Use Online Tools
Laws of Personal Branding
Admit you have one.
“But if I do not join any social networks, then I don’t have a personal brand online, right?”
Not exactly. Having no presence means having no voice when recruiters and potential employers are evaluating you and other candidates online.
SUGGESTION: Find a balance between transparency and privacy to establish an authentic representation of your personal brand online. At minimum, create a LinkedIn account.
Recognize you cannot control every aspect of your personal brand.
“Can’t I just block people from tagging me or mentioning me online?”
Consider this. Often, the most powerful component of your brand is controlled by what others say. This applies to both positive and negative messages.
SUGGESTION: Consider the connotation of each social network. Look at your newsfeeds. What kinds of posts are your friends mentioned in? Are those the kind of posts you want employers to see? Customize your privacy settings accordingly for each social network. If you are a student athlete or involved in extracurricular activities who might be covered by news organizations and bloggers, look into setting up Google Alerts. For publicity outside of your control, Google Alerts updates you when your name is published online.
“You mean know my hobbies and major?”
Yes, but dive deeper. Know your strengths and weaknesses. How do your strengths differentiate you from other candidates? Avoid the use of templates. A template communicates a generic personal brand. You want your profile to express your essence.
SUGGESTION: When you fill out “about me” sections on profiles, write your strengths in the context of your life. If you find it difficult to talk about yourself, then interview people who know you well. Use their insight to write compelling content.
Set a goal.
“Isn’t my goal to get a job?”
Nope, that is your purpose. Your goal might be, “to establish your personal brand as an obvious candidate for the position you want.” Even if you are still discovering your career interests, there are likely places where you do not want to work. There are industries that are not of interest to you. Honing a goal could make a world of difference in your future job satisfaction, as well as help you make the most of your college degree.
SUGGESTION: Be increasingly more specific in your career goals. Think about location, industries, culture, values and ethics. Read reviews on Glassdoor and join groups on LinkedIn. Set up Google Alerts for the companies that interest you. Be patient. Do not try to force a decision on yourself. If you take the steps to explore, then your goal will become clearer as time passes. As the goal becomes clearer, be mindful of ways to make your personal brand online a reflection of your goal.
Cultivate professional relationships.
“I’m a student. Am I really expected to know professionals?”
Maybe you have heard this: “It’s all about who you know.” Indeed, your social and professional network is important. But networking is not the same as nepotism. Networking is, according to Webster, “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”
SUGGESTION: Use the Engineering Career Center. Use KU Career Connections. Check the bulletin boards around the School of Engineering for on-campus recruiting events. Attend the event. Hangout after to introduce yourself. Do not let a little case of the nerves stop you from making a meaningful connection. Keep in mind that they are here to visit with you. They are at your house. Take a few notes about the company and who you meet. Little details to help you differentiate between the recruiters such as (“the boss” or “KU grad” or “NY Jets fan”). Remember to connect with these people on LinkedIn after the event.
PRO TIP: When you write your connection request on LinkedIn, delete the automatically populated text and write your own. Remind the professional exactly where you met or how you came to know his or her name. Mention a detail about the presentation or event to express your genuine interest. (The whole message should be no more than three sentences.)
Say what you mean.
“Like don’t exaggerate?”
That’s a start. But this is more about your words. Did you write “you” when you meant “I?” “I” demonstrates ownership of thoughts or opinions. Usage of “you” can have a distancing effect when used to address the public. It is also grammatically incorrect if used to address more than one person. In short, own your thoughts or attribute them to their owner to be most effective.
SUGGESTIONS: Check grammar, punctuation and word usage:
– “A shoe” means something different than “the shoe.” Which do you mean?
– Check for adverbs. The following adverbs weaken your writing: definitely, totally, probably, mostly, really, very, etc.
– Spell check first, then check commonly misused words like “their, there and they’re” or “your and you’re.”
– Did you use jargon or acronyms that would not be understood across all your industries of interest? Spell out acronyms just to be safe.
Learn specifics about LinkedIn such as what makes a professional photo and basic etiquette
Expand to view examples of professional profile pictures
Expand to get to know your options for protecting your image on Facebook
Having a professional image online does not mean you cannot participate in social media. Start by looking at your news feed as if you were a future employers looking for individuals to interview. It is unlikely an employer would do this, but it is a good exercise to learn what not to do. Then learn your options in the privacy settings and tools on Facebook.
Expand to learn how to use Twitter for professional engagement.
astroparticle | @astroparticle
WIRED Science | @wiredscience
Engineering GoForIt! | @egfi
Engineeringcom | @ENGINEERINGcom
ENR | @ENRnewsFor news and opinion about design and construction
IEEE Standards Assoc | @IEEESA For posts about changes and news regarding engineering standards
MAKE | @make For posts from the editors of MAKE magazine
NASA Tech Briefs | @NASATechBriefs For posts about design and manufacturing solutions
Society of Women Engineers | @SWEtalk For updates from the Society of Women Engineers
National Society of Black Engineers | @nsbe For posts from the official National Society of Black Engineers
National Action Council of Minorities in Engineering | @NACME For posts from NACME.ORG about research, scholarships and public policy in engineering
IEEE Spectrum | @IEEESpectrum For technology news and analysis
IEEE Xplore | @IEEEXplore For technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science and electronics
Richard Wilson | @EWcom For posts from the editor of Electronics Weekly
KU Career ConnectionsAccess
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Post accurate information. This includes graduation date, GPA, work authorization, etc.
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