RECAP: Personal Branding for College Students

Hey, guys! It's been a while since my last post. Balancing my trade and my passion has been a little difficult. ATL WEBFEST is in it's second year and we've got a ton of work to do and The J. Michelle Firm just finished a huge writing project. I'm just now finding time to update you all. I'm writing with some pretty amazing news. About a month ago, I was invited to serve as the 2014-2015 Career Mapping & Brand Strategy Coach for the HBCU Rising Program. Don't you just love fancy titles? Lol! The program is an Atlanta-based program launched by the National CARES Mentoring Movement and is hosted by my alma mater, Clark Atlanta University. This weekend was my very first workshop and it was awesome!

I spoke to a group of 20 STEM students about how to leverage their personal brand to gain internship and employment opportunities. It was a blessing to be able to share my personal journey with these students. It just goes to show that you aren't the only one that can benefit from the "journey lessons."

I titled the session "Personal Branding for Non-Business Majors" because there's a misconception that only businesses or entertainers can benefit from branding. Not true! If you're entering the job market at some point (which is the goal for pursuing that fancy degree), then I suggest you lean in and check out my four tips for building a personal brand.

4 Steps for Developing a BOSS Personal Brand

Step 1: Develop your professional image. Your professional image includes the following: how you think, act and speak. Period. Attire, attitude and behavior, conversation and language are all included. To help jumpstart your thinking, ask yourself, "When people hear my name, what do I want them to think?"

Step 2: Clean up your online image. I can't stress the importance of this tip! You can be the most experienced  with a slew of impressive credentials, but if a simple Google search reveals your "turn up" from spring break 2k14-- you're in trouble. Check out the social media cloud below. Active accounts on any of the platforms can help get the "you" that needs a job hired. FYI: The other "you" that loves to party should stay OFF of social media, or at least lock it down with a private account. #ijs

Step 3: Upgrade your network. One of my favorite quotes is, "Broke friends can't make you money." It's not just about money; it's also about influence.  Nine times out of ten, your personal circle of friends won't be able to provide you with adequate job leads. As a college student, you have to incorporate the 3 P's of networking (peers, professors and professionals).  Tap into these and you'll be surprised at how influential your network will become.

Step 4: Know your ISH. Implementing steps 1-3 are for naught if you don't know what the BLEEP you're talking about. Paying attention is class and being able to hold an intelligent conversation about your industry is imperative. Taking it a few steps further, you also need to identify industry "thought leaders" and follow them on social media. Lastly, read up on your industry's trade publications or journals. Every industry has them. They are a vital source of information and can be used for chatter in your interview.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Click here to view the full presentation. Be sure to comment below and share your thoughts!