Correct me if I’m wrong, but it is never too early for any individual to start marketing their personal brand. This is especially true for soon-to-be professionals during their undergraduate years. Think about it – undergrads have some work experience, so they’re pretty green in that department, but they’re eager, ambitious and some positive marketing will likely only have a positive impact on their future job hunt upon graduation. Here are 8 quick-hitter tips for undergraduates who are interested in marketing their brand!
Join a Professional Association as an Undergraduate
Find and join a local professional association in the professional field of your interest. It doesn’t matter if this is tied to your industry or your job function. Simply join as a student member, and volunteer to help with a committee of your choosing. I personally joined the American Marketing Association a few years back and have found the investment more than worthwhile.
LinkedIn for Undergraduates Looking to Market Their Brand
Make use of your full headline
Make use of all 120 available characters in your LinkedIn headline and make sure to pack it full with keywords relating to your unique skill set. Terms such as finance, analytics, big data, strategy, etc. – use terms that are SEO friendly and likely to catch the eye of hiring managers.
Craft your bio with a goal in mind
Craft your LinkedIn bio with a specific goal in mind. Who are you trying to persuade? If you’re looking to attract job offers, then highlight your skills, attitude and overall drive as a young professional. Make sure to drive home any and all contributions you’ve made during past internships. Make sure to clearly define your ideal industry and job function.
Use an Appropriate Head Shot
Make sure to use a professional headshot for your profile picture. If the previous sentence wasn’t clear enough, I’ll rephrase…DO NOT — USE A PICTURE FROM YOUR SPRING FORMAL WITH YOU DOING SOMETHING THAT YOUR GRANDMOTHER WOULD NOT APPROVE OF YOU DOING. Get it? Got it? Good!
Make sure your social media is spotless
Clean up your social media. There are plenty of services out there that can help you complete this goal. I’m personally akin to BrandYourself – in fact, here’s my BrandYourself page. While the price tag may leave your jaw on the floor at first, it is definitely a worthwhile investment. Share the idea with your parents and see if they’ll help cover the cost if need be.
Perfect your elevator pitch as an Undergraduate to Start Marketing Your Brand
Have your elevator pitch down pat. Come up with a few sentences that identify your situation and clearly define your goals – i.e. who you are & what you’d like to achieve. Be sure to make it professional, but don’t be afraid to add in a little personal flair. Once you have the framework down to an art, practice adjusting on the fly to account for various situations in which you may find yourself in the future.
Start building your online presence during your undergraduate years
Buy yourself a domain, preferably one containing your name. Pardon the shameless self-promotion, but I’m a big fan of andrewroche9.com, andrewroche99.com, andrewroche.me, andrewroche.info and andrewroche.biz – yea, it may seem a little overboard, but having multiple domains based on your name can come in handy if your make use of multiple landing pages!
Build your professional network as an Undergraduate to Start Marketing Your Brand
If you haven’t done so already, start building your professional network. Your undergraduate classmates are a great starting point and the same goes for both your professors and any guest speakers you have a chance to rub shoulders with during your undergraduate years.