How to Create Your Brand: Part Two

by Kristy Amburgey

personal brandingSome people consider branding as a marketing method of large corporations with iconic images, like the Coca-Cola can or the perfectly simple Nike logo.  Branding, though, is a technique that can be implemented by any job seeker or professional.  After understanding why you should have a brand and what steps you should take before branding, you can now work on your brand.

Branding is marketing yourself to potential employers using technological and creative resources, allowing you to stand out from others.  Some of you already have a brand but just don’t know how to further it. Branding can involve Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, blogging, personal website, user generated media like Squidoo, podcasts, speaking engagements/webinars and more.

One of the easiest ways to create a brand is via LinkedIn, and many of you may already have an account.  But you need to ensure your LinkedIn profile is approachable, meaning that it entices people to want to read it and then makes it easy for the readers to find useful information about you.  A professional picture, a clearly worded headline with a value statement and accurate job and education information are all valuable ways in which your profile can be quickly scanned for information that helps a potential employer (or even a client).  Ensure that your Skills & Expertise area is complete and that your contact preferences allow people to communicate with you.  Just like with so many job search resources, LinkedIn is not a passive wait-and-see site.  You need to be active, and you need to be a good connection to others.  Join groups but also provide valuable comments and feedback.  Share resources or articles but share them with people who you feel would benefit the most from the information.  You can also use some of the “apps” that LinkedIn hosts to share presentations or portfolios.  Although you want your privacy settings on the appropriate level that makes you comfortable, you need to ensure you still come up in online searches.

Like LinkedIn, you can use Facebook, Google+ and Twitter as a way to build your brand.  It is imperative that you maintain a distinct separation from your personal habits and your professional presence.  One of the best ways to handle this distinction is to create professional accounts for each of the sources you use.  Via your professional Facebook account, you can like pages of companies you want to target for employment, you can share relevant content with your group and you can befriend people in your professional world. Build a following on Twitter by being an expert in your field.  Google+ allows your brand to be more visible in internet search results.  Just be aware that Facebook, specifically, and these types of resources can be favored for fun, personal interactions, and your friends may not welcome a more professional presence.

Using other technology to create your brand is just as beneficial but may need a bit more time to devote to maintain your web presence.  Consider starting and actively maintaining a blog relevant to your industry.  Create a website that serves almost like your resume.  Contribute to online publications so that your authorship is more easily found.

Even though technology is one of the best ways to extend your brand, you should definitely use good ole fashioned in-person networking.  During informal or formal networking sessions, offer your services as a way to establish your expertise.  Communicate your brand to your mentors and ask for honest feedback.  Write articles for publications in traditional print, where your biography can be included with information about your website or blog.  Even something simple like adding your online branding links to your business card is beneficial.  After meeting with people, follow-up with them via a thank you note or personal email about something that is helpful to them.

Creating your brand is not enough.  You need to maintain and promote your brand.  Ensure you consistently update your profiles, Twitter, blog, etc. so that you continue building your presence.  Ensure that you periodically revise information on websites or blogs to keep things fresh and current.  Promoting your brand can take a bit more time, but it can be worth the extra effort.   When you leave comments for someone, include relevant links back to your web presence.  Advocate for your brand by asking to be considered for inclusion in “top” lists and on websites that drive plenty of traffic.  Consider using Google Analytics to optimize your brand.

This list of ways in which you can build your brand is fairly short.  Keep in mind that for every popular branding platform, there are three to four other options that you can use.  You don’t have to stick to this list either.  Get creative and find ways to establish your brand that appeals to you and your abilities.  If you are struggling with the idea of using these resources, consider finding someone who is able to work with you until you feel more comfortable using the technology.  Creating your brand is important so implement some of these platforms to establish a meaningful presence in the industry.

On a side note, one of my favorite blogs is the Personal Branding Blog.  This site is a great resource for the topic of branding.

The last article in this series is about protecting your brand.  Look for it next week!

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

The U.S. Federal Government’s Pathways Programs Revealed

by Valerie Kielmovitch

logo_PathwaysHave you ever thought about a career with the Federal Government?  Some reading this might have thought, “Yes, I have always wanted to be a Special Agent!” while others may think, “There aren’t any opportunities for my degree with the government.”  Fortunately, there are many great opportunities within the United States Federal Government.  Below are some great ways to get your foot in the door.

In July 2012, the new Pathways Program went into effect after President Obama signed an executive order to help encourage current students and recent graduates to think about a career with the government.

