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What College Graduates Need to Know About Creating a Personal Brand

Thousands of college students across the country are beginning to graduate, ready to hit the ground running and enter the workforce. But are they really ready for what it takes to land the job of their dreams? These days, beginning your career means more than just writing a killer resume. Creating a strong personal brand is critical to establishing a reputation when you may have little to no experience.

(Photo Credit: Nazareth College/Flickr)

On her blog, millennial expert Chelsea Krost explains what college grads need to know about personal branding. To begin with, Chelsea explains that a personal brand is "the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual and as a leader."

"Your personal brand should represent the value you consistently deliver to those you’re serving," writes Krost. "This doesn’t mean creating awareness for your brand with self-promotion or showcasing your achievements and success stories."

Instead, consciously create a persona that demonstrates who you want to be -- both online and in front of others.

Krost lists a few ways that new college grads can create their personal brand:

  • "Focus on what makes you unique," she suggests. Consider asking yourself what you do really well, if you're outgoing, or what you actually like to do -- such as write or research. Essentially, try to discover what you're good at.  
  • Use your passion to guide you into a career. Do you dream of working outdoors or for the government?
  • While you may not have much experience, you can leverage the experience you do have to establish your personal brand. What leadership roles have you assumed during college? Be sure to highlight these in your portfolio, on your resume, and especially on LinkedIn. 
  • Speaking of online social networks, it's especially important to be sure those are clear of any photos or updates that could damage your reputation. While college may have been fun, a potential employer looking to find any reason to not hire you (which they do) might not think that photo of you doing something irresponsible will represent the company well should you get hired.
  • Create new content to establish your expertise. If you use the right combination of blogging and social media, you could land your dream job within a matter of minutes, as Charlie Loyd, a self-described satellite image enthusiast, did using his portfolio and Twitter
  • Become your own PR and marketing agent. Ask if you were a hiring manager, would you hire you? Also, be sure to promote your own brand. Join and participate in local meet ups, tweet-ups, and industry groups to help promote yourself in ways that highlight your unique talents.

Tell Us What You Think

What advice do you have for new college grads? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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