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Building Your Brand: Owning Your Professional Presence Online and Offline (Especially for STEMinists)

Listen up, all you phenomenal women in STEM! We all know the drill: you're a coding sorceress, a data demigoddess, an engineering extraordinaire. But sometimes, the technical skills only get you so far. In today's competitive world, building a solid personal brand is critical to propelling yourself to the top of your field.


Now, you might be thinking, "Personal branding? That sounds like something for influencers and reality stars!" But hold on a sec, my dear steminist. Your personal brand isn't about how many followers you have or the trendiest outfit you can rock in the lab. It's about crafting your professional image to showcase your expertise, value, and why you're the ultimate badass in your field.


And guess what? Two key battlegrounds for building this brand are the online realm (think LinkedIn) and the offline world (conferences, networking events, the good old-fashioned handshake). Both have pros and cons, so let's break it down and get you strategizing like a champion.

Conquering the Online Jungle: LinkedIn as Your Launching Pad

Ah, LinkedIn. The professional playground where you connect with colleagues, land your dream job, and (hopefully) avoid those awkward sales pitches. Building a personal brand is more challenging than it seems at first sight. To learn how to make your online break, check our post: Polish Your LinkedIn: 5 Strategies to Build a Stellar Personal Brand to Skyrocket Your Career (STEM Edition) and Download our FREE "From Beige to Blast Off: Your LinkedIn Makeover Checklist" for prompts and inspiration to craft a captivating headline and summary that will grab attention!


Here's the gist of what you'll learn:


5 Strategies to Build a Stellar Personal Brand to Skyrocket Your Career for Women in STEM
5 Strategies to Build a Stellar Personal Brand to Skyrocket Your Career for Women in STEM
  • Shine a Light on Your Skills:  Craft a killer profile that showcases your accomplishments, relevant skills, and certifications. Don't be shy – toot your own horn (metaphorically, of course)!

  • Content is Queen: Share insightful articles, industry updates, and even your own original content. This positions you as a thought leader and keeps you top-of-mind in your network.

  • Engage and Connect: Don't just lurk in the shadows! Like, comment on, and share other people's posts. Join relevant groups and participate in discussions to build relationships.


Now, some might say LinkedIn feels a bit…sterile. It's true, sometimes the online world can feel impersonal. But here's the upside:  your reach is limitless. You can connect with potential employers, collaborators, and industry giants – all from the comfort of your couch (in your pajamas, if that's your style).



The Offline Hustle: Building Your Brand in the Real World

But there's something undeniably powerful about face-to-face interaction. Here's where your offline presence comes into play:

  • Networking Ninja: Attend industry conferences, workshops, and events. Strike up conversations, exchange business cards (yes, those still exist!), and make genuine connections.

  • Stage Presence: Don't shy away from presenting at conferences or workshops. Sharing your expertise builds credibility and positions you as an authority.

  • Body Language Boss:  Make eye contact, firm handshake, confident posture – all this non-verbal communication screams "I'm a force to be reckoned with!"

  • Mentor the Next Generation: Share your knowledge by mentoring younger STEM professionals. It's good karma and boosts your credibility.

  • Volunteer Your Expertise:  Volunteer your skills to organizations you care about. It showcases your passion and gives back to the community.


The offline world allows you to build rapport in a way that's difficult online. You can truly connect with people, showcase your personality, and leave a lasting impression.


Double-Edged Sword: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Of course, online and offline brand building has ups and downs.


Building Your Brand: Owning Your Professional Presence Online and Offline
Pros & Cons of Building your Professional Presence Online vs. Offline

The Perks of the Online Persona


Building your online brand is like throwing a virtual networking party – except way less awkward. Here's what you get:

  • Global Reach: Showcase your awesomeness to the STEM world, not just your local office.

  • Connect with the Right People:  Target industry leaders, potential employers, and fellow STEM enthusiasts.

  • Credibility Booster:  A well-crafted profile screams expertise and positions you as a leader in your field.

  • Opportunity Magnet:  The more people see your amazingness, the more career opportunities come knocking.


But hold on a second; it's not all rainbows and digital domination. There's a flip side to the online coin.



The Downsides of the Digital Domain

  • Comparatitis Can Bite:  Staring at other people's seemingly perfect profiles can be a major buzzkill.

  • The Imposter Syndrome Monster:  Building a brand can trigger those pesky feelings of self-doubt.

  • Time Commitment:  Maintaining an active online presence takes effort. Sorry, no time for cat videos all day.

  • The Risk of Oversharing:  Keep it professional, ladies. There's a fine line between personal branding and oversharing.

Now, let's explore the ups and downs of the offline world to get a complete picture. Before venturing into any of these worlds, it's essential to understand what to expect.


The Perks of the Physical Realm

Building your brand offline offers unique benefits:

  • Genuine Connections:  Forming real-life relationships is powerful for career advancement.

  • Building Trust:  Face-to-face interactions allow you to build trust and rapport, which is vital in STEM fields.

  • Lasting Impressions:  A powerful presentation or insightful comment can leave a lasting positive impression.

  • Building Your Tribe:  Surround yourself with other inspiring STEM women who will lift you up.

Of course, there are challenges to navigating offline, too.


The Downsides of the Physical Hustle

  • Location, Location, Location:  Opportunities might be limited depending on where you live.

  • Introvert Blues:  Networking events can be daunting for introverts. But remember, even small interactions.


So, what's a STEM queen to do?

The answer, my friend, is simple: Embrace both!


Think of your online presence as your digital storefront, showcasing your skills and experience to a global audience. Your offline presence is your chance to connect with people on a deeper level, build relationships, and leave a memorable impression.


Building Your Brand with LM Consulting

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, you don't have to go it alone. LM Consulting, led by the career coach Linda Macelova, is here to help women in STEM like you build confidence, find your voice, and establish a powerful personal brand that will propel you towards your career goals.

Linda offers a range of services, from personalized coaching sessions to workshops specifically designed for women in STEM. She can help you craft a killer LinkedIn profile, develop your networking skills, and build the confidence you need to own the room.

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