Doing well in school is only part of landing a job. In this competitive market, there will always be applicants who did similarly well, and you need to figure out how to communicate what makes you different. Get ahead by building your personal brand.
Define Your Brand
Employers like people who can bring a unique perspective to the table, people who add something to the atmosphere. Be aware of what you have to offer.
In my advertising classes here at RIT, I was taught to think about your brand in terms of which THREE words or phrases best represent you. Of course, pick ones that would appeal to employers in your specific industry. As somebody working in communications, my brand is “bold, culturally conscious and genuine,” but there’d be a more desirable collection of adjectives to use if I were in a different field.
What have you done outside of class? Sometimes that’s what gives you the edge. If you’re a sustainability major with a cool hobby like building furniture out of recycled milk crates, you should find ways to tell people about that. If you’re majoring in game design but you’ve done extensive independent research on color psychology, mention it. These relevant but unexpected knowledge and skill sets are what separate us.
Communicate Your Brand
If you’re not sure how to get your brand across to others, practice! The Office of Career Services & Cooperative Education is here to help us better ourselves professionally, and part of the way they do that is through advisement. Setting up an appointment to discuss developing your brand can be your first bit of practice communicating what you’d like it to be. If you’re already confident in what your brand is, you can get further practice communicating it by setting up a mock interview for constructive critiques.
Design Promotional Content
Once you’ve figured out how to communicate your brand, reinforce it.
Never overlook the impact of a smartly designed business card. You don’t want your name to be lost in a stack of 20 others. Play around with fonts, sizing, placement and paper type to get across your brand’s essence. Don’t worry if you’re not a designer; you can use your Lynda.com subscription, which is free to you through RIT, to teach yourself design principles and how to navigate the big world of Adobe.
Once you’ve finished the design, the HUB can help make your creations tangible. For smaller print projects, visit the HUB Express, near Artesano. After printing, they can send your sheets to their main location to be cut into the traditional card shape.
If you’re in a buttoned-up industry, remember to keep things clean and minimalistic (Not to be confused with boring). If you’re in a creative field, don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to your standard business card. The HUB also offers stickers, which are a great way for artists to show off their work.
Launch a Website
You know employers are Googling you, so make sure they find something you’re proud of.
It’s fairly easy to create a simple static/portfolio site. First, you will need to register a domain name. I’d say Google Domain is your best bet because it has fast, free private registration, and you can use your RIT Gmail to do it all. A typical domain will cost you a small sum in the range of $10-$15.
Tip: When picking your domain name, try your best to get an address ending in .com. It’s best to get a .com for Google and other search engines to pick your site up, and everyone is used to .com.
When you have a proper domain, it’s time to get a provider to host your files online. Easy hosting providers that can be trusted are GoDaddy and HostGator. Both offer built in website builders as well as WordPress integration (which this very site uses). Again, Lynda.com has helpful tutorials to guide you through the process of setting up a website.
Check Your Presence
Once your brand is established online, you need to check your presence regularly to gauge whether it needs improvement.
There’s a brand new online product that can aid you greatly. It’s called BrandYourself and it provides you with information like reports of how your site is doing in relation to search engines and how strong your social media presence is.
Spend your summer free time on a project that’s fun and professionally fulfilling. Learning your unique value and mastering how you express it can give you the advantage you need to get job of your dreams.
Co-Author: Mohammad Daraghmeh