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Ten Things You Must Do to Market Yourself in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

With increased competition in the employment market, it may seem like every college student in a given field is exact- same major, same extracurricular club or intramural sport, and same dream job. A clever way a student can be distinguished is by means of personal marketing. Everyone has a story, a unique background of their own. However, a wide array of experiences is hardly possible to be adequately expressed within a one-page limit of a resume or a few lines on an application. Here are simple and creative ways to ensure that your bright and goal-driven self will stand out from the pack.


1. Create a LinkedIn account.

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Social media is, of course, the new obsession in this current day and age. Why not use it to your advantage? LinkedIn can be described as a “professional Facebook,” where an individual can create his or her digital resume on its platform. Allowing people to connect with each other, LinkedIn is an easy-to-use source for networking with peers, colleagues, on-campus recruiters, and professors. It is greatly resourceful for its ability to present a student with some recent internships and full-time job postings, which reflect one’s professional interests. LinkedIn is your first step in establishing a sense of personal professionalism.


2. Upgrade your wardrobe.


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There is no surprise that when you dress your best, you feel your best. The way in which you present yourself is someone’s first impression of you without saying a single word. You do not need to be studying business in order to dress business casual; purchasing blazers, button-down tops, sports jackets, and a polished pair of shoes is all it takes to evoke a classic and mature presence.


3. Make connections with professors and upperclassmen.

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In college, it is inevitable to come across a diverse set of individuals. Everyone has a different background and a new perspective to convey. Each student has distinct career goals and interests just as each professor has a personal set of experiences and expertise. A student truly expands knowledge when he or she is exposed to a chain-network of people- whether that is of university alumni or simply similarities in involvement. Do not be afraid to ask questions to those in your major who may be older than you; they were once in your shoes not too long ago. You may be surprised at the level of guidance and inspiration you will find from those in your campus environment!


4. Do your research on your major.

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You are spending four years at your college earning a degree, and you certainly want to make the most of it! Whether you are discovering different certificate and minor programs your school has to offer, researching what the day-to-day career path may be like in your given field, or browsing various extracurricular academic organizations or competitions to participate in, there is only good that can come from being forward-thinking. Being ahead of the game can help indicate if your given field is the right fit for you. It is completely acceptable to change a major of study if your passion does not lie in that field. College is all about learning as you progress in each semester.


5. Think outside of the box.

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Being just a tad bit daring when faced with a routine schedule may be the little “push” you need to market your individuality. Be creative with the resources you have on campus and find an area outside of your main field of study to delve into. A journalism major intrigued by the stock market may decide to execute a research project in the economics department on campus. Whatever your passions are, try to combine them collectively into your studies. Thinking outside the box this way will demonstrate taking creative initiative with a task as well as expressing an authentic version of yourself by incorporating things you love.

6. Improve your hard skill set.

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Hard skills are any technical skills that demonstrate one’s readiness for employment. Skills such as proficiency in Microsoft Office, certification in Bloomberg Market Concepts, and experience in video production platforms are examples. Entwining specialized skills with what are called “soft skills”- attributes such as communication, time management, and public speaking- into your overall abilities is a well-rounded approach in marketing yourself among a range of networks.


7. Create business cards and a personal website.

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A clever and overachieving method in building your personal brand is creating a set of business cards. Take a professional headshot, include your name, university, major, and year of graduation, and include your contact information. Creating an innovative marketable product to distribute to recruiters and new connections is a great way to apply a background to an individual. If you are more creative, constructing a digital portfolio to represent a brief biography, list of experiences, and digital media or impressive coursework is an excellent way to market yourself like that of a company website. Whichever method you use, strengthening your outreach is always beneficial.


8. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

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Life is a never-ending learning experience. Part of learning is asking questions on topics that you may need clarity on. Never assume and always be proactive in finding the answer, even if it takes a couple of resources to get there. By showing additional interest to any facet of your academic and professional career, you are already standing out among a pool of individuals who were scared to inquire further.


9. Have your resume reviewed.

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With various templates and categories to include on only a sheet of paper, it is surely a wise idea to have a second pair of eyes look at your resume. Some universities offer resume review sessions, where a faculty member and expert resume writer will critique your work. Even if it is an error as little as adjusting margins, it insures a student that he or she will submit their finest resume to that dream position.


10. Never stop learning.

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As noted before, learning is a cyclical and constantly emerging facet of everyday life. Even those who have received their PhDs are still immersing themselves in research, online classes, literature, Ted Talks, newspapers, and academic conventions to receive a new perspective on a topic at hand. Complacency is not a word in the brains of the most successful and dynamic individuals; they constantly strive to appreciate all opportunities and what they have to offer. It is definitely a great choice to say yes more, regardless if they step outside of their traditional specialty of study.


In a constantly changing world, personal branding and marketing are important areas a student should work toward, especially while progressing in an academic setting. Follow these tips to climb your way up the professional scape, all while having a bright future ahead.


Victoria Giardina is currently studying at the College Honors Program at The College of New Jersey with a major in Journalism and Professional Writing in the School of Arts and Communication and minors in Communication Studies and Interactive Multimedia. She lives in Manalapan, NJ. Her articles and other written work has been featured in "The Dr. Oz Show," (DoctorOz.com), WebMD, Medscape, CNN, and, of course, Her Campus. As a creative, Victoria enjoys reading new books, journaling, spending *too much time* on Pinterest and browsing lifestyle blogs (all with an iced coffee in hand). Check out her digital portfolio here: https://www.victoriagiardina.com.
Kyra Mackesy graduated The College of New Jersey with a BA in Journalism and Professional Writing and a minor in Criminology in 2019. While at TCNJ, she was an active member of their Her Campus chapter, holding a wide array of positions: President and Campus Correspondent, Editor-in-Chief, Senior Editor, Marketing and Publicity Director, and Social Media Manager. She loved seeing her chapter grow throughout her four years in college, and will remain an active Her Campus Alumni.