There are 3 programs:

  1. Internship Program: This program is intended for current students (high school, college, or graduate) to temporarily work at a government agency while in school.  This program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).  Positions could be full-time or part-time and are usually related to students’ fields of study.  Each individual agency will post their positions through www.usajobs.gov.  Interns may be non-competitively converted to a permanent position (or to a term position lasting 1-4 years) within 120 days of the successful completion of the program.
  2. Recent Graduates Program: This program is for students who are within two years of their graduation.  Typically this career development program lasts for one year in length and could possibly lead to another more permanent position.  Those in the program are also assigned a mentor.  Veterans have up to six years to apply to this program if military service obligation was a concern.  Again, each individual agency will post their available positions through www.usajobs.gov.
  3. Presidential Management Fellows Program:  This program is for students who have completed an advanced degree and are within two years of graduation.  This is a two year obligation with rotations to various agencies.  The application process is very rigorous for this program.  There is a strong mentorship component, but conversion to a full-time position with the government after completion is not guaranteed.  To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.pmf.gov.

To learn more information about these great programs, please visit: https://www.usajobs.gov/StudentsAndGrads

Besides the main USAJOBS website, ensure that you look at specific agency websites for more information about opportunities.  Since the program is still relatively new, not all agencies have progressed to the new program.  Make sure your profile and resume on USAJOBS are updated so applying for positions will be easy.  As always ensure all documents have been proofread and pay attention to the details of the posting.

Typically you must be a U.S. citizen to work for the Federal Government, but all requirements are listed on individual position postings.  Positions are available around the world and not just in Washington D.C.  Remember to apply for positions early as the process to obtain positions could take a few months.  Finally, some application periods are open for only a few days to just a few weeks.  Make sure you are actively looking for positions on USAJOBS and/or receive email updates with positions that may be of interest to you through the site.  To learn more tips on applying to Federal Government opportunities, please visit the Career Services website at http://careers.erau.edu/find-job/federal/index.html.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the past two years.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

How to Create Your Brand: Part One

by Kristy Amburgey

brandPersonal branding is a great way for any job seeker or professional to establish his or her expertise in industry or in the market, and a personal brand, especially in the online world, allows you to be more easily found and makes it easier for someone to comprehend your brand.  Before you start to implement actual branding ideas, you first need to understand your brand…YOU.

To create your brand, you need to take the time to figure out what skills, qualities, experiences, accomplishments, etc. upon which you are going to build your reputation.  You need to evaluate what makes you unique as a job seeker and what traits your desired companies value and marry the two together into one cohesive brand.

Depending on where you are in your career, you can draw from your academic, co-op/internship, project, volunteer and work (part-time and full-time) experiences.  Consider the experiences that are most closely related to the career you want and remember to include the accomplishments that make you stand out from the typical candidate.  Directly related experiences should be prioritized as you create your brand, but you also need to apply experiences that are not typical of your industry to further show a connection between you and what the employer needs. To understand industry expectations, you should have several targeted companies in mind and know what the “typical” candidate looks like for them.

You may have a grasp on what skills, accomplishments and qualifications you are going to use to build your brand, but you must also know what you expect to achieve with your personal brand.  What job(s) do you desire?  What outcomes are you seeking with your brand?  It is difficult to create a brand when you don’t know who your target audience is or what your own goals happen to be.  When creating your brand, understand who you want to see your branding efforts and keep their personalities and preferences in mind.  When you are seeking employment, it is even more important to understand your audience and know what job you want before developing your brand.

Creating a personal brand is a valuable way to communicate information about you.  Before creating the brand, you must have a clear picture of what you can offer and what you want in order to create a strategy that works.  And you need to honestly evaluate your connection to these areas before beginning your branding efforts.

Next week, we will continue the idea of creating a brand with How to Create Your Brand: Part Two.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Kruthika Srinivasan

Kruthika Srinivasan, DB 2011

Kruthika Srinivasan, DB 2011

Kruthika Srinivasan is a 2011 graduate of Embry-Riddle’s MBA program. Born and raised in India, Kruthika left her home country at age 17 to work on a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics from the University of Nottingham. Soon after receiving her degree, Kruthika realized she wanted to immerse herself in the aviation industry and decided that a degree from Embry-Riddle would be the best way to move forward with her goals. She moved to the United States and began attending Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. As an MBA student, Kruthika landed an internship at Southwest Airlines. Soon after completing her internship, she interviewed for her current position. Kruthika is a Senior Analyst in the Network Planning Department, where she has been working for the last year.

Tell us about your position at Southwest Airlines and what you enjoy about working for them.

As a Senior Analyst in the Network planning department, I am part of the team that is responsible for routing and scheduling the approximately 520 aircraft in our network. We are constantly living in the future while we optimize the balance between the commercial requests of the schedule and the operational feasibilities. The fact that we are a point-to-point network just makes our lives as planners a lot more interesting as we solve this massive puzzle made up of at least 3000 flights a day. It is a very fulfilling job where I get to see my schedule working in the real world while making good profits for the company. I personally love working for Southwest Airlines. We, as a company, have a very different approach towards work which needs to be experienced firsthand. The culture at Southwest is outstanding, there is an excellent work-life balance, my co-workers are very friendly and the people here in general have a very positive outlook towards life. 

