Eastern Michigan University’s graduates are notorious for our hard work ethic and our ability to transition smoothly into the workforce. We work diligently to climb the ladder in our career fields; our students strive to earn their degrees rather than being handed them. While hard work plays a significant role in achieving career goals, self-promotion and self-branding are imperative to overall success; especially for young people looking to start their career.
In today’s climate, candidates must go above and beyond to illustrate their ability and willingness to acquire a job – hard work is no longer the driving factor in the eyes of potential employers. We all work hard, we all have a commendable work ethic. We complete projects that we are proud of while working numerous jobs to afford tuition and living costs. The current work climate dictates more than just that – if you fail to promote yourself in the industry, chances are you won’t get to where you want to be.
So how do we brand ourselves?
1. Internal change, walk the walk.
“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
Be THAT person, live as the person you aspire to be and shape your goals accordingly. If my professional dream is to become an agent, I should wake up every morning in that mindset nevertheless conveying confidence and charm to the world.
The way you present yourself is what matters the most. Looking, thinking and behaving like the professional you want to be helps instill these behaviors. While catering to your speciality is important, it’s also critical to remain yourself. Don’t alter your personality so much that you no longer recognize yourself.
2. External change, talk the talk.
“Actions always prove why words mean nothing.”
After you put some thought into the way you should think, look and behave – it’s time to put it into action. You want to be the type of person who is undeniably reliable. Let your actions speak louder than your words – this will become one of your most admirable attributes in the eyes of your coworkers and your employer.
I often meet people who say things with no intention of pursuing them. Those who say we should catch up sometime but fail to follow up with plans; “friends” saying they are always there for me but are conveniently not available when I need them; acquaintances who often spout outlandish expectations and goals only to never follow through or attempt to accomplish them. Don’t be this type of person.
Be a friend that people can depend on – that person who gets the job done quickly and effectively. Be a team player – convey your sense of responsibility and set high expectations.
3. The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
“Don’t should yourself.”
There are countless opportunities to get your name out there and to promote yourself. You want to be a writer? Write blog posts for an established organization. Better yet? Start your own blog. You want to further your skills and knowledge in your field? Volunteer at events that relate to your area of expertise.
Follow the top professionals from your field on social media to be up-to-date and have some inspiration. Joining an organization with people who pursue the same major as you can be a game changer. Student organizations keep you current with your field and provide you with countless opportunities to network and experience various aspects of your career field. Talk to as many people as possible – ask questions, open your mind to new ideas and experiences! Be active and make a name for yourself.
4. Watch what you say and do online.
“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”-Erin Biry
Let’s not forget our social media accounts! Social media is not what it used to be – now that you’re an adult, you must be strategic with public posts. DON’T post drunk pictures from last weekend’s party or things that will send irresponsible messages to potential employers. Instead, post valuable things that tells your audience about you, your beliefs and skills. Post things that contribute to the overall discussion and share things that interest you.
While letting people know about your personal life can be entertaining, remaining professional across all social channels puts you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Personal branding is crucial not only as a student but as a professional. We live in a world where we must go above and beyond the ordinary to truly succeed and fulfill our potential! So walk the walk, talk the talk – you will thank yourself later down the road!
Agree with me? Leave me a comment and let me know how these tips help you brand yourself!
About the Writer
Michal Liberman is an swimmer at EMU. She is a junior, majoring in public relations. Michal is from Israel originally, works part time in the EMU Division of Communications, and is featured in EMU’s #YouAreWelcomeHere banner campaign.