Branding and storytelling to build your career

Author: Alexander Hajek

“If you’re not telling your story, someone else is for you,” says Jared Mrozinske, Program Manager for Engineering and Innovation at the Meruelo Center for Career Development. Resumes and cover letters are the stock and trade of the job application process. But they are just two pieces of paper. What do they say about you? What can they say about your ambitions, values, and personality? LinkedIn is one tool for expanding your professional presence beyond the resume-cover letter tedium. 

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Jared Mrozinske, Program Manager for Engineering and Innovation at the Meruelo Center for Career Development

Jared Mrozinske hosted “Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn” Tuesday, February 23rd to coach students through the process of improving their LinkedIn profiles and expanding their networking community, with a focus on students interested in environmental careers. Jared shared his best tips from his career consulting businesses and creating companies. He summarizes his method with the acronym BECC: Biography, Engagement, Connection, and Creation. 

Jared talked about building your biography in your profile, starting with a solid resume. Jared encourages students to upload their resumes to their LinkedIn profiles as an easy way to build out their experiences section. “Do not stop at your resume!” says Jared. “Round out your experiences with honors you have achieved, projects you have worked on, your education, your skills, and your volunteer experiences - your profile needs to show your personality.” Jared encouraged students to think about why they are passionate about what they are doing. Is there a personal story that exemplifies your passion? Weave that story into your profile to create a narrative. A good place to start is your ‘About’ section. 

Jared emphasized that appealing to a specific industry, or using phrases like “seeking a job”, is not as useful as talking about your passion. Employers will find your profile; you want to make sure employers want to talk to you once they find you. Jared also suggested editing your headline to say something like “(academic major), Aspiring (role)”. This clearly states your aspirations and frees you up to talk about your personal story in the rest of your ‘Introduction’ and ‘About’ sections. 

Now comes the more difficult part: engagement. Jared framed engagement as getting your foot in the door at companies you want to work with. Do not be afraid to follow and respond to content produced by those companies. And, in particular, comment on content. Jared talked about how companies pay attention to their comments and respond favorably to them. If a content creator at a company spends the time to create a post, they appreciate you taking the time to react to it. Engagement is a point of entry to make meaningful connections at the companies you want to work for. Follow the companies you are interested in, and if you are looking for opportunities, do not be afraid to search for personnel at those companies who are actively recruiting. 

Engagement leads to Jared’s third tip: Connection. “Everyone has time for a cup of coffee”, Jared says. Jared advises reaching out directly to recruiters and company staff through LinkedIn and asking to speak directly to them, even for 15 minutes. Employers appreciate that personal connection, and it is an opportunity for students to get their questions answered. “The world doesn’t know what you want or need until you tell it what you want”.  

You have started engaging and connecting with employers. Now what? Creation. Jared advises students to start producing their own content. Think of content like an e-portfolio. Show potential employers what you are working on and what you are passionate about. Students with capstone or thesis projects can use them to highlight their skills. Students can film their progress, write articles about their project, or use photos to document what they are working on. Creation is about more than finding a job; it’s about building your unique brand. Make sure to tag your professors, fellow students, and even companies too. Tags are a great way to bring attention to your work and give credit to your contributors. 

“Notre Dame students are so humble”, says Jared. “Do not be afraid to show employers how amazing you are. LinkedIn is an underutilized opportunity to do just that.” 

More Questions? Contact Jared Mrozinske, Program Manager for Engineering and Innovation at the Meruelo Center for Career Development