Many international students want to gain some work experience while in the U.S., either during their studies or after graduation.  What advice would you share with these students?

My advice to international students trying to get some work experience in the U.S.:  

  • Start early and plan ahead. This is most important.
  • Do a good amount of research about the companies that you are interested in.
  • Work closely with Career services and take advantage of the experienced counselors there.
  • Show the employer that they have a lot to gain by hiring you – not just in terms of knowledge and skill set, but also because you could bring a global perspective to their business practices and add to the diversity of the company.

You represented Southwest Airlines at the recent ERAU Industry/Career Expo.  Being on the recruiting side of the table, share a few things that stand out to you when you are talking with someone about working at Southwest.

Most students that I spoke to at ERAU seemed to have done their homework about Southwest Airlines and I definitely appreciated that. I would advise any student approaching Southwest to be confident, cheerful and have a good time. This is a company that gives importance to not only your work ethics and knowledge, but also to your all-round character.

We know that many times the education received at college is a solid foundation for the work world, but it does not completely prepare you for the career position you will have.  What skill have you found that has helped you adapt to your new position quickly?

Yes, I agree that just having a formal education does not prepare anyone for work in the real world in its entirety. However, I do believe that it is very important to have a good foundation in school as it is the basis for your thought process.  Education may not prepare you for every possible scenario, but it helps train your mind to identify the right to approach any problem.  Personally, I have found that keeping yourself up to date with the latest developments in the industry and associating how knowledge learned in the classroom could be applied to a real world problem will prepare you to hit the ground running. Also, team projects are an excellent way to learn and build on your emotional intelligence, leadership skills, time management techniques and most importantly, ability to be a team player.

Is there any other advice you would share about preparing to be successful in the work force?

Focus on the task at hand and aim to be a perfectionist. After attaining a certain level, when you are working with some of the best minds in the industry, hard work, the right attitude and good work ethic are the only things that will help you stand out in the crowd.  At the same time, don’t forget to have fun.

Branding 101

by Kristy Amburgey

Branding is a hot topic right now.  There are websites, blogs and online resources devoted to branding and telling you how to brand yourself.  You have this buzz word floating around in many articles and in some of the career advice you might hear.  Branding is really a brand all to itself!  The take-away from this hot topic is that branding is important for both your job search and for furthering your career.  Branding is more than a buzz word, and there are many reasons you should jump on board the branding bandwagon.   Over the next three weeks, branding and several of the supporting ideas will be discussed.

What is branding?  For a job search, branding is identifying ways to market your skills, qualities and accomplishments to a potential employer (the same concept applies to people seeking to grow their businesses or draw attention to products they produce).  This concept may sound like something you already do, right?  You may already find ways to communicate your value to employers, but branding is taking that communication method several steps further and allowing you, the brand, to create a targeted message, to establish your expertise, to control your brand, to be more easily found and to go where the employers are.

One of the primary responsibilities of a branding specialist (you) is to create an image or concept that appeals to a specific target market.  Just like any marketing professional would do, you have to create a message through wording and imagery and by selling an idea to a specific group, which appeals to their sense of self identity and their needs.  Branding is very similar.  You want to create a concept about you that appeals to your target audience.  Develop a strategy that grabs the attention of hiring managers or recruiters and then appeals to their image of the ideal candidate.

Along with creating a targeted message, branding is also about establishing your expertise and uniqueness.  Through branding, you want to communicate your professional savvy and value to an identified target audience through evidence-based information.  Showcase your brand by relating your experiences (academics, projects, writing, research and jobs), accomplishments (quantifiable details) and uniqueness (what makes you stand out from the competition) to what an employer needs.

Creating a brand is also beneficial in that you can more easily control what people perceive about you and what they find about you if you are carefully protecting your brand.  In an ideal world, you would only have glowing recommendations about you wherever an employer might look, but the reality is that your online reputation may be different from what you want an employer to see, unfairly or not.  With branding, you can project the image, through accurate evidence-based information, of the professional you are and not rely on other people’s interpretation of your background.  Controlling your brand is even more important if you host a blog or website that allows open comments.

Branding is a necessary tool in your job search repertoire because you can make it easier for someone to find you and understand your value.  Potential employers may be able to see your expertise via a resume, cover letter or recommendations, but what if you are never able to reach those potential employers to share with them the traditional methods for establishing your expertise?  Your goal should be to create a brand where potential employers can find you.  This is the value of branding…establishing ways for more people to more easily identify who you are.

