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5 Ways to Prepare for Success During Your Senior Year Of College

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5 Ways to Prepare for Success During Your Senior Year Of College

I may have jumped the gun by agreeing to write this article considering my final fall semester of college started three weeks ago. However, after working in the career center of my school for quite some time now and seeing senior after senior come in with the same “Help me, I’m graduating” look on their face, I think I can offer a couple sure-fire tips for success to graduating seniors. After all, I am one now (cue the world’s smallest violin).

Here are five ways you can set yourself up for a bright future during your senior year of college:

 1. Raid your nearest career center

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    I’m not kidding when I say this: if you haven’t gone to the career center at your school, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Not only are career counselors some of the most helpful people on this planet, but career centers provide students with a multitude of FREE (that’s right, I said free) services you can’t afford to pass up. Literally, you can’t afford it. Once you’re out of school, services like that are going to cost a pretty penny (a.k.a. NOT FREE). So go to your university’s career center, set up an appointment with a career counselor, and let them help you figure out your plans before and following graduation. I guarantee a weight off your shoulders is going to lift once you do.

    2. Spice up your resume

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      In the words of Mary Poppins, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Think about it. If you were an employer looking through stacks upon stacks of resumes all printed in size 12 Times New Roman black font, you’d jump at the first sign of a visually-appealing paper too. That doesn’t mean go all arts-and-crafts-crazy on your resume and throw glitter all over it. It means make yourself stand out among the rest of the carbon copies by designing your resume in a way that’s not only tailored to a potential employer, but also tailored to show your personality. After all, an employer isn’t just looking for someone to fill a job. They’re looking for someone they want to work with. Check out Pinterest resume templates for ideas.

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      3. Internships!!!

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        You may be asking yourself, “Why did she put three exclamation marks following internships?” There’s a very good reason why, aside from the fact I’m on a sugar-high right now, and it’s because internships are the foundation for any career. Most, if not all, successful people started from the bottom and worked their way to the top. The best way to set yourself up for success is to start pursuing an internship in the career field you’re interested in. Once you graduate, the working world becomes a race to the employment finish line. With a couple internships under your belt, you’ve already got a head start.

        4. Talk to your superiors

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          Professors, internship supervisors, former bosses, current bosses–talk to them all. At one point in their lives, they were in the same boat as you. They get it. Trust me. Ask them about their experiences, what steps they suggest you take to land the career you want, how they became successful, and most importantly, NETWORK WITH THEM. Chances are they know some guy who knows some guy who has a cousin in the industry you’re dying to work in. If you play your cards right, you could end up working alongside that cousin following graduation. Just make sure to send a lengthy thank you card to the person responsible for that connection.

           5. Remain calm

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            With every other senior running around like a chicken with their head cut off, it’s hard to follow this motto. Believe me, I know. It’s like asking a dog to stop barking, but I firmly believe this final tip to be the most crucial in guaranteeing success.

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            Take a moment and visualize a successful person in your head. It could be your boss, a celebrity, a CEO of a major company, or generally someone you wish to emulate. Now, in your mind, can you imagine them losing their cool over feeling uncertain of their future? The answer should be no; and if it’s yes, then I think you need to re-evaluate your idea of a successful person because successful people don’t freak out (at least not publicly). They embody the three C’s–calm, cool, and collected. They’ve mastered the art of appearing and acting as though nothing fazes them; and for some, nothing really does. After all, success doesn’t mean having loads of money. It means self-discipline and seeing the results of your hard work.

            The best way you can be successful is by being secure in all that you’ve done and all you’re doing. People are said to be their own worst critics, but don’t let that be the case for you. Feel confident in the fact that you’re close to completing an opportunity that a lot of people weren’t as fortunate as you to have.

            So remain calm, carry on, and follow these steps towards setting yourself up for success this year. I promise you everything is going to turn out fine.

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            Featured photo credit: Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape/FlashBuddy via morguefile.com

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            Last Updated on August 25, 2021

            Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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            Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

            As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

            Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

            According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

            “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

            A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

            What Is Your Personal Brand?

            “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

            Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

            Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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            I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

            A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

            Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

            Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

            Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

            In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

            According to Castrillon,[2]

            “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

            The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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            As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

            In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

            “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

            When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

            The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

            Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

            The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

            5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

            These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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            1. Set Your Personal Goals

            What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

            2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

            Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

            1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
            2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
            3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
            4. What makes you different from others like you?

            The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

            3. Write Your Professional Story

            Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

            4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

            Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

            5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

            A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

            The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

            Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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            As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

            Other People’s Stories

            Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

            Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

            Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

            “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

            So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

            Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

            Reference

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