Everyone always says, “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” That same principle applies to how you present yourself not only online, but also through your work.

In this blog, I’ll provide you with some reasons why building your professional brand is important, as well as a few tips to help you get started on making yours.

What is a professional brand? Why do I need one?

Impact Group defines a professional brand as “a brief statement that summarizes your unique strengths and how you differ from your competition. It assists in defining who you are, what makes you great, and why you should be hired. Your brand communicates your reputation and value to an employer.”  

Think of it like your resume, where you list your strengths and interests as a professional in your field. For example, as a scientific researcher, you could have something along the lines of this: I am a biochemist who researches genetic engineering and has pioneered drastic developments in the field of gene cloning. My 9-years of experience in the lab has helped me find my passion for leading a team of eager learners and researchers to be the first to research and understand breakthroughs in the field of biochemistry and genetic engineering.

It doesn’t even have to be as complicated as that. A recent graphic design graduate can define their brand through a brief description similar to the one used above, as well as through their portfolio. All jobs in the art and design field need a portfolio, and if you have a specific aesthetic you like to follow, a specific style of painting you like, or even a combination of mediums, employers will see where your strengths and interests lie and can determine if that will align with the company’s needs.

How can I build my professional brand?

Although it may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually not as hard as you think. Here are some tips provided by Northeastern University on how to build your professional brand.

  1. Figure out who you are: What do you want to do in your professional life? What are your interests? What do you want to be known for? Defining this is the biggest challenge, and undoubtedly the most important step as well. Once you figure this out, building your brand gets easier and easier.
  2. Embrace networking: Networking is a key component of any person’s life, not just their professional life. You never know who you can meet and what opportunities they can offer you! 
  3. Ask for informational interviews: Informational interviews can not only help you gain knowledge about the field you are interested in, they can also give you new connections and opportunities. By meeting with someone in the field, you are learning about how to get into what you want to do, and also building your brand by talking about your goals with the person you are interviewing.
  4. Grow your online presence: Having an online presence is a great way to build your brand. It allows you to reach out to more people than you could ever reach out to in person, and can even help you generate business by how easy it is to share your profile. Places you can do this are Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and even your own website if you have one.
  5. Remember that your brand isn’t just online: While your online presence is very important, you have to remember that you are representative of the brand and its reputation. If you have a great online profile and personality, but are rude and inconsiderate in person, all of that credibility you built up online is rendered useless because nobody will want to work with you. Always carry yourself in a professional way and treat others how you want to be treated. 

Hopefully these tips were helpful for you. Good luck, Retrievers!

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