Social networking sites can provide an excellent platform for students to begin establishing a professional presence.
Today's students hear frequent warnings about being careful with what they post on social networking sites, in consideration of the long term damage such postings can cause. But whether through Facebook, LinkedIn, or any of the social networking sites and forums out there, students would also do well to consider how to turn these types of online environments to their professional advantage. This guest post by Angelita Williams offers some great guidelines for doing just that.
Personal branding isn't just for entrepreneurs and bloggers wanting to make it big. In today's laterally mobile, globally collaborative economy, professionals are finding that their independent skill sets, experience and charisma can set them apart from the competition in a bold way, leading to exciting prospects in all kinds of fields.
Being able to market yourself to lots of different cultures, businesses and industries is one of the most effective ways you can create a stable professional and financial future for yourself, as you'll demonstrate a wide range of abilities and a diverse portfolio, hopefully making you invincible to any future recessions.
Since personal branding is such a key part of surviving in the working world, students should start practicing their own marketing skills and developing their personal brand. While they'll surely want to reinvent themselves and discover new interests and ambitions from high school through college, identifying their natural gifts and personality traits will not only help them figure out a career choice, it will boost their confidence in what they have to offer the world. The Internet is an effective tool in promoting your brand and your image, but there's a fine line between bragging and connecting, especially if you're young and inexperienced.
Here are 5 easy steps to get students started in establishing their personal brand through social networking.
- Identify specific goals: First ask yourself what you want to get out of your social networking plan. You want to work on your personal brand, but which kinds of people do you want to appeal to or network with? How do you want them to perceive you: as professional and smart or as creative and curious? Rate your priorities to give you a better idea of where and how to start.
- Separate your friends from your branding: Personal branding means you want people to see the real you, but that doesn't have to include your weekend shenanigans. Be honest on your profile, but if you're worried about friends posting dirty pictures or jokes, set up a new profile — or use a completely different platform — for your more serious networking. This separation will also help you focus on your professional goals.
- Use the same picture: This step is very easy. Pick one flattering, close-up photo of yourself, and use it for all avatars, social media profiles and blog IDs. Using the same picture will make it much, much easier for people to recognize you when you comment or log on.
- Include a link to your resume: Even if your resume is a little sparse, make it available to anyone who's curious about your education and objectives. Post it with your profile, or at least provide a link to a blog, online portfolio or other site that features your work and CV.
- Be consistent: You're allowed to change hobbies or experiment with new interests and subjects in school, but communicate with the same tone, log on frequently, share links, keep up with contacts, and continue to network honestly and in a way that reflects your genuine nature. Personal branding is about how you make people feel and what you can contribute, just by being yourself.
By-line: This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online college courses. She welcomes your comments at her email address: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com. Comments are also welcomed here of course!