We all know about the hardships of the economy we are living, studying and working in. Stories about student debts and unemployment rate are all over the news. But no matter how discouraging they may seem, try not to see them as such. Not at all. They are a challenge!
You are a part of a highly competitive market.
There are thousands of students and graduates equally qualified as you – with great grades, extracurricular activities, similar internships and volunteering efforts. You are not only competing for your job – you are competing for an interview.
If you want to be competitive, you have to leverage your assets the right way. You have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Do something that will make people notice you, recognize your values and give you a chance to prove yourself! No one knows how good you are based on your resume alone. You have to tackle a real problem first but before that, someone has to give you a chance.
And the good thing is: You already have everything you need!
You are already one of a kind! Unique, with your own set of experiences, values, thoughts and feelings. You only have to make the real you shine through and resonate with recruiters the right way.
One way to make it is to build your personal brand.
That means that you take control over you public image – on paper, on the Internet and in person. You have to actively manage the idea that forms in someone’s head once they hear your name.
There are several downsides of not actively managing your brand and I will name a few:
1. You already have one and it’s out of your control.
The funny thing with personal brand is that you already have it. Your brand is your reputation, values and ideas that people connect with who you are. We all have it, but not all of us manage it. Many of us don’t even know what kind of message is our brand sending and are passing on the opportunity to use it as our leverage.
2. Your brand is inconsistent.
One of the key requirements of branding, be it personal or corporate, is that it’s consistent.
Strong consistent branding reinforces your identity and drives positive sentiment and trust. The message you are sending to the public – in person, via paper or digitally – must be the same. People rely on your brand to tell them what you stand for and what the value you can provide is.
Inconsistent brand does the opposite and can hurt your job search.
3. You are missing out on a great opportunity to attract people who might be interested in what you have to offer.
Your brand should showcase your abilities. By writing a blog about topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about, presenting the projects you have worked on your personal website or writing about the ways you contributed to solving a specific problem on social media, people might notice you and want you to be a part of their team.
4. Having a well-established personal brand represents a lens through which people receive new information about you.
When hiring I tend to look for passion, intelligence, and ambition. After I solve for cultural fit … I then care deeply about competence.
This means that, from a perspective of an employer, even if some minor job requirements are missing from your CV they might “look through your fingers” because the brand and values you represent are perfectly aligned with what the employer stands for. Nowadays, more and more employers are putting an accent on one’s potential instead of one’s experience.
With personal branding, you can help people see your potential! It is an excellent way to externalize all the knowledge and values you carry inside.
So start small, but start soon!
And you know what they say: You are the company you keep. So if you want to learn more about building and managing your brand, stick with us and stay tuned.
This post is part of Personal Branding for Students and Graduates Campaign. To learn more about free services that allow you to easily create you personal page, check out the previous post in this series.
Picture credits: http://www.bookyourselfsolid.com
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