What is your personal brand?

16 March 2022

Highlights

  • Join ACS QLD Emerging Professional Committee Chair Zac Isaac as he shares insights into his recent interview experiences and key takeaways such as personal branding. 

Whilst studying data science online at RMIT, I missed having that face-to-face interaction with other students and professionals, this led to me attending local networking events at the Australian Computer Society. I was nervous but also excited to be in a room full of successful IT professionals and students alike. One of my first conversations that has stuck with me to this day was with Matthew Eames, CIO at Protech Group. After gathering the courage to go up and introduce myself, I found myself in an engaging conversation, that I would later realise how invaluable it was. One of the questions I asked him was: “What advice do you have for someone in my position when engaging with potential employers?” He went on to say “It’s one thing to have the relevant degree and technical capabilities, but one key aspect that they’re looking to ascertain is…. Who is ’person x’ and can I and/or my team, work with this person?” 

Now as I’m approaching the end of university studies, but by no means will I ever stop learning, I have been starting to ramp up my job searches. I’ve had some interesting interviews and met some incredible talent recruiters who provided me with constructive feedback that I’ve been able to take on board and build on. Throughout this process I’ve noticed a central theme that almost every company has focused on - that is, whether this person will match with their culture, values, and identity of the company. Especially with the larger corporations who have more resources, they can teach you practically everything you need to know, but before they invest in you, they want to know that you possess the fundamentals to thrive within their corporation. 

Before you get to this stage of the interview, it’s critical that you have the self-awareness, self-reflection, and a willingness to constantly learn and grow, what I’d refer to as a growth mindset. Equipped with these capabilities you are now able to shape your identity. Now this may seem like an abstract idea, as we already know who we are, don’t we? However, without a doubt you will be asked time and time again, “Please tell us a bit about yourself”. This question is an opportunity for you to promote your brand, your values and what it is you are passionate about. Another starting point is to consider what you’d like people to think of, when they’re considering bringing you on board for a project. For example, “Person x has been great to work with, they were always taking the initiative and were able to autonomously troubleshoot many issues, I think they would add a lot of value to your team for this project”. Don’t think that the scope of this question is limited to just interviews, the wording and phrasing of it may change depending on the context, but it will remain constant throughout your career.

As students we can often get so caught up in the technical aspect of our studies, which is an extremely important ingredient to success, but we also need to develop our values with respect to our rapidly changing world. With that in mind, people are looking to work with others whom they feel they can trust, are genuine and authentic. Whilst studying and striving to achieve those high distinctions start building your personal brand, and when you get asked that question in an interview, “Tell me about yourself”, you’re able to confidently introduce yourself with impact.  
 
Key Takeaway Points 

·       Start building your personal brand.

·       Bring your complete authentic and genuine personality to work. 

·       Consider how your identity relates to the values and culture of the company you’re applying for. 

·       Be self-aware and don’t be afraid to fail (as long as you learn and develop from the experience).

 

If you would like to get in contact with me, please feel free to reach out via email or LinkedIn.  
 
Zachary Isaac

Chair – ACS QLD Emerging Professional Committee

Post graduate data science student at RMIT

E: [email protected]