professional branding 

Compiled by Carrie Mah


What's a Resume?

  • First impression, highlights education, skills, experiences
  • Features accomplishments over tasks
  • Relevant to job posting
  • Match between qualifications & employer's needs
  • Goal: show that you're qualified enough to land that interview

resume format

  • At most 2 pages
  • Professional & concise, targeted & relevant
  • Readable: use different font sizes, bullets that begin with action verbs
  • Consistent: proper use of grammar and correct tenses
    • Present tense for current activities
    • Past tense for past activities
  • Avoid:
    • Vague statements ('etc'), superlatives ('excellent'), personal pronouns ('my')
    • Acronyms or university-specific details ('CPSC 313')



Contact Information • Include name, professional email, phone number, sites (portfolio, linkedin, github)
• Don't include personal information (gender, marital status)
Education • Degree, major (concentrations, minors), anticipated grad year, institution, GPA (if >3.0)
• May include relevant course names (if you're proud & can showcase work)

Make sure you maintain a consistent image - if you write courses & skills, back it up on your resume with specifics (courses -> projects, skills -> related experience, projects)



Relevant Skills • Don't include everything you've done - match skills to job description (relevance)
• Technical (languages [C#], tools [Visual Studio], OS [Windows 8])
• Additional (optional if you have lots of experience - these additional skills would be apparent if you developed them through clubs, work, volunteer, etc.)

Do not list every language you heard of - only the ones you are comfortable using in a work environment. If you don't know fundamentals (e.g. C and pointers), do not claim you do



Relevant Experience • Position, company, location, dates
    ■ List present work then reverse  
• Start bullets with action verbs
    ■ Be specific & focus on skills and
       accomplishments > duties 
Volunteer Experience • Same format as above, may be combined
• Identify clearly if it is volunteer experience
• Can include club involvement (bonus if executive role)

Remember, you are highlighting information - do not put every single task you did that isn't relevant to the job description.



Interests • Don't be generic
    ■ Everyone reads & watches TV...what
       makes you different? (e.g. review books)
• If possible, be relevant to academic career, career interests, or other skills (e.g. graphic design)
• Provide specifics: sports, travelling or other leisure activities shouldn't just be listed

Interests provide informal and personal information to help you stand out. Could also line your values with employers (family and friends -> work/life balance)


  • Possible additional sections: professional development/memberships, career-related courses, certificates/training (academic + non-academic like CPR)
  • Highlight publications & conferences/presentations
  • Need space?
    • Combine sections (e.g. integrate publication with research role)
    • Condense - erase irrelevant information
    • Change margins (but still be aesthetically pleasing & avoid crowding too much)


Who cares?

  • People will search for your name on search engines - employers, dates, random people on the web
  • It's great to be on the first few pages of results
    • If your name coincides with others, make sure your name is associated with something unique (e.g. location, title, experience, etc.)
    • Remember, be consistent! Your profile information should be the same in all areas (social media, website, resume) but each platform can be unique (Linkedin provides more details than your resume, website can showcase portfolio pieces)

main tips

  • Imagine that anything you post on the web is written on a public wall - there is a potential that someone will see it 
  • If you create any public profiles on the web, make sure:
    • You maintain it (outdated information leaves a bad impression)
    • You are aware of your privacy settings (hide what you don't want employers to see)
    • You have a purpose (e.g. Instagram for more personalized photos, Twitter for resource sharing)
  • Be genuine, mindful, considerate, and make sure you're presenting how you want others to view you (e.g. helpful, nature lover, etc.)


linkedin tips

  • Important in the professional world, similar to importance in the social world ("You don't have Facebook?!")
  • Update it! At the very least, have a good profile picture
  • Recruiters on Linkedin look at your profiles - you can be contacted for a job opportunity



Main section • Update your title (don't use defaults)
• Specify industry & contact info
Summary • What brought you to your field, important personality traits, your goals & a thank you
• You can add media - add documents, sites, and wouldn't fit in the rest of the sections (resume, websites)
Education • Add more detail than your resume provides such as highlights, grades, societies, etc.
• Unfortunately cannot add media items to Projects, so you could add them here if related to education (e.g. class work)



Experience, Organizations, Volunteer, Projects • Highlight skills, similar to resume - use action verbs
• Organize & separate - I use Experience for work, Organizations for student clubs, Volunteer for non-profits, Projects for school & hackathon projects
• Can add Media to: Summary, Education, Experience
• Cannot add Media to: Organizations, Volunteer, Projects (however can add links)



Skills & Endorsements • Highlight skills - use key words and common phrases that best match your skill
• People can endorse you - make sure you endorse them back (but use your discretion & be accurate)
Courses • Focus on relevant, senior-level courses
    ■ I recommend courses outside of the      
       required ones to complete your degree
    ■ Can highlight other skills from electives



