College is the perfect place to try new things. Dare to explore your passions and learn more about yourself. It is also a time in your life to work on the career that you dream of. From taking classes to joining extracurricular groups. The possibilities for achieving your goals are endless! One of the most important things to do when trying to reach them is to market yourself. I mean really putting yourself out there. What are your interests? What kind of skills are you good at? How can you align the two? These are great questions to ask yourself when you begin to focus on a career path. In this blog, I will share some ideas on how you can better prepare and market yourself for the career that you want.
As basic as it sounds, one of the best ways that you can establish your personal brand is by having your own business card. Business cards enable you to share your information along with the skills and services that you can provide. If you meet a potential employer at an event or outing, give them your card in conversation. It shows your interest and your ability to network with others. They may refer to it when they hire next. If you are familiar with design try creating your own. Employers are intrigued by your ability to create and promote a your own product. But in more cases than others, business cards can get expensive! Creating a stack of 100 or more cards can be costly depending on how they are designed, printed, and packaged.
Tip: Ask Daddy to help you put your name out there through the gift of business cards.
What do you bring to an interview? A notebook and pen? A smile? These are definitely important elements. However. they aren’t the only things to bring. Going into an interview with a clean resume, business card and samples of your work shows that you are prepared and ready to learn more about the position. Coming in with a nice, black binder or folder of your pieces is a professional way to showcase your work. This can include pieces from previous internships, courses, and projects you have completed. Don’t have any work to share? Think of a project you would want to work on and create it yourself. Professionals love to see how you have excelled over your academic career, and your ability to start projects with limited direction or guidance.
Being in a digital age, the popularity of websites is ever growing. Launching your own website not only shows ambition, but your ability to summarize your skills. Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress are just a few platforms that allow you to customize a site. This is a great space to display your work, passions, and personality for employers to find. Some platforms are free with an assigned domain. Other websites, especially those of businesses, are customized. A lot of the time, customized websites are purchased remain unique. Not sure how to start? Do some research. See what layout and style works for you. A lot of websites link to other platforms, like blogs and forums, that are used to demonstrate their passions. Why not share yours?
How exactly do you gain experience in your desired field? You might start by applying for an internship! Internships prepare you for life after college. They are the best way to try out potential careers/job roles and strengthen your skills. More businesses look for qualified candidates, the more competitive the market. You may find an internship by first visiting the career services center on campus for opportunities. You can even find them yourself on any job hunting site.
Tip: Ask Daddy if he knows anyone who is hiring or willing to host an intern. Some internships are paid like part-time positions. However, a majority of them are not.
Another tip: If you are taking an unpaid internship, ask Daddy for help. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for assistance with travel or other expenses to get you started with this step in your career.
Network, Network, Network
One of the best things that you could do for yourself is expand your pool of connections. Reach out to friends, family, friends of family, families of friends; anyone who may be in a career that you are pursuing. A great way to do this is to create a LinkedIn profile. It’s like Facebook for professionals. LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to represent your work experience, extracurricular involvement, accomplishments and projects. It also creates the option to connect with millions of users like yourself. But nothing beats one-on-one interaction like an in-person meeting. You can make new connections by attending school- sponsored networking events, conferences and even career fairs. Making and maintaining these relationships will serve you the benefit of better communication and a larger network.
If you’re a recent grad or not in college, you can still use these tips to your advantage. GET INVOLVED! Volunteer at a local non-profit organization or take an extracurricular leadership role. Helping out with an organization’s blog, social media page or event is a great way to explore your interests and gain the experience you need. If you’re still not quite sure on what to do next in your career, ask a mentor, or better yet, Daddy himself.