By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman
If you think branding is only for movie stars, professional athletes or consumer-driven companies like Coke or Proctor & Gamble, think again. Whether you’ve been an engineer for nine months or nine years, you’ve earned a reputation. And since recruiters and engineering managers are influenced by what they hear and read about you, it’s incumbent upon every professional to manage their image and their brand.
If you need more reasons to develop a personal brand consider these.
Reason No. 1: To keep others from defining your brand
As this guide from Stanford Electrical Engineering points out: Your personal brand is built throughout your career by you, your customers and your peers. You don’t want one bad encounter with a cranky customer or missed deadline to become your modus operandi. If 99 percent of the customers you’ve worked with are happy with your timeliness, problem-solving skills and designs, get the word out.
Reason No. 2: To set yourself apart
Don’t assume that an engineering manager will grasp or appreciate your value. Use your brand to illustrate your benefits and why you’re the best contractor to tackle a particular problem or project. Plus, your branding statement is a great way to introduce yourself to an engineering manager at a networking event or conference. One professional refers to himself as “the likable engineer” but here are more examples of powerful branding statements.
- I have a knack for designing cutting-edge products that delight customers, optimize manufacturing processes and resources, reduce waste and have increased margins by an average of 30 percent.
- My colleagues call me the great diplomat because I know how to use my vast engineering experience and consensus-building skills to end stalemates and unite diverse stakeholders.
Reason No.3: To improve your communication and interviewing skills
Having a distinct, personal brand helps you answer ice-breaker questions like “Tell me about yourself,” or “What are your strengths?” Plus, it helps you hone your message and create a series of talking points and examples to win over skeptical recruiters and managers.
Reason No. 4: To gain confidence
The brand creation process boosts your self-esteem and your confidence. Reviewing your work history will help you recognize your talents, accomplishments and value as an engineering professional. As an added bonus, having a strong personal brand minimizes your weaknesses. It’s the perfect exercise for the modest contractor who has a hard time engaging in the important art of self-marketing and self-promotion.
Reason No. 5: To build your network
It’s much easier to create an online profile, portfolio, blog or even a resume once you have a theme. As Ruth Stevens points out: Begin with the tactic that feels most comfortable to you, and add more over time. “Having a strong, positive personal brand can help you get the work you want, the salary you deserve, and the opportunities for training, growth and development that you dream of.