Additionally, more and more employers are using social media to search for and vet the candidates, so, as a job seeker, you must go where the employers are!  Be present through your well-established brand where you know that employers in your industry go to find candidates.

Finally, as more and more people are creating brands for themselves, it is important that you not get left behind or be seen as using outdated job search methods.  You may not like the idea of branding or exposing yourself to the worldwide web, but it is becoming more expected that professionals and job seekers alike have an online presence.  It is important for you to ensure that your online presence is what you want to communicate and what you want to be found.

Come back next week for How to Create Your Brand: Part One.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

The Virtual Hiring Event Starts Today! Learn More About Participating Companies…

spot-vheThe Virtual Hiring Event starts today and runs through Thursday, February 21. See below for a list of the employers who have posted full-time positions in the EagleHire Network as part of the event. Click on each company’s link to visit their website to learn more about the company and career opportunities that may be available above and beyond those posted in the EagleHire Network.

To participate in the event, log in to your EagleHire Network account and follow the instructions under the Virtual Hiring Event logo (as seen here). Search for positions of interest and begin applying. It’s that easy!

Still need help preparing for the event?

Virtual Hiring Event Tips and Tricks

VirtualHiring-final-trans400pxThe 2013 Virtual Hiring Event will be held through the EagleHire Network Monday, February 11—Thursday, February 21, 2013. Candidates can begin preparing to apply for the full-time opportunities posted by previewing positions in the system the weekend prior (February 9-10).

To increase your chances of landing an interview as a result of the Virtual Hiring Event,  follow these tips:

  • Prepare in advance! During the job preview days, you have the chance to view positions without the pressure to apply  at that very moment. Take this time to read through the job postings and mark those you are interested in as “favorites” – this will allow you to go back to the position easily when it is time to apply.
  • Get your resume and cover letter in order. Make sure you have these documents uploaded to the EagleHire Network by January 27 in order to ensure ample time for your resume to be reviewed and approved in the system.
  • Don’t be generic! Once you’ve identified those jobs you wish to apply to, read through the position description and tailor the resume you plan to use for your application specifically for the position.  By personalizing your resume and cover letter, you are telling the employer that you are truly interested in the opportunity…as a result, you are also able to communicate to them that you are the candidate they’ve been seeking for the position.
  • Do not apply for positions where you don’t meet the minimum qualifications. It is frustrating for the employer, and in the vast majority of cases, it’s a waste of your valuable time.
  • Follow all application instructions to the tee! Give them nothing less than exactly what they ask for (resume, cover letter, references, writing samples, etc.) and apply in the manner they prefer (email, website, fax, or snail mail) – failure to do so is an indication to an employer that you do not pay attention to details,  nor do you follow directions.
  • Print out jobs to which you apply. This will help you in referencing the position later, in the event that an employer contacts you for an interview. If contact information is included, you can use that information to follow up  with the recruiter a few weeks later.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute! Make sure you take care of getting your resume online on time and begin applying for jobs as early in the week as possible. This helps to ensure that you can apply for positions at a leisurely pace, minimizing the risk of making mistakes.

For more information about the Virtual Hiring Event, including how to participate, a list of registered companies, event details, and FAQs for job seekers, visit our website: http://careers.erau.edu/events/virtual-hiring-event.html.

The Virtual Hiring Event: A How To

VirtualHiring-final-trans400pxDon’t forget to participate in the Virtual Hiring Event (VHE) for Embry-Riddle candidates seeking full-time employment. The VHE will be Monday, February 11 – Thursday, February 21 in the EagleHire Network with preview days on Saturday, February 9 and Sunday, February 10. Job seekers will have the ability to view and apply to full-time job postings from various companies who are seeking candidates.

Instructions:

  • Log in to your EagleHire Network account
  • Select “Spring 2013 Virtual Hiring Event” under “More Searches” or click on the Virtual Hiring Event logo
  • Here, you can either narrow your search by selecting items for your query, or you can keep your search broad to see what positions are posted by not selecting any query items
  • Click on each position to view more information and to apply

Jobs will be viewable on Saturday and Sunday, February 9-10. Jobs will be available for application starting on Monday, February 11 at 12:01 am EST and will run through 11:59 pm EST on Thursday, February 21.

In order to participate, an approved resume must be on the EagleHire Network system. Due to the increase in resumes uploaded during this time period, job seekers should expect an extended turnaround on resume reviews. Keep in mind that this may prevent you from participating in the event if you upload a resume too late.

Even if you are not actively searching for a full-time position, use the Virtual Hiring Event to explore career and company options. Please remember that jobs are available in EagleHire Network throughout the year, so you should consistently review the system for opportunities. Check out the company’s website as well to identify additional opportunities in the area(s) you seek. Also remember that networking is imperative in any job search, so find connections to the companies to which you applied for an extra step in the search.

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