Today’s guest blog is from Jenna Glynn (COM ’11)
As we prepare to launch ourselves into the real world upon graduation it’s important to think about how you want to position yourself to employers. It is no longer just about what you wear on an interview, making your resume pop and ensuring that your cover letter conveys your passion for a position; today it’s about YOUR brand.
I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m headed with this – how does one build their brand? Many of you are already doing this using social media tools! Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging – this is how you create your brand. The first step to doing so is by establishing your voice. Your content can be peppered with humor and sarcasm or straight-laced and highly professional. Most importantly, it has to reflect YOU!
Social media enables us to have an evolved inter-personal experience with potential employers and people who share our interests. While Twitter gives users only 140 characters to express themselves, it’s amazing what people are saying with so few words. Using Twitter you can reach out to CEOs you may never encounter otherwise and let yourself be known. Then there is Facebook. Originally geared towards college students, Facebook has grown and now enables brands to put a face to their company, products, and services. LinkedIn is undoubtedly the most career oriented social media tool of all. It allows users to “connect” with peers, coworkers, and superiors to share their professional experiences and even seek out new job opportunities. Lastly, there is blogging. Blogging, in my opinion, is probably the best way to really establish your brand online. A blog allows you an unfiltered platform to speak from where you may present yourself however you choose.
If you’re still a little unclear about how to present yourself and build your brand I have a few tips to consider. First, don’t be afraid of your voice. This is especially important when blogging. There has been many times when I’ve blogged and worried that my opinion would offend someone else. It’s one thing to throw a bunch of profanities onto your page (that would NOT be a great idea), but if you can articulate your opinion tastefully and provide a sufficient amount of evidence as to why you feel that way, then go for it! There will always be naysayers and differing opinions, but if you embrace your blogging voice and believe in your cause then that’s all that matters.
The second, and perhaps most important, is build a solid network and work hard to maintain it. Just because you’re creating content doesn’t mean people are reading it. It’s important that you engage your network by commenting on their content as well, whether it is via Twitter, Facebook or commenting directly on their blogs. People are busy and they don’t always have time to read your latest posts, but when you’re an active participant on their pages you’ll find they’re happy to take the time to read your thoughts and offer feedback. A great way to keep up with all the things you want to read is by using a RSS reader (like Google Reader) or compiling Twitter lists.
Social media is like the secret weapon for the class of 2011. Never has it been so easy to get your name and your message out in a space where people are signing up to listen! Creating your brand and then directing potential employers to that brand will give you an edge setting you apart from your peers. If you don’t believe me then try it for yourself. Then maybe you can shoot me a tweet in May when you’re employed -@JennaGlynn.