Branding Tips for Final Year Students

For many, the final year of uni will be solely devoted to studies. But is it really the wisest thing to do? Thinking ahead and making preparations for entering life as a professional is well worth your time.

Today's graduates face a whole different set of challenges finding a job compared to what your parents went through some decades ago.

Even ten years ago if potential employers wanted to see photos of you drunk they had to ask you to print out copies and bring them with you to your interview.

Today, employers will do their homework and many search both Google and social networking sites to check if you are who you say you are. It takes only moderately good acting skills to hide a wild social life during a job interview but it's all the more difficult to erase years of unsuitable Facebook photos.

Here are four ways you should be preparing yourself for graduating, right now.

1) Remove unflattering photos from the Internet

It’s no surprise all of your photos are of you at parties. That’s the only time anyone thinks taking a photo is a good idea is when they’re drunk. That goes back pretty much to the invention of the camera.

The person taking this camera was drunk and had access to a chicken, a child and some cigarettes. This photo was inevitable.

Make sure that you start the process of removing your less flattering photos early. You probably have a lot of worse photos than the above at uni.

Changing your social media settings to private is a good first step. Go through all photos you're tagged in and delete them if they are not representative of the person you're selling yourself as. Only you, your mates and MI6, if they take the interest, should be able to see all your selfies.

If you're unsure if a photo is suitable, think how it would make you feel if you saw it on the cover of a magazine. If it would make you feel like Kim Kardashian, this is only ok if you are actually Kim Kardashian.

This doesn't mean removing all your party shots. Most employers will want to hire a person who has some sort of social life. Just make sure they're the party shots you want, not the ones your friend's friend tagged you in that time you passed out in the union.

2) Google yourself, furiously

There was a time when Googling yourself was either incredibly narcissistic, or a euphemism. Now it's something everyone should do if they want to get a job.

If you’re lucky, you have an extremely common name and are therefore un-Googlable, or share the name with a famous person or, as in my case, several prominent serial killers.

As long as your namesake is still making movies or going on killing sprees you’re safe to do as you please, in the knowledge that no employer or potential partner is going to find any information on you without trawling through hundreds of pages on Google.

If your name is anything other than John Smith or Miley Cyrus however, you will be very easy to find online.

Googling yourself will reveal if you have old blog sites or old social network accounts out there that you've forgotten about. You may have long forgotten your views on Transformers 2, but you still have a blog and several Youtube channels out there explaining exactly why it sucked, and for that reason Michael Bay will never employ you.

Close down your old accounts, they probably don't represent who you are now, and you don't want potential employers thinking that they do.

3) Get Ahead

Removing some of your old online presence is just the first step. With all the negative stuff about you removed, you should then make sure to use the Internet to your advantage.

Start a new blog where you can write entries that you'll happily show to potential employers.

Create a LinkedIn profile and make all your online presence look professional. The internet isn't just for cat photos:

Although it is mainly for cat photos.

4) Remember there’s life beyond the Internet

There are still employers out there who will not utilise Google and look for candidates that realise that it's just as important to make a good impression in the offline world. Creating a professional business card is a great investment that sends a signal that you are already prepared to take the next step and ensures you will be remembered.

Don't forget to make a good impression on everyone you meet. Being well-spoken and confident is important, but make sure not to overdo things- real life isn't like The Apprentice. You don’t want to seem arrogant. Be polite and helpful no matter where you are as you never know if the person you help in the supermarket is the one who will be sitting across from you in your first job interview.

This article was sponsored by Instaprint