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Sep 15 2015
by Mia Renee Cole

How to Build Your Personal Brand in College

By Mia Renee Cole - Sep 15 2015

For the first time in most of our lives, as new college students, we experience added pressure on building a professional brand in order to better appeal to potential bosses. Branding ourselves is one of the most important things we can work on while attending university and I’m here to give you five quick tips on how to shine in the professional world.

Make a LinkedIn…And Actually Use It

With the development of LinkedIn, there is literally no excuse not to have a resume available online. LinkedIn is a social media website made specifically for people to build their online portfolios and expand their connections in order to be more successful professionally. College is a perfect time to create a new LinkedIn profile and keep it updated with your job experiences and extracurricular activities. This is a unique and modern way of developing a resume while also meeting new people.

Make Business Cards

Not only do business card look supper official and professional, they save you time when making connections with colleagues, professors and students. I prefer VistaPrint because they offer a wide variety of cheap business cards that allow you to personalize them in order to better represent what you’re trying to market. Simply putting your name, email/website and phone number on a card will assist you in appearing more professional to adults.

Become Involved

People always say that college is the perfect time to find where you fit in…so use this to your advantage! Join clubs that interest you and will allow you to flourish in the professional world. Find a job on campus that can contribute important skills to your resume. Work hard to get an internship doing something associated with your major or minor in order to reach your professional goals. Whatever it is, experience is always key, so go out there and get some.

Know Where You Stand & Stay Up-to-Date

Now that we’re officially adults (gasp!), it’s time to stay up-to-date with both world and local news. To appear more well-rounded and professional to adults and peers, you’ll want to be updated on current events so that you don’t sound (or look) like a complete idiot when they’re brought up in every-day conversation (which they are). If CNN isn’t your thing, try reading a newspaper or find an online source for news. I personally prefer reading my news because it allows me to be more selective in what I read, and I’m also able to read it in my free time. If you don’t feel like reading or listening to boring newscasters won't cut it, college campuses almost always have a weekly newspaper made by students, for the students. This is a perfect resource to stay updated with local (and sometimes national) news while being printed in a language that is understandable and easy to read for young people.

Watch What You Post

Social media is becoming more and more prevalent in modern society, and whereas that can work to our advantage (i.e. LinkedIn), it can also work against us. As cliché as it may sound, I suggest you watch what you post. You don’t want your potential boss to check out your Facebook and find you tagged in a post where you’re passed out drunk on a friend’s couch. That’s not really the “personal image” that you’re looking to brand, is it? Fortunately, Facebook has a cool function that allows you to moderate what appears on your Timeline, so I highly suggest using that, or—even better—tell your friends that you don’t what a certain picture or story posted online. Just make sure you’re aware of what’s on the internet.

With these few tips, you can create a personal image that will benefit you in more ways than one. Until next time, good luck with branding!

Lead Image Credit: NBCUniversial Television Distribution

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Mia Renee Cole - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mia Renee is currently the Senior Editor with Fresh U and a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying Spanish and French. In her free time she enjoys knitting, photography and drinking hot tea while writing on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @miareneecole or her blog at!

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