As I have worked with college students and young professionals I find myself increasingly talking with them about professional branding. There are plenty of article online regarding Millennials and their penchant to #overshare but, rather than focus on the negative, I try to focus on the positive aspects of professional branding.
- LinkedIn – I was one of the first 100,000 members to join LinkedIn (#87,019 to be exact) and was found by a recruiter at HCA through the service. Having a complete profile that is regularly updated is a must for all professionals.
- Twitter – I was fortunate to grab @ZachEvans long before I ever started to use the service and have developed some great professional relationships solely based on a re-tweet or a mention of another user. I do not have a separate account for my personal and professional lives so I carefully monitor what goes up on my feed.
- Facebook – I closely monitor what goes on my Facebook profile just like I do with Twitter. While not overly professionally-focused, users that think their employers (or potential employers) will not do basic online research on their profiles had better be ware.
- Personal Web Site – I did not grab the ZachEvans.com domain name as quickly as I would have liked to (hence my personal web site being www.ZachEvans.org) but my site has been a positive addition to my professional brand. Not only does it provide me with a creative outlet for my writing, but also serves as an online portfolio of the work that I have done in my career.
- Awards – I always recommend that, if someone is kind enough to nominate you for an award, you had better give your best to try to win it. Being named one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2014 raised my professional profile and has provided me with a platform to rapidly to grow my professional network.
- Conferences – I certainly recommend that all professional attend appropriate conferences–they are a great place to network–but I also recommend that, as you grow in your career, you make yourself available as a speaker or panel member at conferences. Not only will this provide great professional exposure, but it will also allow you to polish your presentation and public speaking skills.
- Professional Organizations – Membership in a professional organizations should be more than just a line on your resume. Involvement, volunteering for committee assignments, and generally giving back to the organization will raise your profile in your industry and provide you new connections.
I always end my conversations with the thought that it is never too early to start building your professional brand and you must guard it jealously throughout your career.