You don’t have to be a marketing major to know that when you’re preparing for a career, you have to brand yourself. No matter what career field you plan on pursuing, there is going to be competition coming at you from all angles. So how can you distinguish yourself from dozens of other applicants, and communicate to your employer that you are the best person for the job? Marketing yourself begins as early as college.
One of the most productive tools for establishing yourself today is your Twitter account. Now, I’m not talking about a personal Twitter account that follows parody and anonymous accounts to keep you entertained. Those are fun, but start by creating a professional Twitter account that follows and tweets about articles and professionals in your respective career field. Personally, I have two twitter accounts: one to keep me entertained on my way to class and the other to follow and interact with my favorite journalists and publications. Using your Twitter account to blast articles and tweets that are relevant to your career demonstrate your commitment to your profession, even in your down time.
Résumés are crucial in building your brand. Start by writing a one-sentence blip about who you are and what you do best. For instance, “I am a committed and efficient writer that values the core fundamentals of responsible journalism and reporting.” Next, hopefully you have been involved in numerous organizations or activities that you find it difficult to fit everything onto a one page sheet of paper, and that’s okay! Start by creating one large spreadsheet of all the work experience, organizations and activities you’ve been involved in since entering college. As you apply to different jobs, you can pull from this spreadsheet different experiences that are relevant to each job posting.
For instance, if I were applying to a travel journalism publication, I’d probably want to include my experience traveling to Nicaragua with a study abroad program over a membership in some random club from college. The difference between your high school resume and your college one is in high school you wanted to show colleges that you are well-rounded. However, when you go to apply for jobs, your college resume needs to demonstrate that you were devoted to a particular area of study that would work well with the company that is interviewing you.
Lastly, update that Linkedin account! Maybe you had a professor that encouraged you to sign up several years ago and you haven’t touched it since. Linkedin is a powerful tool for your career search and networking opportunities. It’s also like an interactive resume that’s a click away. Connections can be established through mutual colleagues or old college buddies, opening many doors for your future. Also, consider printing business cards to hand out to people you meet as you venture off to your job search. A business card can be simple, just something to include your name and contact information that can be exchanged much faster than writing it down for an interesting employer.
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As you embark on your college career, don’t forget to start branding yourself right away. When you go to apply to your first job, you want to imply that you have been preparing for this day for a long time and it starts during your undergrad years.
Photo via Jeff McNeill