By Samantha Lund, Columnist

The interests you put on Facebook, the pictures you put on Instagram and the messages you send out over Twitter are pieces of you — they are your brand.  Your brand goes a lot further than your social media, and it has a large impact on what companies see when they look at you.        Your brand is what differentiates you, as a product, from competing products in the job market, and as college students entering the workforce along with millions of other qualified workers, it is a big deal.

According to Forbes, the problem most students have with branding themselves is that they do not do enough research on the process. Most students think about their Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets as their only platforms to watch. Even worse, most people think as long as they do not have partying pictures or drunken selfies on their profile, they are fine. Sorry, but that is so wrong.

Branding yourself is all about you and who you are as well as who you want the market to think you are. Before taking a leap into your personal brand, take some time to think about who you are and what defines you. Be as specific as possible in your soul searching, figure out your aspirations and what it is you need to be successful.

Once you know what you want, assess where you are currently and figure out how people see you. You might want to be seen as business-savvy, but if your Facebook is full of statuses about fashion and puppies, you will just confuse people and give off the wrong vibe. Your brand should be a reflection of yourself. If you want to be a businessperson then tweet about business and put fewer pictures of your outfits all over Instagram. Make sure that your online profiles stay current.

If you had pink hair in high school but now are back to your natural color, make sure your profile pictures look like you do now, not the Pepto-Bismol-headed kid you used to be. One of the easiest ways to help your brand is to create consistency with your online presence and your physical presence in the workplace. Not only should you look like your profile pictures, but if you have a work profile, it should have a consistent theme or color scheme.

Same basic idea applies for your resumes, cover letters and business cards. If your business cards are red, try to put some red in the heading of your resume, or have a red logo in the corner of your cover letter. Adding a physical logo or brand to your paperwork is an easy way to stand out. No, you are not Disney or Nike, but you are still a brand and what you do with that brand can be very powerful.            “Describing yourself in the most honest way possible is the best way of branding yourself,” sophomore Will Lockert said.

Remember to keep up with your brand and keep it current. Make sure you are always checking your media, updating your resume, and tailoring your brand to match you as you grow and change. Asking friends and family to look over your brand and give feedback is always a good call. They can tell you how you look and you can count on them to be honest.

You might be giving off a completely different impression than you thought and they are the people who you can count on to tell you. Do not let a possible employer be the first one to say something — talk about awkward.

Check out

https://brandyourself.com/
for an easy way to begin an online presence.

https://www.linkedin.com/
can help connect you to employers.

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