Young Professionals: Be a unique cupcake!

As a science major, I know little about the fundamentals of a business and economics. However, one thing I know for certain is that every successful company has a well-developed brand / logo / signature style.

So why not think of ourselves as our own brand?
We go to school to develop and establish a signature brand – for example: I am a science major. We have the rudimentary skills and techniques to become someone who can work into the work force. Great! but what does it really take for young professionals to get hired? To stand out from the rest? To be a slight edgier?

An article written by Allison Schnidman, shares a study she conducted in breaking down the most important skills to get hired – click here. I completely agree with this article as these are important skills to master and is essential in the creation of your unique brand.

In this article, I will be sharing my advice to evolve yourself from an ordinary undergraduate to an individual with a degree & the added X-factor that makes hiring managers want you to work for them!

1. Start your brand early.

  • Once you enter a large university with many soon to be science majors. You often feel like a barcode or literally just a ‘student number’. It is a great opportunity to start distinguishing yourself from everyone else.
  • Do some soul searching or personal reflection to figure out what qualities you have that are different than everyone else. Start taking on different opportunities to interact with different types of people in different situations. This is a great way to train yourself or evolve your brand – Learn from others mistakes and adapt on others strength. Ultimately, feel what works for you and what you are comfortable in. For example: some individuals may feel more comfortable in being in a leadership role, while others are better at being a team player. This does not mean to ignore some qualities – its all about being dynamic – have a balance between your strengths and weaknesses.

2. Interview: Be 80-90% of the best version of yourself!

Think of the interview process as a test or marathon. All the hard work you did in developing your brand – you want to show 100% of that to employers. Yes! of course this is what you want but you are putting yourself in a dangerous territory – you could set yourself up to look fake and desperate [this turns off employers].

This is where you put your ‘brand’ up to the test.

  • If it works – build on your brand
  • If it doesn’t – don’t be discouraged! Continue to evolve

The main goal of the interview is to show 80-90% of your best self! Especially when you are ‘fresh’! Why? Here are the reasons:

  • Act 80%confident to show malleability – show employers you are confident enough to take on the job; but admit to the idea that there are many things you need to learn and that you are receptive in learning!
  • Carefully answer 90% of the non-personal questions asked – these questions is to access your critical thinking and to draw our personality qualities that you possess. Don’t just give a response that is the most correct (~100%); give the 80% correct answer. This calls for a good discussion, experiences that can be drawn into the answer, and extension questions to show that you are not afraid in connecting with them. Show them you like to hear their opinion by asking them ‘what they think on this _____ topic’
  • Show them 90% of your research knowledge – Doing your research on the company is A+ work; but always show them that you did the work but also want to know more about the organization. Hold back on some knowledge (not preliminary knowledge) and use that opportunity to ask the employers questions about the company. It let employers know your interest – this could separate you from someone who wants the job to someone who actually wants the job.

3. Job achieved! Be a better brand!

So after hopefully once you get the job, what’s next to do? Maintain your brand & be a better brand! In the interview, you held back some qualities and skills that you could have shown. So show them now! On your job, you want to add that extra sprinkle to your employer – to establish a professional relationship and to show them that you are a great employee! For example: in the interview – you showed them you have strong leadership skills. So on the job? show them you are a team player too. It goes back to the step 1 – know your strength and weaknesses, work with them and strategically use them. If your company have certain values and skill sets – start to embody some bits of that brand and incorporate it into your own.

There are many articles about what skills you need and what to show employers. Yes, valid information but employers now look beyond these descriptions. You want to package yourself tightly and neat to be your ‘own’. You want to be that frosted cupcake with that extra glitter sprinkle on top from that dozen – if others have some sprinkles be the one with more. Start working on your brand today!


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