Recently, our Chief Growth Officer, Caitlyn Scaggs, attended a Virginia Tech Career Services panel that focused on personal and professional branding. The purpose of the event was to host business and academia professionals who are experts at branding and to showcase their advice on the topic.
There were numerous takeaways from the discussion; but a few points really resonated with the young professionals in attendance of the panel. With Caitlyn as our representative, we wanted to emphasize the importance of branding, regardless of the field you’re in. So here is why branding is important; and how as scientists, we achieve it.
What are qualities you should develop as you look for a job?
There are certain attributes every employer looks for, that they don’t put in the job description. The reasoning for this is because they aren’t desirable qualities that can be taught. They are qualities transparently true to yourself and your personality. For example, an employer can’t teach a love for problem solving or enthusiasm for the work you’re doing. We’re interested in identifying candidates with a personal brand that revolves around their curiosity. We love identifying people with a drive to fulfill an inherent need to learn more and discover solutions.
How do you describe a personal quality for the sake of your brand?
One of the panelists, Adam Soccolich with Modea, said he excels at “connecting the dots.”
“If you can get enough of the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources, you can make big things happen,” Adam said.
Describing a quality about yourself that can transcend into a personal and professional brand comes from your work ethic and work style. Adam’s personal brand speaks to his love for connecting people with great solutions and the right resources. Like Adam, it’s important to recognize your style, strengths, and values. Popular strengths for scientists are an intuition for data sets, a curious mindset, an ability to solve problems through experimentation, and lateral thinking.
Guess what is so exciting about those strengths?
They are applicable to any project and relate to several fields. Our scientists and technicians possess these strengths and utilize them through the work they do for each client’s unique project. They are also skills that transcend past the sciences. Many, if not most, disciplines value creative thinking, the ability to process information, and problem solving skills.
How does all of this strength mumbo jumbo fit into creating a professional brand?
Proving your strengths is validating your brand to other people. The good news is you have lot of options for how to do that. Caitlyn and the other panelists suggested; LinkedIn, a personal website, personalized messaging when submitting your resume for consideration, and general common sense for professionalism.
Does everyone need a LinkedIn account?
We encourage all our employees, from the scientists to the managers to the sales team, to have an online presence. Our brand is our connectivity to our clients; by letting them know we want to communicate lucratively. Often, we find employees across fields engaging over social. By branding online, we have the advantage of connecting with our global client base, which would otherwise not be possible to reach as efficiently. A LinkedIn profile provides a deeper look at who you are and what differentiates you for other professionals. We view LinkedIn as a digital networking event or tradeshow.
One of the panelists mentioned the age old quote, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This is a common saying for a reason…because it is true. More than likely, there is opportunity you will find on this highly interactive site, which you may not have found otherwise.
What would I even include in an online profile?
LinkedIn makes it very easy to fill in the blanks. It prompts you to explain your experiences, certifications, achievements, and so on. The even cooler part about being in a technical/science field is you will probably have more to talk about in your profile. Our scientists have solved some very unique problems and are certified in using high-tech equipment to perform various procedures. Those are absolutely things to boast about! The other benefit to literally writing out your skills is you are inherently teaching yourself how to effectively talk about your work…or cough cough…effectively brand yourself professionally and personally.
What if I don’t have those technical skills yet?
If you have ever interacted with another person, held any type of job, been in school, or been in any kind of organization, then you have skills. Everyone has to start somewhere! This is why there is value in recognizing your strengths. For example, you may assert you’re an “excellent team member” and then qualify it with your experience working in a group project. One trick a panelist suggested was using written copy from your original job description when determining the best information to include on a resume. In most cases, this job description will be professional and will explain specific skills you have acquired within your role.
We are just as passionate for our collective professional growth as a company as we are for individual growth. Our Chief Growth Officer has done an exceptional job at breaking ground for networking and building a powerful company presence within our industry. Opportunities like this panel are perfect for us to reach out to the upcoming generation of talent, learn from one another, and satisfy our curiosity for how to consistently serve our clients better.
This post was written by Olivia Brescia, our Marketing & Customer Care Intern. Olivia has been with our company since the Fall of 2015. She did such an excellent job we asked her to stick around for another semester with increased responsibilities. She is an exceptional team member and will undoubtedly do great things in the future–especially since she is already doing great things now!