Say what you want about Kim Kardashian, but girlfriend knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. From TV shows, clothing lines, and perfume to jewelry, tanning products, and other paid endorsements and appearances, there aren’t many places you can go without seeing her.
You might think she’s all fluff, but what if I told you the reality TV queen could teach you a thing or two about the best ways to market yourself for your next job?
Here are four things I’ve learned by keeping up with her:
1. Brand yourself
Branding is complicated, but when executed correctly, it’s one of the most powerful marketing strategies. One of my professors at DePaul University told me that branding is simply how people perceive you. It’s the intangibles like perceptions, reputations and personalities that matter.
Kim Kardashian has turned herself into one of the most successful and profitable brands in the country. The women who buy Sketchers Shape-Ups or clothes from the Kardashian Kollection at Sears this fall aren’t buying the product—they’re buying the chance to look and feel like her. Start thinking of yourself as a brand. How do you want people to perceive you? What makes you stand out? When you’re up against a lot of candidates for a job or internship, your answers to these questions will set you apart.
2. It’s the message, not the medium
Whether she’s on TV or Twitter (she earned $25,000 from Armani for a single tweet), Kardashian is always a part of the conversation. While most brands struggle with this aspect of their image, she has it down. And because she’s put her stamp on everything from Carl’s Jr. to a really terrible pop song (sorry Kimmy), her brand is ubiquitous. She’s always part of the media’s cultural conversation. It’s no wonder that the products she endorses enjoy frequent success and almost instant publicity.
You need to be actively involved in today’s competitive job market. The company you’re dying to work for? Follow them on Twitter, “like” them on Facebook, and join the conversation (but remember, privacy settings are your best friend; that picture of your perfect keg stand is not an ideal way to set yourself apart).
3. Expand your social network
To set yourself apart from others, network in person and online. If you’re a college student, your university is probably flooding your inbox with internship and career fair opportunities every week. Look for updates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Our girl Kim K. is queen of social media, and whether she’s chatting about her latest workout or asking her followers for their advice or feedback (all 10 million of them) she makes sure she’s a part of the conversation.
4. Creativity is key
Brands need to market themselves in many different formats. Just because your TV ads were once wildly successful doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other options. Marketing goals are often structured around a single question: “Are we bringing in the desired amount of sales?” If the answer is “no,” changes need to be made. Kardashian was certainly creative in marketing her summer 2011 nuptials: People magazine reportedly paid $1.5 million for exclusive rights to her wedding photos, while E! received an undisclosed amount for the video footage.
While you should definitely network through the “assumed” channels (LinkedIn, career fairs, networking events) think of new and different ways to get yourself out there. Start a blog about your internship this summer. Go to networking events in the city. Take your favorite professor out for coffee. At the very least, you’ll learn more about yourself and be that much more prepared to enter the workforce.
A version of this post originally ran on The Millennial Mafia blog.