No, not that branding. The kind where you market your talents to the world but in a cool and casual way. Last month I went to an AIA DC EAC event about “branding your work in pursuit of new horizons”. Here’s my take on how to focus on your “brand” when preparing to take the next step in your career.

Create your brand, physically.

When running through dozens of resumes and portfolios an employer remembers a few things – great projects and great graphics. Creating a graphic template to use throughout your professional materials creates a streamlined package while showing off your design flair. Add your favorite color, shape, motif etc. that expresses your design aesthetic.

Manifest your brand.

Identifying what you want your brand to be requires thoughtfully merging what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. After finding that blend you can begin to focus on what you want your brand to be. Maybe you are a trained architect but want to have a focus on sustainability, historic preservation or take a focus on interior spaces.

Sharing your intentions or “brand” with others is the easy part, you can meet firms and peers that have similar interests at industry events, networking sessions, or even through a career consultant.

Stay true to your brand.

Sometimes identifying your brand is the easy part, finding out how to stay true to your values and interests while managing your professional responsibilities is the issue. Finding and aligning yourself with an organization and colleagues who have similar passions and professional interests is the most direct solution. Creating an open dialogue to discuss hobbies and ideas is a first step that can be taken in almost any situation. Finding people that have similar interests is rarely as difficult as it seems if you are willing to take the first step to engage in a discussion.

“Branding yourself” sounds painful but at its truest form it is simply creating a message and sticking to it. Think about what you love and find out what you are good at. For sharing that message with others – scream if from the rooftops! Seek out like-minded people, actively reach out to like-minded firms, and if you don’t know where to start come see a career consultant :).