To provide insights into personal branding during college years, we've gathered eight valuable strategies from business leaders, including business development managers and marketing managers. These strategies range from leveraging LinkedIn and social media to highlighting unique skills and qualities, providing a comprehensive guide on how to establish and promote your personal brand for career benefits.
- Leveraging LinkedIn and Social Media
- Building a Professional Network for Referrals
- Turning to Professors for Inspiration and Guidance
- Sharing and Engaging on Blogs and Social Platforms
- Showcasing Leadership in Student Organizations
- Attending Events and Networking
- Building Professional Relationships With Upperclassmen
- Highlighting Unique Skills and Qualities
Leveraging LinkedIn and Social Media
I meticulously crafted my LinkedIn profile, ensuring that it showcased my academic accomplishments and my involvement in various extracurricular activities and impactful internships.
This effort was complemented by my proactive approach to sharing industry insights, as I aimed to establish a reputation as a thought leader. In parallel, I orchestrated my social media content to drive traffic toward my portfolio website, where I display a collection of my standout projects and accolades.
Cultivating a clear and compelling personal brand allowed me to build meaningful connections with industry leaders and secure my role today. The dividends of my online efforts continue to unfold, opening doors to collaborative opportunities and propelling my career upward.
Building a Professional Network for Referrals
During my college years, I took to LinkedIn to build my professional network, keep in touch with new contacts, and, unknowingly, set the stage for my future endeavors.
After college, I started a boutique social media marketing agency called Scott Social and have seen almost 75% of our clients come from referrals. In the first couple of years, many of those referrals directly resulted from those I met during college—classmates, professors, club leaders, local business owners, and everyone in between.
The phrase, "Your network is your net worth," is entirely overused, yet that simple statement carries a lot of weight. You're building a powerful community as we speak, so make sure that you're keeping them close!
Turning to Professors for Inspiration and Guidance
I met with all the professors I could in my area of study to see what their interests, ideas, and passions were. Then I incorporated as much of what I could into my personal brand. One professor made his name as a hardware and servers whiz—I learned as much as I could from him in establishing my own business. Branding is difficult when you're just coming into your own as an adult. Look to the people who are where you want to be for guidance.
Sharing and Engaging on Blogs and Social Platforms
During my college years, I adopted a simple yet effective approach to establishing my personal brand: sharing and engaging. Whenever I learned something new or found a subject intriguing, I'd share it on platforms like LinkedIn or personal blogs.
This not only positioned me as a lifelong learner but also attracted a network of like-minded individuals. I made it a point to actively engage with professionals and influencers I admired.
By asking insightful questions, contributing to discussions, and seeking mentorship, I was building connections and credibility simultaneously. This proactive approach laid a robust foundation for my career, opening doors to opportunities and collaborations even before stepping into the professional world.
Showcasing Leadership in Student Organizations
Actively seeking leadership positions in student organizations and extracurricular activities during college is beneficial.
Whether it's becoming the president of a club or arranging events, cultivating leadership talents and highlighting them on a CV and LinkedIn profile can exhibit the capacity to take the initiative and lead. This can be appealing to potential employers looking for someone with excellent leadership skills.
Attending Events and Networking
Go to every event you have time for. Almost all events on campus are going to be open-invite—if in doubt, ask. Show up and talk to everyone. It doesn't matter the focus of the event, people will be happy to listen to your “thing” if you listen to theirs.
Above all, be sure to gather contact information and follow up on your preferred social media platform. There's so much happening on campus every single day. If you can't find something to attend, chances are you're just not looking.
Building Professional Relationships With Upperclassmen
When I worked on the student newspaper as a communications major, I connected with upperclassmen and asked them to keep me in mind for any opportunities with companies they joined. I also started my portfolio so I would be ready to share my bylined articles if the opportunity presented itself.
One post-graduate upperclassman recommended me for a paid internship at his newspaper, and that summer internship led to part-time work during the college year. Then those bylined articles helped me get hired in my major within a week of my own graduation.
By working on the student newspaper and building a portfolio, connecting with upperclassmen for opportunities, and obtaining a paid internship that led to part-time work and bylined articles, I was able to establish and promote my personal brand, which ultimately helped them get hired after graduation.
Highlighting Unique Skills and Qualities
Throughout college, I concentrated on emphasizing my distinct skills and qualities. Whether it was through the creation of remarkable class projects, participation in hackathons, or leadership positions in student organizations, I highlighted my unique qualities. This helped me stand out to potential employers who were looking for applicants with distinguishing characteristics.
Tiffany Hafler, Marketing Manager, FORTIS Medical Billing
The Eller graduate experience comes in many forms, including five MBA programs, 12 specialized master’s degrees and many more options for concentrations, specializations, dual degrees and certificates.
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