Before you can spread your wings and take flight after senior year, take time to prepare for it now. Photo courtesy of mikebaird. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.On Monday, I wrote about how to prepare yourself for life after senior year of college by building up your network of contacts. Today’s post is about establishing who you are to make yourself stand out in a pool of applicants. By doing this before your senior year starts, you can really build up the brand of who you are.

 

Create an Online Presence

It is becoming more and more common for hopeful future graduates to create for themselves an online presence. This presence embodies all that you are and what you want to be. It can include your LinkedIn profile, Twitter, your own website, etc, etc. Take a few moments to research your name and see what comes up. Do you have a web presence? If you do, does it say what you want it say? Because of the increase integration of technology and social networking with professional industries, it is important to be present online. I have been told by several people that they don’t even consider job applicants if they don’t have some kind of online presence.

Take control. Create your own website and craft it to display your greatest achievements and professional strengths. Sites like WordPress or Tumblr are probably the best to start out on, but there are other landing page sites that you might prefer. Use this page to show off the best parts of yourself– photography, video, writing, etc.

Use your Twitter to follow professionals from your industry. Talk to them, engage in conversation to get advice or just to establish yourself in that field. The more you are geared towards your professional in your online presence, the more respectable you seem. It may take some trial and error to figure out where you want to be, but an online presence can get you noticed by other professionals in your field. Start building it up now so it will be strong once you enter your senior year.

I’m still working on my own website, but for an example, check out HackCollege’s Shep McAllister’s website that sets out his achievements and general awesomeness.

Start or Become Involved with Side Projects

When you graduate college and begin to search for life afterwards, you want to be able to walk away with more than just a degree. Build something, expand on something already established that shows off whatever skills you have. For me, it’s writing. I write for this site, I write for myself, I write about things that matter to me in my own time. Whatever your passion is, even if it’s not necessarily related to what you want to do professionally, go for it. Make a project, even if it’s just little. Do something outside of school that shows that you are capable of executing something on your own. 

Polish Your Resume

We’ve had many, many posts on how to improve and polish your resume. This is, however, not a one-and-done thing. In college, you need to be constantly updating and reviewing your resume to make sure it is at its absolute best. Read up on a variety of resume-related articles to get a well-rounded idea of what professionals are looking for. Keep it simple, but make it stand out. Do not include anything from your high school years. Include only the most important and significant achievements to keep from clogging up your resume and taking away from your truly remarkable ahcievements.

Your resume will always need several extra pairs of eyes to look at it. Ask your boss or coworkers to look over your resume and give you suggestions for what a resume in your industry should look like. Ask your professors, your advisor, or your university’s guidance counselors to review it. The more people who look at it and approve it, the more polished it becomes.

Look for Part Three of how to prepare yourself after graduation on Friday.

 

What other tips do you have for preparing yourself for life after college? Let us know in the comments!