Graduated? Seven job tips for college graduates.

2. Know who you are and what you have to offer

Bruce Benedict/Volvo Cars of North America, LLC/PRNewsFoto/File
The 2010 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD are on display in San Francisco in this 2009 file photo. Each car company has a brand – and you should, too, when you prepare to search for a job.

Take a moment and think about what kind of car you drive. Or if you don’t drive a car, what you’d like to drive if you had one? What adjectives or characteristics do you associate with your car? Safe? Well-engineered? Versatile? Eco-friendly? Car companies spend gazillions of dollars crafting the brands of the cars they sell. Looking for safety? Buy a Volvo. Superior engineering? Audi. Versatile? How about a Ford minivan? Want to save the planet? You better drive a Toyota Prius.

When we decide to purchase a car, we consciously or subconsciously have certain attributes in mind that will make the car “feel like me.” That is exactly why car companies pour money into brand development, brand marketing, and advertising.

You are no different. As you go out and try to “sell” yourself to future employers, it’s essential that you know exactly who you are and what you want to be. By being clear about what you can offer to hiring managers, you will be able to get people to buy into the brand that is you.

Discovering your own brand is an essential component of differentiating yourself from other hungry job seekers. Think about what makes you different, what skills you have to offer, what you’re passionate about, and what you can bring to an employer that will make them want to pick you. If you were a car, what would be your best selling points? If you don’t know what they are, ask a counselor, a parent, or friend to help you uncover what makes you a great product for employers to buy.

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