Building a Personal Brand After College
You have 100% control over your personal brand. It’s the story you get to write, the narrative you want about yourself out in the world. Your brand is one of the only things you can control in your personal and professional life which is why making sacrifices for it at a young age is so important.
The way you’re perceived, the decisions you make, the effort you put in — that is what is going to help create your personal brand right out of the gates in your first few jobs out of college.
Coming right out of college, creating your personal brand can be daunting. It’s confusing and officially having an “adult job” can become overwhelming at times. You need to remember that everything you do inside and outside the office, hint: social media, is sculpting your brand. When doing anything, think about what you want people to say about you when you aren’t around. Think about what you want future employers to hear. Think about what makes you unique to everyone around you and build off of that. Live off of those thoughts and those desires and the self motto you set so that you never leave your work personality or brand up to question.
So with that, I’ll leave you with the few tips and tricks I’ve been given straight out of college and have been working *so far* for the last few months of this new “adult” life to help create my personal brand in the light I wish to be seen.
Start with Answering These Questions
When I was asked about my brand, a mentor told me to answer a few questions and then proceed to live out those answers every single day in the office. In order to begin building your brand, I think this will be a good start:
- How you want people to describe you?
- What makes you unique to your peers?
- What do I have to offer?
- How do you want future employers to feel about you?
- What do you value most about yourself?
- How do people benefit by working with me?
- What would your personal motto be in the workplace?
Connections and networking is everything. Find a mentor in your company that you can go to for advice, but also an outside mentor that works within your industry. They’ll be able to help lead you throughout the beginning of your career and will in turn, also help you to begin creating that brand you want people to associate you to.
Make sure you’re creating positive relationships with your peers and also with those in other departments. You never know who can help you get that dream job a few years down the road. Not only that, but being a personable and positive person in the workplace shows great leadership skills and creates the desire to work with you.
I’m not talking about just turning in your project on time, or making a quality first sale or only writing an astounding report. Those go without having to be said..hopefully. I’m talking grind. Instead of thinking about Mondays as the beginning to a long week, think of Mondays as a brand new start each week. A new week to prove yourself. To prove your worth. Be the first one in and the last one out of the office. Show that you care. Show that whether you’re the best producer or not, you’re trying. Show you’re progressing in every way that you can.
This makes your brand tough. It shows that you can handle any project or task thrown your way, and in turn, will make management want you to stick around.
Leave Your Legacy
I had the pleasure of working under an amazing manager my first year out of college. One thing he instilled into myself and my team was to leave our legacy. You will not be in this role forever, but you need to be remembered in that role.
Make sure you’re leaving your mark in a positive way so that your brand is always remembered in a positive light. Create a new process. Go out of your way to make the people you work with feel special. Design something that changes your department focus forever.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re inspiring those around you and especially those working below you. Make your brand so appealing that people want to work with you and want to be hired into your exact role once you leave. Leave your job in a better place than it was when you got there.
Going Forward With Your Personal Brand
We have entered an era where branding yourself amongst your peers is no longer optional. In order to grow and see success throughout your career, your brand needs to align well with future employers, the company culture, and team dynamics.
When doing anything, think about what you want people to say about you when you aren’t around. Think about what you want future employers to hear. Think about what makes you unique to everyone around you and build off of that. Live off of those thoughts and those desires and the self motto you set so that you never leave your work personality or brand up to question. Good luck!