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Branding, branding, branding. It’s a popular buzzword in the college, internship, and job worlds, but what exactly is it?

Yes, branding can refer to “It’s so easy a caveman can do it”— thank you, GEICO. The branding to which I am referring is personal branding. This type of branding has many different definitions, but simply put, it is the personal identity you wish to convey to schools and employers. Your “brand” can involve many aspects of your life—from your appearance, your knowledge, and your resume, to your online presence with Facebook and LinkedIn. All of these elements are visible to potential schools or employers, and knowing how to create and manage your personal brand is important to future success.

"Indiana INTERNnet Personal Branding"

So, how do you create a brand and manage it? In creating a brand, you first need to identify your goals. If you are trying to snag a specific job, then you need to create an image of yourself that lends itself to that employer.

Start with your resume. What do you have on it? Winning an amateur skateboarding contest is cool, but it does not scream “corporate hire.” Review your achievements, and pick ones highlighting your skills and what you think will be valuable to the company you are pursuing. Make bullet points that are action-oriented and results-driven. Companies like to see the outcome of your work and effort.

ext, take a look at your online/social media presence. Is your Facebook picture of you dressed up as a hula girl at Halloween? (I made that mistake.) Is it a professional picture that would be OK to show to an employer? I am simply advising to think about what you put online—you never know who is looking. Consider “Googling yourself” to see the results. If you want to manage an online persona, LinkedIn is a professional site that you can tout to your future employer.

Lastly, be prepared for an interview, and look the part. Dress well, speak clearly, and have many different experiences and questions ready. Be knowledgeable about yourself. Many interviews include behavioral-based questions. This means employers want to know about your past and what you have done. Be prepared to discuss specific experiences and accomplishments which demonstrate you are the correct hire for the job.

Your brand is how you want the educational and professional world to view you. How do you wish to present yourself to employers during an interview? What can an employer learn about you online?

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