It’s finally time, after 16+ years of schooling college graduation is here. While you might be using it as an excuse to throw one last little party with your friends, the thought that it is time to grow up and face the real world never really leaves the back of your mind. It is scary to think about not having the comfort of seeing your friends every day in class and around campus, that college hasn’t prepared you enough, that you don’t have any idea what you want to do as a career and even scarier to think about never having an official summer break again. Two years ago I was in this same position and I learned that the best way to face most of the scary aspects of entering the real world, especially getting a job, can be solved by creating your own personal brand, which is a great way to market yourself.

Know Your Audience

One of the most important things to pay attention to when looking for a job is the environment of an office and make sure that you respond accordingly. While you may find a job that isn’t as formal as other professional jobs, there will still be certain behaviors that you will need to adapt to in order to transition to the real world. It is also important to pay attention to the environment of a workplace to make sure that it is a good fit for you.

Be Aware Of Your Social Media

These days many employers will look at your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, before you even come in for an interview. They want to know to know that outside of work you will represent the company name and brand in a positive way. If you’re not willing to part with all your college photo albums, consider changing the privacy settings so that your posts are just available for your friends and not the public – it could make the difference in landing a job.

Accept That You Don’t Know

While you have learned a lot in the 16+ years you spent in school, you are not done learning. I was a little bummed when I realized that even though I had graduated with a marketing degree and gotten a job in that field, I still wasn’t prepared. It was extremely frustrating to feel like I was starting from the bottom again, but once I accepted it I started to learn even more. The best way to learn at a new job is through asking questions. You will feel like a pest, I did, but that is ultimately what taught me the most.

Network, Network, Network

In college they probably mentioned you should network, but it may not have been at the top of your priorities. While it may be uncomfortable to be bold and connect with other people, it is extremely important to help build your career. Getting a job these days can be extremely hard, so you increase your chances when you network since it really is all about who you know and who can help you out. Besides helping to land a job, networking is a great way to receive professional wisdom as well and learn from those who have been in the industry longer than you.

Ask For Feedback

It can be a hard task to personally measure how you are doing at your job and the only way to improve is to know what you could do be better. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on a regular basis. Not only will this give you the ability to track your progress and see growth in your work, but it will also show your company that you are proactive and committed to providing excellent work. It also gives you a great opportunity to set goals you want to achieve.

While there is a ton of valuable information that you will soon discover as you enter the real world, try to remember that creating your own personal brand will be a helpful tool as you search for your career. No matter where you choose to go with your career, one thing you can control is how you market your personal brand – good luck!

Photo credit: Nottingham Trent University