk to professors, teacher’s assistance and your colleagues. University isn’t just for learning about calculus; it’s also about making contacts that will one day land you a job.
Many students are complacent about their network. They think that they don’t know anyone and therefore they don’t feel comfortable attending networking events. Whether you enjoy it or not you need to start. It will only get easier.
STAY ON TOP OF INDUSTRY NEWS
Set up alerts for trends and news of your industry. Constantly read. This will help you form opinion and subject matter expertise. At the end of the day you need to know about the sector you wish to work in. It will help you hold meaningful conversations with your network.
There is no right time to start. The sooner you do the better it is. Building a personal brand takes time and patience. There are no immediate benefits. Your consistent daily actions will take months or even years before you can start seeing results. So, start now – start early.
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