Social media is now part of our daily activities and some users use it for personal branding. Personal branding is all about marketing yourself and what you do in terms of your career and skills. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos breaks it down well when he says “A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. It's no secret that most students in higher education institutions spend a lot of their time on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Students spend time online doing research for assignments and to communicate while others use social media because it’s accessible. These platforms are used in different ways for different reasons, but I believe it is high time that students both in universities and colleges use them for personal branding. Times have changed and employers want to be associated with people who have good profiles on social media. I know many graduates who have used different social media platforms to build their profiles in order to attract prospective employers. Some even promote their own work and companies. I remember when I was doing my second year studies in journalism at Tshwane University of Technology; I started a website with my friends. The website was aimed to showcase our work that we did when we were working for TUTfm, RekordNoweto, TUTLife newspaper and TUT TV news. We also indicated which media houses we will be visiting during holidays. We asked editors to offer us internships. I went beyond the call of duty to compile my work in a form of a book. When I was still writing for The Star newspaper, I gave the book to the then editor, Makhudu Sefara. How can I forget how Kevin Ritchie, who has now taken over from Sefara was pleased with my creativity. Sibongiseni Abraham Gentsu who studied IT (Multimedia) at Tshwane University of Technology is one of the graduates who always look for creative ways on social media to promote himself and his company. Gentsu who is a Mindset Learn Xtra presenter on DSTV, has his own company called Gentsu Media Services. The Multimedia Company provides services such as, Social Networking, Graphics Design, Animation Design, Video and Sound Editing. Without a doubt, he always make sure that social media is abuzz with what he is doing. He might not be or not have been in the unemployment list of graduates, but he is a true testimony that when you use social media for personal branding, it turns to do well. With that being said, I am reminded of my first job interview at the SABC in the Digital News Unit in 2012. That interview took 10 minutes and before it even started, the person who interviewed me said, “I searched for your name on Google and I am impressed.” Had I not have branded myself online, who knows, I would not have made it as a digital news producer at SABC News Online. This was only the beginning. I got my current job not only because I am good at what I do, but because of my daily activity on social media, particular on Twitter. I have used and still continue to use Twitter to promote my skills and the work of the company that I work for as social media editor. I am affectionately known as Social Media Savvy, simply because I know and understand how to use social media. Since I spend a lot of time in the world of news, I personally believe being abreast with news and what is happening around me is important. I tweet a lot about news and I have trended several times. In my profession that says a lot about who you are and what you are capable of, followers also trust you for delivering news that is accurate and fair. South Africa has so many graduates who are unemployed and we can’t always blame government for this. Graduates can meet government halfway by being active on social media, joining relevant job groups, Like Facebook pages that often advertise jobs. On Twitter there are many companies and users who share job posts. @TwadioShow and @mobijobsjobs are some of the Twitter users who often advertise jobs. In conclusion, I reckon instead of watching porn online or wasting time posting things that are not beneficial to you or your future, learn more about personal branding as a student and start branding yourself. Follow Sthembiso Sithole on Twitter @SITHOLEEXPRESS for all latest news.

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