This is a guest blog by Nader Mowlaee
Like all other career professionals, engineers should constantly be evolving in order to move forward in their careers and reach the ultimate goals they are pursuing. There are however some aspects of career advancement that typically happen outside of normal working hours, and the standard education and training path, such as personal development efforts focused on personal brands. This might include picking up a new book to read, taking an online 3D design course, or starting a coding Bootcamp.
Personal brands related actions are different because they enable you to communicate and promote who you are and what you’re destined to do. Such actions allow you to build an online presence, showcase your engineering design portfolio, or even influence other professionals in your field to follow your lead.
Most engineers feel uncomfortable when attempting to build their personal brands. So in this article, I’ll share three simple but important personal branding actions that you can take to enhance your short-term job search results and long-term career aspirations. These three steps will help you in both finding engineering jobs and ultimately finding yourself in a career that matches both your unique skill set and your personality.
Here are three actions related to personal brands that may be helpful in your engineering job search or career journey overall.
1. Find out What People Perceive You As
The first step in identifying your personal interests and strong points, while avoiding a career path that might not work for you, is to assess exactly what kind of a person you are. This requires you to master your own personality. It requires you to identify your primary advantages or strengths, as well as your weaknesses.
Your first step, in my opinion, should be to identify your weaknesses and eliminate them. Then identify your strengths and amplify them. By taking this approach, you will transform your skills and become the stronger version of yourself. Which is why becoming self-aware is a great strategy, if you want to take the most fulfilling career path.
If you find out exactly what part of your personality differentiates you from others, then you can begin to brand yourself in an accurate way. There are many tools you can use to help you with this step. I recommend you start by taking this free personality test. I’ve been following Sally’s work for more than 5 years. And highly recommend reading her book: “How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination.” I also encourage you to purchase the complete personality assessment package, which will give you a detailed report with an in-depth look into how the world and the people in it see you.
This is the only personality assessment that shows you how to grow your confidence, increase your value and live more authentically. After taking the full assessment, you’ll know exactly what your primary and secondary advantages. And how you can use them to improve your personal relationships and develop your professional identity.
2. Start Using LinkedIn like a Pro
LinkedIn is now the most important resource on the web for business to business communications, sales, marketing, and of course networking, job search, career development, recruiting and hiring. Those who do not have a LinkedIn profile set up properly are losing opportunities to advance their careers. And in highly competitive tech hubs of the world, such as the San Francisco Bay area, if your profile isn’t completed with accurate information and an over the top presentation, there are many recruiters who would pass on your profile in pursuit of a better fit.
Most of your current and prior colleagues from previous positions and schools are probably on this network already, and your future co-workers and collaborators will also likely have a presence on this site. It is imperative to become active on LinkedIn and start posting your thoughts, ideas, and insights, sharing them with your network, which might include current, past, and future co-workers. Especially if you have recently graduated from an engineering program, university or college, then publishing articles and other pieces of your work on LinkedIn is a necessary step in personal branding and building your expertise. Identify the specific kind of engineering work you would like to do and begin to build a portfolio around it. Then regularly share samples or pictures of the results you have created on LinkedIn. Let people see who you are and what you’re destined for. That’s how you build an authentic personal brand.
3. Develop Your Public Speaking Skills
In order to truly become an authority and influence to others who work in your profession, you will need to find ways to book presentations and other speaking events. You can look for events through local engineering associations, alumni gatherings, or networking and career fairs. I highly recommend you consider speaking first internally at your current company, in front of your eco-workers. If you find or create that chance for yourself, you are on the right path to developing your personal brands.
Speaking internally first gives you time to improve your skills and find events that are not already full of other speakers and activities. Consider industry events where you’ll be positioned as an expert rather than events where you aren’t coming in with in-depth knowledge. You can also team up with one other person and go at it together. I used to have a networking buddy and we went to many events together. This allowed us to be each other’s wingman, helping each other with preparation, introductions, gathering the crowd, greeting the guests. You can take a similar approach to presentations with a co-presenter. Want to take baby steps? Appear on a podcast as a guest.
It is important to start your personal branding journey with full clarity and understanding of your personality, especially as it is perceived by others. This allows you to amplify your strengths and eliminate or work on your weaknesses, which will improve your overall career success. The next step is to choose a platform, such as LinkedIn, to showcase your deeds and accomplishments. Then take your game to the next level by giving talks, trainings or presentations at any opportunity you get. This will help you hone your soft skills while giving others an opportunity to get to know you, like you, and trust you. That’s how you can build a strong personal brand. Good luck!
About Nader Mowlaee
Nader is a career coach who believes you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. His mission is to enable engineers to break away from their fears and create the ideal lives and careers they desire. You can learn more about Nader through his LinkedIn account.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about personal brands.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success