While doing my weekend reading I came across a few articles from different perspectives on the unemployment rate, job creation, and what new college graduates should do in such a tough job market. The tone was overwhelmingly negative and really didn’t leave you feeling too optimistic about the outlook for the future. Seems like the norm these days with the major media outlets.

Opportunity doesn’t always knock on the door you’re facing

That’s too bad – I happen to believe the future holds plenty of opportunity – although it may present itself in different places than what we’ve become accustomed to. You can take the opposite viewpoint if you wish but it won’t get you very far – so why bother.

Let’s be honest with ourselves though, the economy is tricky, fickle, and tough to wrap your mind around – but beyond anything else I would argue the biggest side affect of this economic downturn has been on your psyche.

With all that has “hit the fan” — the negative headlines – the drop in your investments and home equity, it can be tough to think about or begin creating your personal brand – but you need to!

Recent college graduates listen up

You’re the luckiest generation to ever set foot on this planet! Sure, it may be a tougher job market than you would like at the moment, but you’ve managed to avoid most of the pain that’s been dealt out by the economic downturn. You don’t have to worry about your mortgage, a shattered 401(k) plan and not having a job with a family to support. You should be thankful – I  know I am!

But, welcome to the real world – a place that can be unforgiving, unfair, and cruel. It can also be a place filled with opportunity, chances to push yourself and reach your dreams. The odd thing about adulthood is that it begins when you’re already many choices into it – so start making good choices now.

Choose to build your personal brand

The earlier you decide to begin creating your personal brand the quicker you will begin to see a return on

investment from it! You also have a unique opportunity in your grasp — you have the opportunity to really leverage the power of social networking and new media to get ahead while you’re at the beginning phase of your career. All the generations before you cannot say they had the same advantage. This is huge!

I can assure you that if you build your personal brand now and learn how to promote it you will go further than you would have otherwise and you will be more fulfilled as well. You will advance quicker through the ranks at work and you may have the chance to do something you truly love everyday.

Stop worrying about the stupid headlines or that it’s harder than you want to get a job right and start focusing on what you can do to differentiate yourself with your personal brand.

How to get started

1.) Subscribe to this blog immediately: there is no better blog on the planet for personal branding advice and commentary.

2.) Read Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success: Dan Schawbel’s book will clearly outline how you can begin down the path of creating your own personal brand.

3.) Read about personal branding for 15 minutes everyday: that’s the equivalent of about 91 hours of reading over the course of the year. I guarantee you will learn something useful!

If you begin doing these 3 things immediately – I guarantee that you will be ready to start taking real action in less than a month and be well on your way to owning your own powerful personal brand!