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Personal Branding

Tips and Tools For Students

By April 16, 2019May 1st, 2019No Comments

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As you pursue internships that ignite your career and prepare for your first full-time position upon college graduation, there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart from your competition.

Be Selective

Think through what you really want to achieve out of your internship and be selective in which opportunities you pursue. That’s not to say that you won’t want to be flexible in what opportunities you are willing to accept, because it is all a learning experience, but having some goals as to what you want to achieve before you begin your search can help you attract the right kinds of opportunities.

Be Prepared

Your Strengths and Value. Think about your strengths and experience and what you have to offer. As students, you may not be thinking about how your position as a server in a restaurant translates to customer service experience or how being captain of a high school sports team demonstrates leadership skills or how your gaming blog demonstrates strong written communication skills. Write down the experience you do have, through paid work, volunteering, class projects and hobbies and translate that into experience that recruiters are looking for in the students they hire.

Research The Company and Assess Their Needs. Ideally, you’ll want to take some time to learn about a company before you apply, but if you don’t do your pre-work up front, you will definitely want to research the company before your first interview. “When a student hasn’t taken the time to get to know what our company is all about before our interview, it is painfully obvious. With so many exceptional candidates crossing our desk, with 100 applicants or more for each available opening, not showing an interest in our company leads to a quick rejection. There are just too many others who really want to be there.”, recruiter from Arrow Electronics.

Attributes of The Top Candidate. We asked many recruiters and hiring managers to share their insights as to the top attributes they look for in the people they hire. They’ve said, “Enthusiam”, “Work Ethic”, “Attitude, Attitude, Attitude”, “Hungry & Humble”, “Passion! What you’re interested in and why”, “A Winner! Someone with a history of achievement who follows through on projects through successful completion”, “Willingness to learn and do whatever it takes”, “Transferrable skills like communication, professionalism, leadership and time management” and many more. Did you notice that these attributes don’t hold an expectation that you know how to do the work described in the job description? Employers know they can teach you that. They hire attitude over skillsets every day of the week, proving that it’s worthwhile to focus on developing your soft skills.

Team Player. Be ready to discuss why you are a stand-out choice and how you can contribute to the future success of the team. Focus on those soft skills that are your greatest strengths.

Have Your Toolkit Ready

Resume. When applying for a position online, your resume must include something compelling to get the hiring team to want to talk with you. For most companies, they are not using keywords to “rule out” applicants. Instead, they look at every resume to quickly assess whether or not you are a “maybe” or a “not the right fit”. Get your resume to work for you by including the things that will set you apart from your competition.

Visit for a downloadable template and example with Resume Essentials Checklist.

LinkedIn Profile. Keep it simple and professional and use this as an opportunity to connect with people that you may not have easy access to otherwise. Students showing initiative to connect with recruiters and senior level executives will often get a “Yes”. Who knows? That LinkedIn connection could help you land that internship or first job out of college.

Do More

When the competition is fierce and you want to do something special to rise to the top, consider developing a presentation package to leave behind with the hiring team after your last on-site interview. Use our template or come up with your ideas. Ours is simple and includes:

  • Cover Page
  • What The Employer Is Looking For
  • How Your Experience Is Relatable
  • Letters Of Recommendation
  • Your Resume

Visit to view an example of this presentation style and download a template.

Additional Tips

Show Gratitude. We often hear complaints from professionals who help college students with advice and connections that they never receive a simple “thank you” for their time and effort. You can stand out in the most positive way by thanking those people who have supported you throughout your college and career journey.

Define Success For You. Imagine yourself having achieved all of the success in the world. What does that look like for you? Write it down. You can always change your definition as you learn and grow and move through life, but writing it down now will give you a starting point toward achieving that life you imagine.

Make A Friend At Work. When you do land that internship or first amazing role post-graduation, you’ll make work so much more enjoyable if you have develop friendships at work, even if it’s just one friend.

Join A Business Association. There are so many incredible opportunities available through business associations and there are very few students who participate. In case you are unaware, many of these associations offer student rates and many brilliant people from incredible companies are members of these associations. You can attend their events, in person and online, and volunteer to support

Your Lifestyle Matters. Prioritize the things in life that energize you and fuel your desire to bring your best to work each day. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for someone who will be fun to hang out with. Someone who is enjoyable and has a “life” beyond the office. Make time for hobbies and outside activities and find ways to have fun in your every day life. Plus, it’s good for your health. Remember, “An ounce of gold cannot buy a minute of time.” Make sure you’re living the life you want every day, versus putting everything into work, hoping that you’ll get to enjoy “life” later. One thing we know for sure is that we don’t know how much time we will have on this earth. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy life each and every day.

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May you live the life of your dreams, at work and beyond.