Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Developing a professional identity

Developing and portraying a professional identity starts long before any interview.  There is also no "one way" to approach it.  But, it is important to start well before your job search.  Here are some things you can do to get started.

Consider what you want your professional identity to look like.
Then, identify opportunities to develop that identity.  If you are interested in pursuing Veterinary Medicine, it makes sense to intern or shadow for a local vet clinic.  You may also want to carefully select courses that play to your strengths or anticipated specialty, or join a Pre-Vet club.  Developing this identity over the course of several years will leave you better prepared than if you'd decided to through a resume together last minute.

I need a resume?
Yes.  Even if you are a couple years removed from applying for admission or interviewing for jobs, create and critique a resume NOW.

Initiate professional relationships.
Do research for a professor, or even stop by their office hours regularly to discuss course content you found interesting to learn more about it.  Whether it is a professor, advisor, or employer, you want to develop relationships with individuals who will later speak favorably on your work ethic, time management, creativity, etc.

Spend less time on Facebook, and more time on LinkedIn.
Chances are, Facebook won't help you get a job.  But it may very well hurt your chances.  Take some time to clean up your profile and adjust your privacy settings to ensure you are displaying a professional vibe, but also spend even more time developing a LinkedIn profile.  Consider it an online resume.  Caution: don't friend everyone you friend on facebook.  Try to limit your contacts on LinkedIn to those who have witnessed your abilities and/or work in sectors that you are interested in.

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