WIth tough job prospects and tuition rates higher than ever, establishing a personal brand is essential for young professionals under pressure to find employment. According to the Economic Policy Institute, employment for those under 25 is close to double the national average. For recent graduates facing the sea of other applicants, standing out from the crowd is key to professional success. For recent grads and young professionals, personal branding is a must.
Find your focus
Some young professionals have found their calling and know exactly where they want to go in life. Others aren’t quite so sure. Wherever you’re at in your job search, hone in on your goals. Scrutinize the qualities and ideals of your most-wanted career. How can you utilize your talents and abilities in these areas of interest?
Black Enterprise advises you mold your brand around these ideals. The more clear you are in your vision, the stronger your brand can become and the more focused your career will be. Keep these defining characteristics consistent across the board in your job search.
What are your best qualities? If you can’t name a few off the top of your head, Wet Feet suggests asking those around you. This feedback from friends, family, and coworkers will provide you with the impression you give others. Or try a few assessments to get a feel for yourself and how you operate. StrengthsFinder focuses on your greatest assets. Myers Briggs and DiSC analyze your personality and tendencies when working with others.
This self-awareness will give you an insightful advantage over other young professionals and the foundation to an honest and authentic brand. Because personal branding is about marketing yourself, knowing your strengths will strengthen your brand.
Building the brand
Once you have developed a sense of self and career direction, begin building your brand. Many young professionals recognize the importance of a digital presence, though they may not be utilizing every opportunity online. Social media is a given, though make sure your profiles match your brand across the board. Delete and remove any unprofessional, negative, or unsavory posts and images and update regularly. Keep LinkedIn current and continuously work to add more connections to your network. Create brand-relevant content through videos or a blog to keep your presence visible.
And, if you haven’t already, invest in your future through a personal website. Through Squarespace, you can claim your name as your URL for the ultimate launching pad online. On your website, you can customize your look, tell your narrative, upload a portfolio, and elaborate on your brand for the world to see. Your website will serve as an impressive launching pad for all your online outlets and best present your brand.
It’s a tough time to join the job market for recent grads, but young professionals with a strong sense of self and direction will ultimately have the edge on the competition. With a well-iterated personal brand, professionals of all levels of experience will have the upper hand in their job search and begin the long road of professional wellbeing.