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What if I told you there was a way you could meet new friends, network with industry professionals, and get free products from your favorite brands? It might be time to learn what a brand ambassador is and how to become one. 

College brand ambassador opportunities are exploding in popularity — and for good reason. Brands across all industries are launching their own ambassador programs, like FedEx’s ambassador program at HBCUs and Fenty Beauty’s college ambassador program. Word travels fast on college campuses, so marketers go directly to their intended audience to get user-generated content of students using and loving their products. 

You may be familiar with ambassadors for Victoria’s Secret Pink, Bumble, and Rent the Runway, but with many smaller brands joining the ambassador wagon, there are endless opportunities for you to get in on this as a side hustle. (And no, you don’t have to be an influencer to get started.) If you’re curious about what it’s like to be a brand ambassador and how to get involved, here’s everything you need to know.

What is a brand ambassador?

The rules for being a brand ambassador differ by company, but the end goal is the same: Your job is to promote the brand through your social media channels and on campus. Usually, you are given either a generous discount, the opportunity to earn commission on sales, free products, or even all of the above.

Each opportunity is different, and the time commitment varies. Some programs have laid out posting requirements, such as a set number of feed posts and stories per month or even required promotional events on campus. Other programs are much more lenient, and offer posting suggestions rather than rigid guidelines. In my experience, this can take anywhere from one to five hours per week, depending on the program. You’ll likely get an outline of what is expected from brand ambassadors in your contract before you formally take on the role so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.

Being a brand ambassador can help you with longer-term career prospects.

Becoming a brand ambassador is a great resume builder as well as a networking tool. I have worked as an ambassador for both Beachwaver and Kendra Scott, and I can personally attest that I have met amazing people through the programs. My experience with Beachwaver has even led me to work for the brand as an intern, and I’ve been able to meet and interact with students all over the country with similar interests through these programs, which has helped me form both friendships and professional connections. 

I’m not the only one, either. Olive, 21, a student at The New School, tells Her Campus that through brand ambassador programs, “I am able to connect with people I wouldn’t have before and make new friends!” 

There are also short-term perks, like extra cash and free stuff.

Not only are brand ambassador programs a great way to network, but they can also become an extra source of income. While every program is different, some offer commission as an incentive for sales using a personal discount code. 

While extra cash is always a benefit, depending on which brand you work for, they might also send you free products to try out, post on social media, and more. Choosing a company whose products you like will help you get the most bang for your buck here. Joely,  21, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology shares that she loves the perk of trying new products as a brand ambassador. “It has allowed me to find new products I am now obsessed with,” she tells Her Campus.

The application process is pretty simple.

When applying for brand ambassador programs, go after brands you truly use and love already. It will make it so much easier to genuinely promote and share the products when you are already a fan of them. Plus, interviewers can usually tell whether you are actually a fan of the brand or not. I have been using the Beachwaver to curl my hair since high school and wearing Kendra Scott for years, so both of those brands were a perfect fit for me. When you are excited about a brand, it shows!

Just as the expectations for each program may vary, the application process can vary as well. Some programs will simply have you send a resume and answer a few questions, while others use a more formal interview process. Remember to relax and let your personality shine through during an interview — the interviewer wants to see that you are passionate about the brand.

If you’re looking for opportunities to work as a brand ambassador you can often find them through networking groups such as College Fashionista or The Campus Agency, or even on LinkedIn. Sometimes brands will even reach out to you directly if you tag them in your posts already. Word of mouth is also a great way to score these opportunities. If you know someone who works as a brand ambassador for a company you love, ask them how to get started! Sometimes they can even refer you to their supervisor and put in a good word

Social media experience is definitely a plus when applying to brand ambassador programs. While some bigger programs may have follower minimums and quotas to meet, you don’t necessarily have to have a perfectly curated Instagram to score a brand ambassador position. Be sure to keep your social presence professional and clean. Before your interview, have a few ideas for how you would promote the brand on campus, as many of these programs rely on a combination of social content and on campus events. This can vary from something as simple as setting up a table and passing out samples to a large scale event with guest speakers. During my time as a Beachwaver ambassador, I have collaborated with my Her Campus chapter to host a few virtual styling sessions with Sarah and Emily Potempa, the founders of the company. You can get really creative with the kinds of events that speak to yourself and your school.

Being in college has its perks (ahem, student discounts) and brand ambassador programs might be the best one of all. Work with your favorite brands, try new products, earn income, and build your resume — does it get any better?

Carli is a 2022 grad of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and served as the style section editor for Her Campus. After being a national style writer for Her Campus, she launched Her Campus FIT. A born and raised Jersey Girl, she is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. In her spare time she loves running, jamming to Taylor Swift, and tracking down the best burgers. Find her on Instagram @carliannescloset.