Building Your Brand & Network as a Young Professional

Read about CCD Student Associate Charlee Rae Bender ’21, and how she has built her brand and network as a young professional.

The competition for internships these days can be tough in any field or area of interest, yet there are ways in which to ensure the integrity and appeal of your personal brand while also expanding your network in such a way so as to leave a strong and lasting impression on potential employers.

It can be overwhelming to think about your public brand, but it is important to remember that whatever you put out on the internet is something your employer can and will most likely see. Our social profiles on any platform whether it be Instagram or LinkedIn are under scrutiny and the more professional we can make them the more potential we will have as professionals.

1. Start Small: Your E-mail

Sometimes it is the smallest details that get you the job. If you are insecure about your experience and nervous when it comes to talking with employers, everything helps. The best place to begin is with your e-mail signature. According to Meredith Dean CEO and Founder of The Dean’s List, an email signature can make a big difference for securing an internship, potential jobs, and building your network. You can start by including your name, current title (Student, Intern, etc.), phone number, e-mail (other than .edu e-mail) and any links to your social media or websites. Not only does it convey confidence, but it also let’s an employer know you take pride in how you have curated your social platforms and the message you put out for others to see.

2. Websites & Profiles

Be mindful of what you put out on the internet. Whether it is a new Instagram post or a LinkedIn article you are sharing, be thoughtful and intentional with your words. Besides monitoring your content and whether it’s appropriate, also make sure your words have meaning and a purpose. If you love making people laugh, be funny. If you love helping people, give them tips for improving their life in any capacity. It all comes down to picking a message you want other people to hear and what you believe will do good. If you have the time, build a website or online portfolio to store your work- whether articles, graphic designs or photos! Make sure you have a consistent message on all platforms and share something positive.

3. LinkedIn and DCAN

After you have a solid brand and are confident in your professional image, take the next step and start growing the number of connections you have at your disposal. Remember every time you meet someone at a career fair or event or are introduced to an alum, professor, etc., it is an opportunity to build a professional relationship that may help in the future. You may be able to help them in their career and they may know the right people with whom you can get in contact for future jobs too. When looking at Davidson specifically, make sure to utilize Davidson Career Advisor Network Profile (DCAN). There are plenty of alumni in your area of interest or who know people who work in the same field you hope to one day as well. They are always willing and enthusiastic about cover letter & resume chats, career talks or even mock interviews. Make sure you’re making a new connection every day and sharing things like job updates, interesting articles and endorsing skills for your peers and connections!

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