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Guest Blog: Dan Schawbel's Top 5 Personal Branding Tips

By Gradspot Dot Com

Personal Branding Guru Dan Schwabel kindly agreed to share some of his thoughts on networking and personal branding with us. In tough economic times, it's all the more important to stand out from the pack.

1. Go through your Network Strength Pyramid

Networking is paramount for getting in-demand and desirable jobs throughout your career. It will also save you from months of labor intensive work submitting your resume to job boards and corporate websites. I developed the “Network Strength Pyramid” to show people that they need to start thinking of everyone they meet as a possible connection to a new opportunity.

Your family is your strongest connection, followed by friends and then acquaintances sit at the bottom.

When you have built rapport and a relationship, the chances someone would drop what they are doing to help you increases significantly. Most people won’t be compelled to go out of their way for you when you meet them for the first time. Make your life one big networking event!

2. Change your mindset

Recent grads must understand that working conditions are rough right now. There have been 1.2 million layoffs since January and the job growth rate for entry-level graduating seniors is only at 1.3%. This means you need to do things differently. If you follow the same advice you’ve ever gotten in the past, then you will only have results equal to that, and in this economy, that means failure.

You need a “brand you” mindset to succeed, not just in acquiring a job, but keeping it and progressing in it. Think of yourself as the CEO of your own brand, much like Coca Cola and Nike. You get to name your colors, logo, and overall experience. How would you describe “brand you” to others? Forget about getting a job title; make your own job title. In a world where things are constantly changing, you need to be the commander of career, which means that at the end of the day, success lies in your hands!

3. Collect everything you’ve already done and put it to work

One of the sad parts of life is that people are obsessed with what you’ve done in the past. When I wanted to get a job, I leveraged every single project I did in the past as case studies for the future. For instance, I led a team to establish a business plan in college, created websites for companies and did cool projects in my internships at LoJack and Reebok. I was then able to use the results of the projects in a marketing pitch to get a job when I graduated.

I know you might want to forget about the past, but trust me, it’s worthwhile to catalog everything you do, just in case something you’ve done applies to a future job.

4. Are you an entrepreneur or a corporate employee?

This is a very important question to ask yourself because it depicts what you’ll be doing upon graduation. If you’re an entrepreneur, you may be looking to start a business immediately, continue a business you started in college or work for a company, until what you’re doing outside of work takes off. If you want to be a corporate employee, then you will want to get a job when you graduate, and possibly go to graduate school, so you can move up into management as soon as possible.

5. Use social media to build personal equity

Having trouble networking, getting your ideas out there and claiming a piece of the digital world? Look no further than social media to provide a channel by which you can accomplish all three. I would recommend starting a blog that relates to both your passion and expertise. Next, I would ensure that you register your name on the top social networks and link from one to the next. Links build equity in your sites, leaving your sites ranking higher in Google, so people can find you. The reach of the internet using these tools is extraordinary and can help you connect with the right people at the right time.

Dan Schawbel is the author of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 2009)". His Personal Branding Blog® is consistently ranked in the top 100 marketing blogs in the world. He publishes Personal Branding Magazine®, is the head judge for the Personal Brand Awards® and directs Personal Branding TV®.

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