Think about this: there are hundreds of millions of business people in the world. Out of those people, there is a HUGE amount that is aiming and learning towards the same goals as you. You as a professional and individual were born to stand out - so how do you do that? You need to build your personal brand. I'm sure you've heard this before, but what does that mean?
Think about a brand such as Pepsi. You know it's a soda company, it's red, white, and blue, it started the Pepsi Refresh Project, etc. A conversation can go many places as people talk about Pepsi. "What are the new commercials like? Remember when Britney Spears did her Pepsi days? Wow, the Pepsi Refresh Project just funded this awesome project for this place a couple of cities away!"
Now, when people say Your Name, what will they be thinking of? What do you want them to say about you and think of you as? Here are ways to help build your personal brand.
1. First and foremost, start a Twitter. Yeah, Facebook is great and all, but that's more on a personal level. Twitter is a way connect with professionals in your own field and to see what others are talking about and blurb about what you're interested in. Post links to articles you're interested in or that relate to you as a professional, use hashtags (#) and participate in Twitter chats, and take advantage of the contacts you make on Twitter. I've made so many contacts via Twitter -- I even had an internship where all I did was tweet. It's a way for businesses and companies to reach out to people they're interested in.
2. Start a blog. This is extremely important in building a brand. On Twitter, you can talk about things in 140 characters or less where on your own blog, you can go on and on and on! Start a blog and talk about things that you are interested in. Want to have a career in the Fashion industry? Start a blog and post about fashion related things. Make it about what you think. This is all about you and your opinions! Have photos or designs that you've created? Make a blog or an online portfolio of your work! It's such a great way to collect all of your work into one place that is easy for others and employers to see. Think that your blog is going to be a hassle to maintain? If you're blogging about things you actually are interested in, you won't get bored with it. I promise.
3. Make your resume reflect your brand. Post links to your website, Twitter, blog, etc. on your resume or in the signature of your e-mails. The visitor count on my website has SKYROCKETED ever since I put a link in my e-mail signature. Also, make sure your resume isn't too bland. My resume isn't perfect, but it has color in it, which a PR professional has told me that, that is a big plus. Appeal to your possible employer in a way that will impress them. You may want to check into your Career Services to see how you can make your resume top notch.
4. Last but not least, tell people about what you do! Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter that you have a blog or website. It took me a long time to tell people about my passion with makeup and the fashion industry because I was a little shy. Little did I know, a lot of people would be really interested in it. A lot of people actually enjoy reading the things I post, and even if they didn't, who really cares? This is you and your personal brand! Not everyone likes Pepsi, and not everyone is a fan of soda anyways, but look how successful Pepsi and it's brand has become. Don't forget that a huge way your stuff will spread is through word of mouth. If an employer sees your blog and likes a post on it, he/she may bring it up to someone they know, then they'll talk about it to their friends and so on.
As always, be sure to keep it professional. Don't turn your Twitter into nothing but randomness, and do not use inappropriate language. Be sure you aren't turning your blog into a diary, although talking a little bit about yourself and your life is a good thing! And of course, flaunt who you are. Your personal brand should reflect who you really are and what you stand for. Don't put on a front about who you aren't and talk about things you don't care about. In doing so, you'll stand out from your employers and professionals and be more memorable, possibly even before they want to schedule that interview.