Toggle Your Professional Brand Menu

Your Professional Brand

by ​Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

Reputation, character, image or brand: whatever you call it, it matters in today’s job search market. Your brand defines who you are as a person, what you stand for and what you offer to an employer. If you are job searching, you should be able to define your brand, represent it online and explain it to a potential employer.

So what exactly is a brand? A brand is a mental image or impression in the minds of others. It is formed every time they see you, talk to you, see your work and hear you speak. It is the sum of all your skills, abilities, values and passion.

With some planning and creativity, you can establish your professional brand and represent it online. There are many professional networking sites and opportunities to share your brand. To see an example of an online brand, do a LinkedIn search with the name of someone you might like to work with. What does their online profile tell you about that person? How do they look in their picture? What people and organizations do they associate with? As you review their information, you are forming a mental image of them – their brand. Now ask yourself what impression you have of them. Do they seem ethical, innovative, respected, skilled and knowledgeable? These are the qualities a person’s brand might give you.

While you may not believe that you need to develop a professional brand if you are not pursuing a traditional “professional” position, having a brand is important for all job seekers. For example, if you are an unemployed welder with experience on some unique projects in the aerospace industry, those who worked with you may know about your work ethic, passion and attention to quality, but another employer will not. You need to represent your superior welding capabilities so that you stand out from the crowd.

To start creating your professional brand and online presence, gather evidence of your work such as your certificates, samples of your work, or pictures of your work or the end result of products you helped build. Consider what other workplace contributions or experiences make you feel really proud. Those certificates, images and experiences illustrate the passion that you have for your work and career. You should then represent these achievements and images on your professional networking site (such as LinkedIn). They are a great start for building your professional brand.

Building your brand is important. Your local Lutherwood Employment Services office can help you build your professional brand as well as offer other free job search assistance.