This is my first job, what else should I be doing?

Sure you're new.  And you don't bring a lot to the table except maybe that hard earned degree and some youthful enthusiasm. What could this successful company want from you other than your 8 to 5 work?

"Just like a business' brand, your personal brand is not what you think you are, it's what you do."

The truth is probably not a lot other than that will be asked of you.  HOWEVER, you can offer significantly more.  You could bring some excitement and passion for the profession.  You could ask a lot of questions regarding not just your job but of those working around you.  You could begin to piece together how your cog on the wheel fits together with your bay-mates cog.  You could also move outside the box and do some personal networking.  I know you aren't a partner (yet) but like our Mom's often told us, "it's not what you know, it's who you know!"

There are some to whom this kind of discussion will bring sweat to their brows, so maybe they're just not quite ready yet.  But others would jump at the chance to grow professionally, to see and understand the big picture, and they just might build their "personal brand" in the process.  

Just like a business' brand, your personal brand is not what you think you are, it's what you do. What you do is what others see and experience when they intersect with your circle of influence.  Are you engaged in the profession?  Are you inquisitive? Are you helpful?  Do you listen?  Do you ask the right questions?  Do you bring some unique skill or technology that the firm needs but doesn't know it?  Do you participate?  Do work to expand your contacts to a diverse group of contacts?  

As your career advances, you may see some staff being held back by their own inactions or those flying past you into the stratosphere.  Somehow either their passion quenched after college or it ignited with their first opportunity to perform.  There is a saying in the Internet community, "Move fast and break things!" And it can apply to your personal career.  Carefully bend the rules, make waves, change the paradigm, perhaps not with reckless abandon but certainly way off the status quo.  

Here's a real life story:  A young man landed a terrific job at a large oil service company as a graphic and web designer after a career in a completely dissimilar industry.  His company was entertaining firms to design their new global website.  He was on the interview team and quickly saw that all the professionals were simply missing the mark, failing to enhance the existing brand and failing to deliver a client-centered approach. The professionals were timidly staying the course of status quo. On his own time he developed his own entry into the competition and approached his boss with the results. That is the site design they chose and use today.  Listening, understanding, applying his talent and experience, and presenting fearlessly were his brand.  

Grab a hold of your life, you will be building your personal brand.  What could be better?

William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff.  Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years with the A/E/C community.   Bill writes articles sharing his experience in keystone practice areas:  Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Practice Management.  He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at