Why Personal Branding Is Important For College Students
In a previous post, I pointed out some of my top tips for college students to build their personal brand.
I received a question from a student about the benefits of personal branding. He asked why he should invest time in building his personal branding as a Sophomore.
Here are the top four reasons college students should begin building their personal brand now.
1. Direct Your Image
As an undergraduate, I didn’t think about my personal brand, and you know what?
I was at a loss.
I would have been much better off if I had built a personal brand as an undergraduate.
I did all the “right” things as an undergrad:
- Graduated above a 3.0 GPA
- Was part of the student body government
- Formed and am a Founding Father of the local chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity
- Worked as a Resident Assistant for three years
- Volunteered over 30 hours/week as the founder of a local nonprofit
I did all these things thinking it was enough. The one big thing I did not do was to package myself for future employers/clients as soon as I should have.
This lack of foresight put me in a tough position. After a long spurt of unemployment… and trust me, that sucks.
If you are not thinking about where you want to be and how you want to present yourself, then you are going to be at a loss.
2. Establish Your Experience
Think about things to stand out from your peers:
- Study hard and attend class to pass your tests
- Volunteer with various nonprofits
- Join the right interest groups on campus
- Have (or will) work as an intern in your field
- You do all this to gain experience that will add value to your resume.
Personal branding will help define your position in your field.
Think about who you will be presenting yourself to in the next 2-3 years. During that timeframe, think about who you want to attract and what you want to do. As you think about this, consider the companies, leaders, and other institutions you want to work with and ask:
- Who they are (company, position, etc.)
- What their industry and company needs are
- What are their current gaps based on the above answers?
These answers will help direct your efforts as you take on new challenges and opportunities. Always remember to think about the “End Game” before thinking about the steps to get there.
You need to have a strategy and overview of what you want to do before you can put in place tactics to accomplish that strategy.
3. Show Your Passion
“What are you passionate about?”
Write this question down. If it is difficult to answer this question, then you have a personal branding issue.
Your passions and interests should be evident by how you spend your time, money, and resources.
Do you spend a lot of time working with city government in your area? Do you spend a lot of time researching environmental issues? Where do you spend a lot of money? Who do you support and what topics are focused on?
Understand your passions by how you answer these questions and check how you spend your time.
Building a personal brand as an undergraduate will help express your passions and find gaps of knowledge in your current skill set.
Identifying knowledge gaps allow you to build on your skillset and experience to make you a stronger candidate in the job market.
In today’s economy and job market, knowledge is not enough.
4. Get Ahead Of The Curve
The idea of a personal brand is a new concept to many college students.
Many college students don’t think about their personal brand until after they graduate. Thinking about your personal brand before you graduate is the best thing you can to ensure your future success.
Waiting to build your personal brand just puts pressure on yourself and hurts your chances of success after you graduate.
The key to success just knowing where you are going. Build your personal brand now in college so you can get the most our of your life after graduation!
Shoot me an email or Tweet me if you are struggling to build your personal brand in college. I am happy to help you in whatever ways I can!
Featured image / John Walker