Our 50th article part 2: Build your professional brand

Emilio Lorenzo is the assistant director of career advisement in NSU’s Office of Career Development. He understands the importance of helping students reach their career goals and works with all students, including undergraduate, graduate and professional level students, to achieve their professional goals.

Emily Tasca is a member of the career advisement team in NSU’s Office of Career Development. She works with current students and alumni at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.

To celebrate our 50th article, we have developed a three-part series that highlights quotes from the best Career Corner articles so far. Part two of this series will provide insights on how to build your professional brand.

Being aware of your professional brand

“Your brand can be defined as the ‘essence of who you are and how other professionals perceive you.’ Your brand can be affected by the manner in which you market yourself to the outside world whether through your professional documents, social media presence or in formal/non-formal networking settings.”

“A good rule of thumb for social media is to take a moment to look over what you post and ask yourself if this is something you want your name tied to over the internet.”

“Another great way to build your brand is to evaluate your current professional documents. Your resume and cover letter should be using terminology common in the industry and your experiences should highlight transferable skills you can bring into the field.”

Social media and the American business culture

“The growth of social media has led to the emergence of websites like LinkedIn, which offer students an avenue to connect with professionals, engage in meaningful discussions and market experiences strategically to the outside world.”

“I always suggest that students include their LinkedIn address in resumes and emails as part of their contact information, as it may peak the curiosity of the employer to visit that student’s profile.”

“Your LinkedIn account should be focused toward desired careers and must avoid the use of jargon from your past jobs.”

The importance of being a well-rounded professional

“How does watching CNN or following current events help me in my career? It’s true that if you watch the news and CNN all day you will not just be offered a job, but being well-informed can help give off the message to potential employers that you take your career seriously and that you are a well-informed professional.”

“Engaging in meaningful conversations early on in college will help you grow intellectually and professionally, as it will challenge you to think in new ways and step outside your comfort zone.”

Networking: Where to get started

“Networking can be defined as ‘socializing with a purpose.’ About 80 percent of the jobs found today come from networking.”

“One great way for you to start networking with potential employers is by creating a list of potential companies you wish to work or shadow at.”

“Practice your 30-second commercial as you get ahold of a hiring manager or the doctor for the practice within the targeted organization.”

The secret weapon: Informational interviews

“An informational interview is a strategic way of gaining valuable information about a certain profession, while networking with employers.”

“Before you arrive for the informational interview, fully research the company and its mission statement. Ask questions to give you a better idea of a typical workday in that field, as well as to gain valuable job search advice. This process will provide you an avenue to have a conversation with someone who can relate to your career journey and possibly lead to a potential internship or job. Your 30-second commercial should include your name, educational background and reason for wishing to conduct an interview.”

Career guide to dressing right: Business casual versus business professional

“Knowing your environment and audience is crucial to professionalism, specifically when deciding what to wear to follow proper dress protocol for a business event, interview or potential networking setting.”

“Business professional is a term used in American business culture that indicates that the dress attire requires a higher level of professionalism in the form of a suit.”

“For men, business professional entails classically tailored dark suits with a tie, paired with a solid-colored dress shirt as well as your suit jacket matching the pants.”

“For women, classically tailored, coordinated pantsuits or skirt suits with knee or calf-length skirts, ironed blouses with conservative necklines and classic closed-toe and low-heeled leather dress shoes. You want to ensure that your hair is neatly styled and that you are wearing a minimum amount of jewelry.”

Big fish in a small pond

“When going through the decision-making process for a job or internship, it is important to keep all of your options open and avoid the ‘job snob’ mindset, as not every opportunity you accept has to be in a large well-known employer setting.”

“Being a big fish in a small pond can have its benefits because if you accept a position in a smaller company, you may also be taking on larger responsibilities that someone with the same position in a larger organization may not have to manage. When you are the big fish in a small pond, you tend to wear many different hats as you may need to stretch out of the typical duties associated with a position of that type.”

Strategic planning for professional conferences

“Start by creating a short hit list of potential companies, employers and professionals that you wish to interact with during the event. This approach will help you stay organized and focused, while giving you a networking goal.”

“First impressions can play a crucial role in networking. Giving a bad handshake or wearing unprofessional clothing can make employers skeptical about hiring you, no matter how well you answer their questions later on.”

“A conference or career fair is a great way to interact and network with professionals, share experiences and put you in the position for potential opportunities — as long as you’re prepared, confident and know how to best tackle the experience.”

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