Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he explains how to get to know your professional brand as a PhD – and how to sell it to employers.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah takes a look at professional brands and explains why they can be hard for PhDs to embrace
  • Next, he shines a light on things you’re doing right now that other people already recognize as your professional brand
  • Finally, Isaiah shares ways to mold your brand into something that reflects both your strengths and your goals

From This Week’s Show…

A Professional Brand Helps You Differentiate Yourself From Other Candidates

Every day, we’re inundated with brands. 

Social media shows us targeted ads for brand-name clothing, electronics, appliances, study materials – the list is endless.

Whether you like it or not, brand name ads are here to stay – because they work. 

The good news is that you can use these same tactics to sell your own professional brand to employers. 

Many PhDs hate the idea of selling themselves. 

They think selling themselves – their brand – means they’re selling out. 

Academia teaches you that thinking outside of the collective “we” to focus on the “I” – what you’ve accomplished, your expertise – is a jailable offense. 

But to succeed in today’s results-driven world, you need to sell yourself – not only your abilities and accomplishments, but also your mission and values as a professional. 

This is your professional brand.

How Do You Build A Brand that employers care about… and want to buy?

First, realize that everyone has a brand – intentional or not. 

That’s because, with every interaction you have, you leave an impression. 

People are constantly forming opinions of you. 

That means when you don’t build a brand for yourself, others do it for you.

Second, build a brand based on a clear and consistent narrative. 

If you want to make it clear to others that you’re a professional, act the part. 

If you constantly show up to meetings late, come unprepared, or act unprofessional in any way, your brand becomes “disorganized”, “disrespectful” and “abrasive.”  

People are making topical judgments about you all the time. 

And sadly, these opinions are formed based on what stands out – your mistakes and missteps. 

However, when you create a brand built on clear intentions, it reinforces your brand’s narrativenot only to others but also to yourself. 

Your Professional Brand is not synonymous with your job title

… but if that were true, employers would only make hiring decisions based on your current job title. 

And that would be terrible, right? You’d forever be branded as a PhD student, postdoc, TA, professor or whatever academic title you currently hold. 

The ability to build your own brand is good thing – it allows you to manifest the professional person you want to become. 

So yes, part of your personal brand may be your job title, but the questions remains: Who are you professionally? 

If you’re currently a grad student, do you want potential employers to look at you as a student or an industry professional? 

An authentic brand demonstrates your potential while remaining true to your strengths. 

If you’re not the strongest leader, but you’re a great listener that makes people feel appreciated, build a brand as a great cross-functional collaborator.

Perhaps you’re not the strongest coder, but you’re able to find solutions to complex problems – create a brand as a dedicated problem-solver. 

Overall, building your brand professionally is up to you. 

Because if you don’t build one for yourself, others will. 

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

Book a Transition Call
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly