As young doctors of optometry venture out into the workforce and search for positions, determining your personal brand becomes an important consideration. The personal brand that you convey to potential employers can showcase your unique values, goals, personality, and skills. The personal brand can define who you are and who you want to be. When a potential employer does a Google search for you, it’s important to communicate the right tone. A successful personal brand could be the determining factor in securing the position that you desire.
An OD’s personal brand is a great way to present your skills, to provide a mission statement, and to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Here are some things to consider as you establish your personal brand:
Target audience. Who do you aim to reach with your message? When charting your career path in optometry, your target audience is likely practice owners, hiring managers, and HR professionals. Craft your brand in a way that will appeal to those whom you wish to reach. Research the key factors that this group will look for in a potential candidate. Talk to experienced ODs and practice owners to find particular things that catch their eye and what to avoid.
Goal. What is your professional purpose and how do you want to be known? Figure out how you want others to perceive you. Define your attitude, values, and skill set. Focus on a compelling mission statement for your resume.
Online Presence. Is your social media available for everyone to view and if so, does it reflect the image you want to project? You might consider creating separate profiles for professional use and personal use. LinkedIn can be an effective tool for showcasing your skills and to network. Investing in a professional headshot could pay off in the long run as well.
Think outside of the box for ways to stand out. For instance, creating a personal website may not be the first thought for an OD, but it could make an immediate and lasting impression to give you the edge in a competitive field. A concise site featuring your work and externship experience, photos, awards, skills, community involvement, volunteer work, special interests, and testimonials from co-workers and/or patients could get you to the next step in the interview process.
Resume. Research ways to make your resume stand out and reflect how you would like to be presented. An effective mission statement is key. State the reason this particular position is the perfect match for you. A great piece of advice is to tell the employer how you will help their practice grow. Practice owners will appreciate hearing how you hope to improve their workplace.
If you are an OD that is a recent graduate and don’t have a lengthy amount of professional experience to list on your resume, keep in mind that practice owners value recent graduates for their training with the latest optometric technology and techniques. Have a short and professional contact email address to make a good initial impression. Helpful tips about what to include in your resume can be found here.
Building a successful personal brand is a key part in planning an OD’s career strategy. Taking the time to devise your plan can pay dividends for years to come.
Ready to put your personal brand to the test? Upload your resume to the AOAExcel Career Center where practice owners and hiring managers are able to reach out to you directly. The AOAExcel Career Center (the only career center associated with the AOA) puts your resume directly in front of recruiters looking for ODs like you. It’s available at no cost to you. You can also search for career advice and tips, find out what salaries and benefits are being offered across the country, and so much more.
Make your first initial impression count with these dos and don'ts on your optometric resume.
AOAExcel talks with Chelsea Page of Covenant Physician Partners to gain a recruiter's perspective on how ODs can impress during a phone interview.