How to Build a Winning Personal Brand on Campus

We’ve all had someone come to us for advice on a certain topic numerous times or maybe you receive the same kinds of compliments (or shade), from different people from time to time. It’s important not to ignore these thing but really analyze them and how you feel about the things being said to you. Why? Because it’s all a part of your personal brand. A personal brand is very different from the brands we see on TV or in the magazines – your personal brand is all about YOU. It’s everything you say, do and how you act consistently. If you find yourself always getting compliments on your hair and makeup, it’s most likely because you’ve established someone who gets dressed up every single day. This also means you get a lot of reactions on days you choose not to do your hair and makeup fully. 

Establishing a personal brand is so important for getting the right people to notice you and have the right opportunities you’re your way without ever really seeking them out. Making a name for yourself can be a hard thing to do but it’s best to start while you’re in college to make your post grad life much easier. Here are 7 things you can do before you graduate to build your personal brand on campus:

Photo: Huffington Post 

Photo: Huffington Post 

1. Join a club

Joining a club can be a really amazing experience, because you get so much valuable experience that you can apply to jobs later in life. Make sure the club you join isn’t just for the heck of it and you’ll actually be getting something out of it and showing people who you are. If you’re all about your business and helping others improve their professional skills, an academic club or organization within your university’s school of business might be right for you. There are also professional and interest based Greek-lettered organizations, in addition to the traditional social fraternities and sororities. Going out for leadership positions in whichever type of organization you choose is what is really going to build your personal brand and make you stand out on campus. It’s best to stick with 1-2 organizations and move up the ladder during your 4 years of undergrad.

2. Become a brand ambassador

There are so many companies looking for talented, personable college students to represent their brands and expand their markets. This is the first example of what building a truly reflective personal brand can do for you. Companies that employ brand ambassadors usually look for students who are already involved in some way or have a way with people and great salesmanship. The goal of these programs are to bring awareness of the brand on campus and increase sales in that particular demographic. For example, I once knew a girl who was a brand ambassador for Mountain Dew on my campus and each week she had tons of FREE product to hand out in addition to tabling with the clubs in the student center. Also, I have worked under the girls who were ambassadors for Victoria’s Secret PINK. We hosted events, giveaways and store meetups to get students excited about the brand. If you are the plug on campus, people will definitely notice.

Being an ambassador shows that a successful company has a great deal of trust and faith in you and that speaks for itself. [Tweet this] 


Photo: Columbia BSA 

Photo: Columbia BSA 

3.    Curate your social media and build a following

Social media is such a large part of our lives these days that t’s hard to ignore it. Millennials these days are taking nontraditional routes to get to where they want to be and it can be as easy as Instagram. There are tons of students who have actually chosen to drop out of school and make a career out of the posts they curate on YouTube, Instagram, Vine and just about everything else. But even if you aren’t trying to become the next social media sensation, it’s important that you are strategic about what you’re posting. This means scheduling your tweets if you are a writer, posting about anything you’re doing from your job to other extracurricular activities.

When people see you posting content other than selfies, they’ll take notice and start to take you a little more seriously.  [Tweet this] 


4. Participate in events

Getting involved is key to getting noticed! If I want to build a personal brand around the fact that I love to dance, I’m probably going to try out for all the dance shows on campus and really put myself out there. Soon people will start to notice you as the girl who can dance and look at you as an expert in this. The idea of building your personal brand is that people who don’t really know you at all still have a pretty good sense of what you’re all about. If you love fashion, model in a fashion show; if you like to sing, sing in a talent show and if you’re a good entertainer you might want to inquire about hosting some events on campus. There are plenty of events being held each month by the school and the clubs there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be thriving in this area.


5.    Community Service/Volunteer

For someone like me, who was on the executive board of a club, I have completed so many community service hours I can’t even count them all. Volunteering about a cause you actually care about not only looks good on your resume/LinkedIn, but shows your peers and higher ups that you have the ability to do good work for the benefit of others, without getting anything out of it. Community service is a great way to meet people in the community if you are away at college in a new town and make connections. This builds your personal brand by displaying a higher level of maturity, selflessness and discipline.

6. Start a business

Many of the companies and bloggers that are successful today have started on a college campus, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo!, WordPress and more.  Starting your business in college is another way for you to showcase your knowledge and expertise and target your fellow students as clients or for feedback. The great thing about starting ventures in college is all the free resources that are available to students. Everyone likes helping college kids, so using the student card will always be beneficial in one way or another. Young entrepreneurs can start to establish themselves as a force in their industry and this helps build not only your personal brand among peers but to industry leaders as well.

7. Write for a publication

Not everyone is a writer but there are so many other jobs you can do as your school newspaper or magazine that can help you brand yourself. If you are a writer, be sure to write for a specific desk; don’t write about sports if you’re a news junkie because then you’ll be branding yourself for the wrong niche. Photography, design, advertising, and social media are all options for branding yourself within a campus publication. It’s great to be able to see your name in print and even better when your name is Googled because any work that was published will all be there for everyone to see.

Searching for a job or new opportunities become so much easier when you’ve already branded yourself as an expert at what you do. When potential employers or collaborators can see the work you’ve already done, there isn’t too much talk proving your worth. Already having experience goes a long way but going out of your way to do something extra and set yourself apart from others is how people graduate with full time offers. If you’re ready to start making a living off doing what you love and do best, use these tips to begin branding yourself before you enter the job market.