Personal Branding for Young Professionals

Aileen Gallagher, General Engineer, Reliability Reporting & Data Analytics, PECO, a member of our Advisory Board

How would you like others to think of you? Thinking about my personal brand has somehow never quite made it to the top of my to-do list, but through some recent conversations, I’ve realized it’s something I might need to consider if I don’t want to be considered a one-hit wonder, become pigeon-holed, or just be misrepresented.

So where to begin? Steve Rosen, Managing Director at marketing & ad agency Aloysius Butler & Clark (you may have seen AB&C at work behind the recent #MaskUPHL campaign) recently spoke to YPC on Personal Branding for Young Professionals. From encouraging attendees to consider an image aside from a standard headshot to represent themselves, to advice on how to virtually network less awkwardly, Steve provided a number of clear steps to help young professionals better solidify and communicate their brands.

Your personal brand is the general perception others have of you based on your experience, actions, network, reputation, and more (i.e. why someone should want to work with you specifically). For the data-minded folks like myself, this can feel a little… squishy. Squishy or not, though, it’s happening; those around each of us are continually making judgments based on what they think our interests and skills are. Taking a little time to think about what skills we’d like to leverage and/or develop, or the value we’d like to be known for bringing to a team, can better ensure we’re considered for the opportunities that best match.

Steve provided an exercise to help with this:

  • What three words do you want to be known for?
  • What do each of the words mean to you?
  • What are some daily actions you can take to reinforce them as part of your brand?

The traditional formula for then conveying one’s brand, as Steve presented, involves networking + social media + traditional PR. In these somewhat non-traditional times, however, he suggested a new formula: (1) platform presence + (2) social media (more than before) + (3) virtual networking.

(1) Platform presence means being mindful of how you’re perceived on screen. This might involve tweaking the lighting by your screen to make sure you can be seen clearly, dressing for the occasion, customizing your background, and sitting up straight, as well as minimizing distractions, like picking a quieter space (if at all feasible) or closing down email before presenting.

For (2) social media, the biggest step Steve suggested was to keep your LinkedIn updated (including finally updating your ‘About’ section if you haven’t yet). Consider asking for and giving recommendations, joining LinkedIn groups, and posting during peak times (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) to get the most attention. For other outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others), Steve suggested using them thoughtfully based on your interests/expected audience, acknowledging that the work/personal line has blurred for many in these spaces, and focusing on the outlets in which you’ll truly engage.

(3) Virtual networking doesn’t need to be uncomfortable, per Steve, as long as you’re prepared. Have a plan, keep it brief, have next steps, and then follow through on them. Virtual networking, with all of the quirks of working from home, can be an opportunity to get to know folks in a slightly different way; consider prepping a few questions in advance just in case, though.

Lastly, Steve provided a book (and general?) recommendation for attendees: Never Eat Alone.


Coming Up

[Virtual] YPC Connect for Community Impact
Thursday, October 22, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. | Held via Zoom

Join us at this virtual volunteer fair to hear from organizations that focus on Youth & Education, Mentorship, Arts & Culture, or Vulnerable Populations to learn how you can get involved.