With this integrated digital world and the revolution of social media, it is important for graduates and undergraduates to understand the importance of creating and managing their own personal brand. The graduate survey 2011 revealed that from a total of 30 universities, there have been 343,000 graduate job applications. The survey also revealed that only 39% of graduates would consider marketing themselves online, suggesting many undergraduates and graduates may not see the potential advantages of this, or simply do not know how which this post aims to solve.

Why create a personal brand online

With roughly 34% of recruiters using social media sites such as LinkedIn as a means to screen candidates, it is very clear that this is ever increasing becoming the norm. This generation is used to using the world of social media daily, so ensuring you have a sound brand image online will ultimately help to portray the right message to recruiters who see your profile, but more importantly, grab their attention.

The basics

Brands have a set of values and meanings that make them individual, unique and..well them. If you take Apply for an example, you think of innovation and some of the best technology available as well as the classic Apple logo. With your personal brand, you need to ensure that you think about what message you want others to associate you with, what exactly you stand for. The same goes for the direction you want to take. For Apple, we think laptops, iPads and apps - what do you want the outside world to think of you? It is certainly worth pointing out your specific aims that you want to achieve in order to focus on what you want to do and how you are going to get there. This may assist in the development of your job search strategy which I have briefly mentioned in a previous post and something I will go into more depth next time.

Self Analysis

I was lucky, I knew more or less what I wanted to do before I started university and as such took the most relevant classes I could and got the experience I wanted in order to learn more - but this isn't the case for many of you out there. There is no problem having done a business related subject before university for instance, then deciding to doing an engineering degree. All you need to do, is justify why and emphasise the skills you have learnt. Do get as much experience as you can and document this - An engineer with a business mind demonstrates a good mix that potential employers will love and a unique selling point for your personal brand.

However, it is also really important to shout out your achievements - If you have done particularly well in a university competition, let this be known. Take a look at your CV and amongst the paragraphs detailing your experience and the bullet points expressing the skills you have gained - shout out the key successful areas from what you have done as this will stand out.

Managing your online presence

This is also an important factor. There may well be particular photos from a night out that you wouldn't want recruiters to see (let alone your parents) and so it is essential to manage your online presence to maintain your brand. This is where privacy settings come into play, it may sound simple but you really do need to be on top of this to ensure the things you don't want others to see, doesn't leak out. Type your name in Google now just to see what search results come up. When you go for that interview, recruiters might have done this beforehand to gather more information about you but also as a filter (which is likely to be more of a common practice in the future). Therefore, making sure you provide them with the information they want (and equally, the information you don't want them to see) is vital.

Hopefully the 61% of you that had not even thought about devising your individual brand and managing your online presence will now consider building upon this. Using and fostering these channels that you have been accustomed to is one way you can express yourself to recruiters and it may even contribute to finding that dream graduate job!