Think of the concept of branding like this: A hiring manager has two different candidates under consideration. All elements being equal:
- Candidate A: Has general ambition, good potential, skills and grades
- Candidate B: Has specific ambition demonstrated by two different internships applicable to the role they are interviewing for; They balance a schedule of part-time work, a leadership position in two campus organizations as well as their academics; They volunteered twice in the last two years to charitable causes; And they have good potential, skills and grades
Who do you think has a stronger brand? Who do you think stands out? What drew you to that conclusion?
So let’s define ‘Your brand.’ Simply it is:
- ‘What you bring to the table
- Backed up with test-of-time accomplishments
- Validated with the support and network you developed along the way
- Via your accomplishments.’
At the college level, recruiters and hiring managers look for potential. But they also are impressed by, and seek present experiences, even generic ones, that are indicators of future success. Like:
- High motor (good energy that is above the norm)
- Multitasker (evidence that you can keep multiple balls in the air and get things done)
- Leadership (your peers and those in authority look to you as a leader: VP of this or that student group, Secretary of your sorority, etc…)
- Honest with high integrity (what you profess to be is accurate)
- Relevant experience (you have built an impressive above-the-norm set of accomplishments and in so doing, you have learned and grown along the way)
- Beautifully abnormal (you stand out relative to the norm on campus)
Don’t take these attributes literally. Build your own version of impressive. But as I often say, the opposite of success is not failure, but conformity. That is why you have to become abnormal in a very beautiful way. You define beautiful.
Is any of this impossible or improbable for you to obtain (or attributes like them) if you put you mind to it? If you sacrifice the necessary time and when the going gets tough, you keep on going?
When you apply yourself in an exceptional way, exceptional things happen, and you have more choices.
Finally brands have two essential elements: They must be both authentic and consistent.
Authentic in that what you represent is true and you have history that validates it. Moreover, those who know you and have worked with you, had you in their class, or witnessed you in a campus organization, would describe you the way you describe yourself.
Consistent in that you perform like this as a matter of course. It is not what you have done just this semester, or going to do next semester, but how you consistently perform.
On course? Keep it up.
Off course? Adjust, then go forward.
We all know what personal brands are. It is what we bring to the table. Get your thinking up, and become the brand you want to be.