To become a confident and hirable professional it is important to find your identity and your own personal brand; to leave a positive and lasting impression by those around you. By taking the time to invest in your identity and brand you are opening yourself up to more opportunities and getting ahead in the professional world. As you navigate your way through college here are some simple but effective ways to start your journey.
Find your passions and interests; those are going to be your biggest strengths.
From early in my college career, I knew I wanted to be a writer and the opportunities that my university offered were endless. Campus is the perfect place to find organizations to get involved with. As a public relations major and creative writing minor, the doors to opportunities to become a better writer were overwhelming. I joined workshops and writing clubs. I became a member of PRSSA and volunteered to help with our Chapter’s annual report. Through these organizations, I was given more opportunities — like attending special events, volunteering and professional development activities..
Colleges can be daunting in the volume of people. As you navigate your way through school, pick out the people you find yourself respecting and wanting to emulate in life. At my university, I gravitated towards professors that wanted me to succeed and that I wanted to make proud. I also kept an open line of communication with student leaders and like minded classmates that quickly became my friends. Remember, you are the people you surround yourself with! Check out this Progressions blog on finding a mentor for inspiration!
Social media has become our generation’s most popular platform for communication, so utilize it! Through social media, I was able to join public relations and writing groups that allowed me to meet inspiring people in those fields who had great advice to offer. Facebook and Twitter are great outlets for meeting and connecting with new people, while still promoting yourself as a young professional.
Resume and portfolio.
It is so easy to overlook your resumes and portfolio as you delve into school work.Remember that those papers can be added to your portfolio and volunteer opportunities look great on a resume. Imagine my surprise when a professor told me to bring one of my papers to an internship interview, and that paper ended up landing me the position. Take pride in your work and achievements, they are your stepping-stones to achieving your goals.
Business cards and continuing education.
You attend a lot of events throughout your college career, which inevitably means you will be meetings a lot of important people. How do you make a good impression? A firm handshake and a smile aren’t always enough. Think about printing up some business cards with your name and information listed on them —also include your college or university, social media links and think about listing any organizations that you’re involved with. Check out the PRSSA/PRSA events website to find an event near you.
With an impressive portfolio and resume, active social media presence, a willing attitude and strong network you are more likely to stand out and become a young professional that is confident and hirable, as well as leaves a lasting impression.
Emily Krawczyk is a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, majoring in public relations, as well as minoring in creative writing. She serves as the 2017-2018 UAB PRSSA assistant firm director and is the nonfiction editor for UAB’s women’s literary journal, NELLE.