As a young PR professional, creating a strong personal brand is essential. Similar to being the new kid in school, your brand is what defines you to your peers. If you want to get hired, people need to remember more than your name, they need to remember you. With that, here are five helpful hints to get you on the right path:
1. Keep Everything –Create an organized file of all the tangibles you accumulate in and out of school. Do not just focus on internship and extracurricular items; class work can be just as important.
2. Organize yourself –Catalog your materials by skill: writing samples, public relations, or any other opportune skill (languages, international experience, etc.) you may have. However, with any skill or experience you include, make sure you know and indicate its professional application.
o Do not leave any wasted space; utilize every opportunity to your advantage. For example: use your homepage to introduce yourself to perspective employers:
4. Strategize–A website is not going to do you any good unless someone sees it. You need a strategy to drive traffic. Here are few steps to get started:
o Business Cards: When someone hands you a business card, return the favor with one of your own. Include your personal and website information.
o Blog: Including a blog on your site is a great way to generate repeat traffic, write about industry topics that interest you.
o Create a personal signature. In every communication you make, you need uniform identification. Make sure to include a link to your website.
5. Network: In order to start buzz around your website you need to tell people about it. Get involved with industry-related events and organizations, volunteer and meet as many people as possible. Take advantage of every opportunity to get your name out there. Follow up with each person you meet—taking notes to help you decipher between conversations —and definitely send a thank-you note, treat it as another opportunity to showcase yourself.
o Note: Always follow up after meeting a professional with a brief email and a LinkedIn invite; both of which should include links to your website. Remember, every action must have a purpose.
Image courtesy of Stefano Principato.