HC Alum and Variety correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister recently interviewed fashion icon and author Bevy Smith on Her Campus’s Instagram, to talk about everything you need to know about paving your own way. Whether you’re still in school, transitioning into post-grad life or settling into a new job, Bevy has a wealth of advice as you prepare to launch your career. Here are four key takeaways that you need to remember as you go through the exciting, beginning years of your career.

Be your own publicist 

I know it’s easy to feel like you may be bragging or unnecessarily uploading new milestones to LinkedIn, but it’s really important to keep people updated on your accomplishments. Whether it be on social media (LinkedIn is the prime platform for this) or in conversation, hype yourself up! You don’t need to cross the line and come off as arrogant, but you can and should definitely highlight your recent milestones. If you don’t, no one will! 

Use social media to your advantage  

For all my fellow students out there, remember: social media is the best, free marketing tool you have. You are 100% in control of what you post, how you post it, and how much you market your account, which means you are your own marketer.This can seem a little daunting, but it’s also the greatest gift, tbh. Just like Bevy says, all college students nowadays come with social media knowledge – don’t lose out on that knowledge or pass up an opportunity to market yourself. 

Think quality over quantity  

This can obviously be applied to basically anything, but I’m specifically talking about social media. In this day and age, our Instagram and Twitter accounts are more important to most of us than…well, you can fill in that blank. Use that to your advantage, but keep in mind that it isn’t the number of followers that count, it’s the engagement. How many people interact with your posts or stories? Do you get more comments on your post than other accounts with a similar number of followers? These are the questions that matter, because whether you’re looking for sponsorships, brand deals or are just trying to get your name out there, social media engagement is the key.

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Make sure you’re paid what you are worth  

Okay, before I continue, be careful with this one; it’s no secret that most jobs post-grad don’t pay the best (or even close to the best), but as you gain that experience, make sure your next jobs don’t undervalue you simply because you want them. As Bevy explains about a contract she passed up, “I don’t want to be on the side of the bus while riding the bus.” Exposure is great, but make sure you’re getting paid what your experience and your skills deserve. Remember, you have to be your own negotiator; no one else can do it for you!

There you have it! Just a few pieces of career advice from Bevy Smith’s new book, Bevelations: Lessons From a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie which is now out everywhere. Grab your copy and settle in – you’re going to want to remember her words the next time you’re on the job hunt or need to renegotiate a contract.

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