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Has anyone ever told you to build your professional brand and you had no idea what that meant or how to do it? Your professional brand is who you are in the professional world – both online and in person.
The online version of you is extremely important. Have you Googled yourself lately? What are the first search and image results? Are these things that you want potential employers or clients to see?
Here are some key points for building your online professional brand:
- Keep your personal social media profiles private. Lock down your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles so that only the people that you want to see your profiles can. This also applies after you’ve gotten a new job. It may be tempting to add your new coworkers on social media, so keep in mind that they can see everything your other friends/followers can see.
- Build up your LinkedIn profile. Get a professional photo and keep your job experience updated with descriptions for each position. Humble-brag on your work by posting photos and links to completed projects on your LinkedIn page. Everything you do on LinkedIn lends to the version of you that others see.
Before COVID-19, your real-life brand was just as important as your online image, so here are some key points for your in-person brand, assuming life will get back to normal eventually.
- Be confident and courageous and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know – I cannot stress this enough. Go to meetings and events. Ask questions. Volunteer for leadership positions in your local ASCE Section or Branch. Volunteer for projects that will provide you with new experience or introduce you to a new client.
- Always dress and act professionally in meetings, at events and especially during interviews. This applies to the virtual meetings too. It may seem weird to put on a button-up and blazer while sitting on your couch, but going to a virtual interview in your pajamas is a quick way not to get a new position at your dream company. Besides, getting up and getting dressed has been proven to increase productivity while working at home.
- Develop a diverse professional network. This includes people outside your immediate team at your office, people from other companies, clients and peers of various experience levels.
Most importantly, your professional brand is about you.
Who do you want to be in your career?
Maegan Nunley is the founder, president and chief engineer of Luna Engineering, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in hydrology and hydraulics. She also serves as second vice-president for ASCE’s Central Ohio Section and previously served as a committee chair for the ASCE Houston Branch Younger Member Forum.