Graduating students advised to build their own brand

graduatingstudents_brand_nc (NC)—Today’s seasoned professionals recognize the challenges you face trying to stand out in a crowd of new grads.

There are ways to market yourself in a professional and effective manner. While there is no fool-proof algorithm to produce the perfect professional brand, being knowledgeable, credible, authentic and trust worthy puts you on the right track as these are all qualities of a solid, hire-able, professional.

Marc Quesnel, CGA, is the president of QMR Consulting and Professional Staffing, a firm in the financial and corporate management industry, operating in Ottawa. With years of experience navigating the careers of financial and business professionals, Marc offers young professionals advice on how to create and maintain a strong professional brand that will ensure their future successes.

Here are five key elements to consider:

Be a lifelong learner – An undergraduate degree isn’t necessarily the end of formal learning. For many, the next step is a professional designation. Marc attributes much of his success to his pursuit of a professional designation within his industry.

Learning should be a lifelong pursuit throughout your career – so start your lifelong learning plan now. What skill do you want to learn; what personality trait do you want to develop? Being conscious of opportunities for growth and development will help to keep you and your skills current. Those who subscribe to a life full of learning end up as successful CEOs, CFOs, COOs and entrepreneurs.

Start networking – Peer-to-peer networking can open up many opportunities. A professional association is a great resource for making connections, as are industry associations and service clubs. Join organizations that reflect your goals and values.

Make sure your online presence reflects your brand – Don’t cripple your professional brand with an unprofessional on-line presence. Employers use LinkedIn, Facebook and Google search, too. Post accomplishments that enhance the impression you want to leave and delete information that presents a brand that you have outgrown.

Volunteer for charitable causes – Develop your skills, broaden your perspective, and advance your career while doing good.

Be consistent and trustworthy – Consistently reinforce your brand. No one will believe, trust or hire someone who is inconsistent or seemingly untrustworthy.

Be authentic. Be yourself – Don’t try to create a brand that doesn’t reflect the real you. In moments of stress or important decision making, remember the principles you created your brand upon, and it will take care of itself.

“Your brand is ultimately your reputation,” Marc advises. “It’s not just the image you present to the world; it’s also how the world perceives you. Good or bad, your reputation will follow you throughout your career and be a key factor in determining your success.”

Every academic and accredited professional has worked hard for their degree and/or designation. Learn how you can do more with your career and the diverse opportunities that are available to you.

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