Orange County Branch Newsletter
ASCE OC YMF
Creating Your Personal Brand
By Sean Theriot | Student
A few weeks ago on November 5th, I had the privilege of attending the ASCE OC YMF - Personal Branding Workshop hosted by Gabreelle Gonzalez, E.I.T. and Fuscoe Engineering in Irvine. The workshop included a light dinner, a presentation by guest speaker and past president of ASCE OC Branch, Elizabeth Ruedas, P.E. (Michael Baker Int’l), and culminated in a discussion panel from industry professionals about their take on personal branding steps and their experiences at career fairs, both as former students and professionals.
Speaker, panelists, and attendees. Photo credit: Gabreelle Gonzalez, E.I.T.
Elizabeth gave a presentation focusing on the idea that a personal brand is "how people talk about you when you are not in the room” and went on to explain how making connections and building relationships have helped her to advance her career. She gave personal anecdotes about how the YouTube channel and website she ran for herself gave her not only an income source but also the communication and business skills of a professional early on. I personally found great value in her experiences with building a website as I had just recently finished my online portfolio for showcasing any future engineering projects I participate in.
The most essential workshop you've never heard of. Photo credit: Gabreelle Gonzalez, E.I.T.
After the presentation and a quick break, we dove headfirst into the professional panel which included industry professionals Marionne Lapitan, E.I.T. (Michael Baker Int’l), Andrea Echeverria, P.E. (LPA), Clint Isa, P.E. (Diaz Yourman & Associates), and Arturo Vivar, P.E. (Mark Thomas). During the panel, each person took some time to give their personal accounts and recommendations about how to make the most of career fairs and to give the best first impression possible. Each professional had their own unique advice but my personal highlights were:
- Practice a firm (not overbearing) handshake
- Don’t forget that people look at your shoes so make sure to dress nice from head to toe (literally)
- A reminder that even though followup emails seem like a no brainer, most people actually forget to send them
- Always research the company beforehand to show your interest and dedication early on
- Don’t go up to your dream company first. Talk to a few others to get warmed up, then talk to them when you are prepped and ready
- Most importantly: Someone will eventually recognize what you have to offer, it may not be the first company you apply for, but it will happen if you keep trying
The home page to my online portfolio I finished at the end of last summer.
This workshop was an absolute success in my opinion. The presentations and discussions put out new and creative ideas to help market ourselves in the job market while also reminding us that sometimes advice is considered timeless because it’s really good advice (send those followup emails). I was one of about 20 people who attended but over time I feel this workshop could be scaled up to include dozens upon dozens of people, both students, and professionals. I myself have a website and personal business cards I made to help market myself at career fairs and networking events. They have been my secret weapon in building my network and establishing how passionate and driven I am. I always encourage other people to make some for themselves because I believe that the best way to show others that they should invest in you, is by showing them how you have invested in yourself. So the next time you have some time transitioning between tasks, brainstorm a few ideas on how you can set yourself apart from the crowd. Best of luck friends.
About the Author
Sean Theriot started community college in 2016 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA and transferred in 2019 to California State University, Long Beach as a Civil Engineering Major with an interest in the Transportation specialty. He enjoys contributing to the goals and values of ASCE, playing tennis, and is challenging himself to graduate college completely debt-free. Sean can be reached best via LinkedIn or his website/online portfolio theriotengineering.com.