Honors & Awards • Describe the award you received - highlight your achievements!
Additional Info • Interests: use keywords separated by commas
• Advice for Contacting: use your discretion
Groups & Following • Helpful for employers to learn about your interests 
    ■ Follow companies you're interested in 
       working for
Additional sections • Straightforward - share what you want to highlight your skills & knowledge



  • Primary source to get to know you, your work & showcase your web skills
  • Easily accessible & professional
  • Excellent way to showcase skills (building a site) and other portfolio items (school, client, pro-bono work) 
  • Advertise yourself and enact call-to-actions (hire me, contact me, etc.)

building websites

These are the building blocks of building a site:

  • Get a domain name (e.g.
    • Can get clever with custom TLDs (e.g.
  • Get a server to host your website (e.g. Dreamhost)
    • Understand what your needs are and what your users do. If a lot of users are coming to your site, you will need higher bandwidth and storage options
  • Create your website
    • Several different ways to go about this

How to build a website?

High level explanation - using different methods of website building techniques:

  • "Turnkey" websites
    • Easiest way to set up a site with a server and using a WYSIWYG editor, but restricted to templates and not as flexible to edit or have a custom domain
    • E.g. Google sites, Weebly, Wix, Strikingly, Squarespace
  • Web design software
    • No coding required, easier to create more sophisticated sites, but requires hosting & requires a program to edit
    • E.g. RapidWeaver, Adobe DreamWeaver

How to build a website?

  • Web Content Management
    • ​Style and content separated, edit using web interface, and skills extend to industry (WP is industry standard), but more complex to edit themes and backend, can be tricky to set up,
    • E.g. Drupal, Wordpress (requires database) or flat-based CMS like Kirby or Grav
  • Do it yourself
    • Full control over everything, but takes a lot of time
    • Can use HTML, CSS, Javascript, but utilize other libraries
      • SASS, Bootstrap or Foundation, JQuery, etc.

WHAT to include

Sites, need (at a minimum):

  • Front page: wow your audience, short blurb about yourself
  • About page: who you are, where you came from, what you do (could describe your education)
  • Skills: explain what you know (be creative here)
  • Contact: how to get in touch with you?

Optional, but useful:

  • Portfolio (showcase skills)
  • Testimonials from clients
  • Updated blog posts (can be personal, but extremely useful if you write technical posts)


Make it relevant to the jobs you want to get hired for - if you want to be a Software Developer, showcase your coding skills


  • Name (e.g. Personal Site)
  • Date Completed & Client
  • Your role
  • What it is (e.g. Wordpress site showcasing my skills)
  • How you did it + the process involved
  • What you're super proud of
  • Be visual: pics, videos, gifs
  • Links (code, final work, etc.)
  • Credit other people - do not steal work or claim it's yours



  • Directly showcases your work
    • Can explain your process, highlight work & results
  • Big companies want to see your work progress
    • Software engineers: GitHub or proof of your coding style & skills beneficial
    • Designers: Dribble, Behance to prove your skills
  • Archive of your work
    • When an employer asks for a portfolio, good to be prepared (otherwise may forget important details)
    • Sometimes things don't work record it while you have the chance


Why Social Media?

  • Great way to showcase skills, expertise & interests
    • Reveals more personal details & opinions
      • Again, be wary of privacy - reveal only what you want others to see
  • Excellent way to stay in the community & get in touch with others
    • Use each social media account carefully - you can post the same content but make it relevant for your followers


  • Be consistent
    • Reserve your username (try to be professional, can be unique and creative) on all social media channels
    • Keep the same name, picture, imagery, etc.
      • Keep a list of all your accounts
    • Write interesting & catchy summaries, headlines, and blurbs 
    • Connect with others - tag them, join communities or groups, etc.
    • Monitor when your name is mentioned & reply promptly


Branding tips

  • If you want to promote yourself or write something that the public can see, you have to keep in mind how you want to be represented
    • If you ever write something that's not professional then you may want to make it more private 
  • Be consistent - use the same profile picture, colors, and descriptions (you can use different phrases, but apply the same key words)
    • Carrie is a Computer Scientist who helps people, Helping people using Computer Science skills, etc.


business card tips

  • A business card is a way to give your contact information to others - potential clients, people you want to connect with, etc.
  • Make sure when you receive a business card to follow-up on it - contact the person in a reasonable amount of time
    • You can also write down a call to action/reason to help you remember what to write in your follow-up (e.g. met at a networking event and wanted to make a website with me)
  • Make it stylish - the key is to keep it clean and simple and not to use garish colors or typefaces

What to include

  • Name
  • Role
  • Website (personal, portfolios, social media accounts)
  • Contact information (email, phone number, etc.)



  • Slogan
  • Your picture
  • Double-sided to put more information


get more help from:




Professional Branding Tips

By Carrie Mah

Professional Branding Tips

Professional branding tips (resumes, online presence & branding) for Computer Science Undergraduate students at the University of Calgary. Can be helpful for programmers in general. Note: Lots of text in a presentation is bad! But this is a stand-alone resource and reference for students.

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