For students who are feeling overwhelmed in building their personal brand, AC has useful workshops and resources. Photo credit: Jeremy Morse

It’s not easy to get noticed in today’s world, especially when students plan to create a brand that emphasizes their unique skills, knowledge and strengths. It could be an overwhelming task that could confuse individuals that don’t know where to start.

The Applied Research, Innovation Entrepreneurship (ARIE) and Employment Support Centre at Algonquin College recently hosted a free virtual workshop titled “How to Create a Personal Brand” for college students. The workshop aims to help them create a business and maximize their college experience so employers take note.

“One of the common things I hear when people want to launch a business through the college and me is ‘I’m new to the business, I don’t know anything. Who am I?'” said school of business professor and ARIE coordinator, Stephen Gagne.

“Your brand is your reputation or your legacy,” said Gagne. “Cultivating that brand or creating that brand goes a long way in opening all the doors you want to see, whether it’s for your job or your business.”

The workshop touched on the importance of personal branding in order to differentiate you from your competition, understanding what you can offer and identifying your targeted audience and its needs.

“Employers will tell you what skills they are looking for, but it’s not enough to have these lists of skills in your resume,” said Algonquin employment officer, Jessica Andrews. “You want to make sure you’re elaborating on each skill and providing evidence or demonstration of each skill to show employers that you have the abilities they are looking for.”

During the workshop, students were asked what essential skills they developed that would make them valuable during the start of the pandemic. Most said “growth mindset” and adapting to doing virtual classes, meetings and presentations via Zoom.

It’s essential to make some connections and talk to people in the industries you’re interested in, whether through social media or a gathering, to get the feel of the job or career path you want to position yourself in. “A resource that a few people use that is hugely helpful is to talk to alumni in your program,” said Gagne. “Find out the reality they are in now because that’s going to be you soon.”

Individuals are encouraged to join clubs or become class representatives, join events in their communities to gain some experiences in their department and from different faculties that could offer skills they may not be familiar with. They could search for free or discounted courses on LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, edX, and Coursera, or explore other resources, like the AC Hub Volunteerism, Employment Support Centre, or the library to discover open opportunities to build up their skill set to shape their personal brand.