If you are a scientist, you must find it very challenging to talk about yourself. Scientists discover and create things, but most of them find it easier to solve an unsolvable puzzle than to create a personal brand. Branding requires credibility and understanding of who you are. Basically, you need to find your personal brand and use it to tackle the challenges of your career.
Good branding is essential for your career. It does not really matter how hard you studied or how good you are, if you do not know how to demonstrate this to an employer. NC State's John Hutchings says: 'A good brand makes you likeable. It makes you true and authentic, and people will trust you'.
This is not as complex as it sounds. If you know some tricks for branding yourself as a scientist, you can be a credible and marketable job seeker in the world of science. Here are some ideas that will help you become worthy of the interview you wanted to get for so long.
1. Understand your values
In order to get the job you want, you need to be a valuable asset to the company. This is the first step. The next step is to understand those values and find the best way to articulate them to the recruiter.
Whether you are already called for an interview and need to work on the preparations, or you are still scouring for opportunities, you must first target the values to use in the job. These values will help you perfect the personal branding and focus on the qualities relevant to the job in question.
2. Learn how others interpret your characteristics
'Personal branding is all about what people say about us when we leave the room' – said Dawn Bentley, a career expert who specialises in personal branding. While you are dedicating your time and effort on actually becoming a successful scientist, you cannot do proper branding if you fail to recognise the importance of others in this task.
Learning what others say and think about you is equally important as understanding your strengths and limitations. This is a two-way street, since such information will actually help you in determining the strengths and limitations you did not know you possess.
For a brand to be effective, it should connect your view of yourself to that of others. By investigating what others think about you, you can eliminate the gaps in between, and make sure the view is mutual.
Start with your friends and trustworthy colleagues, or even the family. Discovering what these people think of you and your behavior should be much easier than learning it by talking to people you are not close to. And most importantly, pay attention to what they are saying. All the negative adjectives they use should tell you what you are doing wrong, while the positive characteristics will keep you on the right track.
Eventually, everyone finds a flaw in their branding during this step. Some people may perceive your actions and attempts different from what you were trying to achieve, or your initiatives as negative instead of positive. Therefore, it is time to stop seeing this as bad news, and use it to evolve your existing personal brand.
3. Do not change
Aristotle himself once said: 'Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom'. The previous tips are often misunderstood and followed by a change on behalf of the scientist. Instead, you should aim to evolve, and not change.
You already have a personal brand, but it is not doing wonders for your career. Rather than using your values and others' opinions to change yourself, work on your branding instead. Learn how to play the strengths you already possess and use them where they fit.
4. Be ambitious
G.H. Hardy, an English mathematician said the following: ''A man’s first duty, a young man’s at any rate, is to be ambitious … the noblest ambition is that of leaving behind one something of permanent value."
Being ambitious is key to being a good scientist, so make sure to express your ambitions when working on your career. If you help others see your ideas and goals and perceive you as the ambitious person you are, they are more likely to let you in their team and allow you to do your magic.
5. Do your research
You now know your strengths, so you can identify the goals you should strive to meet. This will help you detect the next career move, and learn what to do to match the branding with that career goal.
Make sure you know why branding is important. When you understand the importance of something, you are more motivated to achieve the goals. After all, you are a scientist, and who is more persistent and motivated than scientists?
First of all, find who the audience is. Who will you be speaking to? What do they expect from their next hire? In order to prepare for the interviews that follow and do it well, you need to learn who this audience is and tailor the interview in that direction.
And finally, focus your branding on the things you learned so far. What are your main qualities and are they the same as those others know about you? If not, how can you demonstrate your abilities, values, and the fact that you are ambitious to the recruiters?
Put all this together and you get the perfect brand statement for your science career. Then, the easier step comes. When you have all the information about proper branding, put all this to use. Take use of the technology and social media, and create a personal website, social media platforms, LinkedIn profile, a perfect cover letter and resume, and whatnot. Nowadays, your possibilities are endless.
Are you ready to create the perfect personal brand for your future science career? Use these tips to brand yourself and show the world how great you actually are!