What is branding? For a large company, branding can be a promise to consumers or what separates them from other businesses. Successful branding is what turns small companies into medium and large into Fortune 500 companies.

As successful college students, it’s time we look at ourselves as companies and develop a personal brand.

Having a personal brand is the same thing as having a reputation. However, a personal brand extends past gossip and into reviews. Just like when someone tests a product and reviews it, your personal brand is being developed based on experiences people have had when working with you.

Going to a small school such as Texas Wesleyan has its perks, and one of them is that branding yourself a lot easier than if you went to a large school.  If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Students  who go to larger schools tend to feel more lost and feel that they can’t contribute positively to their surroundings.

The wonderful part about our university is it functions as a small community, where everyone has a job and feels needed. Because of this, Wesleyan is the perfect place for us to build our personal brands.

The first step to personal branding is figuring out where you want to go. Do you want to be a law student? Do you want to be a vice president of a company or participate in community outreach programs? Figuring out where you see yourself makes it easy to keep pushing yourself in the long run.

Conduct research about yourself. Even if I could lie and say this part is easy, I wouldn’t. Researching yourself takes guts and thick skin. You’ve got to be brutally honest. Be careful not confuse being honest with just beating yourself up. For every bad thing about yourself, find two good. The balance will find where your strengths are and what needs some work.

After you’ve conducted your personal research, it’s time to look at where you stand, especially as far as other people’s perceptions. You should usually not worry about what other people think of you, but for the sake of branding yourself, determine if what they are saying about you is said out of spite or if it really has something to do with how you work in groups or on projects.

The last step is creating your brand game plan. Your personal brand should include everything from how you carry yourself on social media to how you carry yourself in the classroom and workplace. Don’t forget that with a few strokes on a keyboard, your entire internet presence can be pulled up. If you are running for a prestigious position or entry into an organization, make sure you have a past that counts toward your future.