According to Behiring, companies receive about 250 resumes for every job position.
Standing out in the sea of industry professionals with impressive careers and lengthy resumes is not easy for students with little or no work experience.
To boost your career, you need to start building a personal brand from day one.
1. Check your Digital Footprint
Start by googling your name and comb through your social networks to analyze the digital footprint you have left so far. Every post, photo, or joke you share is a piece of a complex puzzle called online identity.
Even that semi-drunk photo from the first year of college can negatively impact your target audience. Typos, grammar mistakes, or inappropriate content are a strong repellant for your future employers or clients. Therefore, start by removing any content that does not reflect your personality anymore.
2. Optimize your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is the largest professional social network, providing students multiple networking options. Since 20.000 U.S. organizations use LinkedIn to find and connect with potential candidates, you can even consider it as a digital form of your resume.
However, just registering on LinkedIn is not enough to build a personal brand. Use this network strategically to achieve the desired results:
- Use a professional-looking profile photo. LinkedIn profiles with images get 21 more views and 36 more messages.
- Write an informative summary to showcase your knowledge and enthusiasm.
- List relevant skills and training programs.
- Connect with your peers and professors and ask them to endorse you.
- Keep networking. Focus on people that can convert into your prospective clients, coworkers, or employers. Connecting with users that have confused LinkedIn with Tinder or Instagram will not benefit your career.
3. Build a Personal Website
All LinkedIn profiles are arranged according to predefined patterns, meaning they all look alike. A personal website, on the other hand, lets you unleash your creativity and make it all about yourself.
When building a personal website, here are a few factors to consider:
- Make it searchable.
Consider using your personal name as a domain name. When someone googles you, your website will be the first thing they see in the SERPs.
Domain extensions such as .me are ideal for building a personal website. Many freelancers and entrepreneurs, including Nathan Sanders (nathansanders.me) and Josh Sullivan (joshsullivan.me) use this ccTLD to humanize their online presence.
- Personalize website design.
Build a website that reflects your personality, values, and missions. Every design element, from fonts to colors, helps you gain authenticity and stay memorable.
- Have a detailed “About Me” page.
Include your photo to build trust with your target audience. That is a great place to inform your prospective clients or employers about your education, background, industry knowledge, professionalism, etc.
- Build an online portfolio.
That is the most crucial aspect of your website. For example, photographers could publish photos of their previous projects. That is a great way to help a client/employer know what to expect.
4. Boost Authority on Social Networks
Social networks benefit your career in many ways.
For example, Instagram is a highly visual social network. By publishing quality behind-the-scenes content, you can humanize your personal brand and make it more relatable. You can also engage audiences by creating helpful video tutorials, uploading photos of your projects/products, and creating fun stories.
Start publishing original content on LinkedIn and Facebook. Engage peers by creating polls and asking questions. Write about your results and achievements. Share your experiences and tips. Join relevant communities to post helpful tips and content. That way, you will get your name noticed.
5. Start Blogging
Irrespective of your previous experiences in the industry, blogging is a proven method of building industry authority. Make sure every blog post on your website is original, well-researched, and data-backed. It should be insightful and offer valuable tips. Avoid irritating fluff content or plagiarism that may compromise your image.
Promote your content via social networks and content promotion platforms. There are many easy link building practices, such as link reclamation or broken link building, which will help you earn quality backlinks and drive website traffic.
To boost your brand exposure, start contributing to other relevant blogs. Look for high-authority blogs in the same or related industries. Similar to content on your blog, guest articles should be helpful and insightful. That is also a great way to organically insert a link to your personal site to boost its traffic and rankings.
Over to You
In personal branding, consistency is critical. Link all of the digital channels you use and keep your presence memorable and recognizable. Above all, keep refreshing your personal brand as your career evolves. Keep looking for new branding channels that will help you grow authority in the industry.