Whether you are seeking to be a part of therapeutics research or vying to get that project management position at a top biotech consulting firm, your personal brand isn’t just what sets you apart from other candidates— it is the very thing that will make others around you enthusiastic about your work.
So what does it take to develop a strong, effective personal brand? As a scientist, you may think your work speaks for itself and that there isn’t much more you can do to broadcast your successes and current experience. But the fact is you have a unique selling point. Capitalize on it!
There are two parts to this process: reflection and action.
Think about what you’re good at. Do you thrive more in a lab or corporate setting? Does answering basic research questions inspire you more than transforming discoveries into practical applications for society? By answering high-level questions like these you are able to build a scientific persona. Our scientific personality assessment is a perfect starting place.
Then, figure out how you like to communicate with others. If writing feels natural to you, think of ways you can get others to read what you have to say. And if you’re a more visual scientist, ponder the many different avenues by which you can demonstrate your areas of expertise.
Which media do you engage with most?
The list goes on….
Upon determining your scientific niche and preferred method of communication, it's time to turn your personality into a personal brand.
As Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” But in the life sciences, your personal brand goes way beyond what people think about you upon first impression. It also directly impacts how you are able to be part of groundbreaking research and scientific advancements.
Your first step in becoming a thought leader might be the most difficult for you. This article in Science describes the process as a way to curate your social media and blog presence so that your followers and prospective followers associate you with your field. Capitalizing on your unique selling point, you may seem as though your thoughts go against the grain in your area of expertise, but that is fine. No great scientific advancement came out of total agreement. So ask questions, be experimental, interact with others, and share your perspective online. You may find that there is a mine of other scientists who think and feel the same.
Consistency is key because it strengthens your association with the niche research/work area you are a part of. Scientists who already follow you will connect your name to the content you speak about, and potential employers, coworkers, and fellow researchers will learn more about your interests and initiative when they look you up before meeting you in person. It only makes sense to get a head start by letting your passion and outreach speak for itself.
Show off your newly developed personal scientific brand at conferences, online communities, and other forms of media like podcasts, a personal site, or online videos. To help you out, full membership to the Science Advisory Board grants you access to niche scientific communities so that you can explore the depth of your field with your peers in addition to sharing your unique outlook on your field’s current status and potential achievements.
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What are your experiences with personal branding in the life sciences? Share your perspective with us today so others can learn from you! Contact our editor for more information.