Three Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
2 Aug 19 by Jason Bishop
There was once a time when brand was a topic that only concerned organisations. Although, in recent years – particularly with the prominence of social media – impressing prospective employers has become much more than just having the perfect CV. With personal branding being such a key part of a tech professional’s toolbox, you don’t have to be an influencer, nor do you need to be head of a global organisation, to cultivate a personal brand that gains the attention of the people you want to reach. So, why not use it to your advantage? Here are three personal branding tips to get you started and further your tech career.
Think of Yourself as a Brand
When you think about some of the world’s most famous brands, you automatically associate them with specific qualities or traits. Apple is linked to lifestyle and innovation while Volvo conjures up images of safety and quality.
So, what do you want people to think when they hear or see your name? You may prefer to be known as someone who is great with people and a master at building relationships. Or perhaps you want your technical skills to shine, and be thought of as the “go to” person for a particular program or piece of software.
To determine your brand qualities, start by listing your strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to do a completely honest assessment because your personal brand needs to be an authentic reflection of your true self. Identify areas you want to improve in the future, projects where you’ve been recognised by colleagues or bosses and topics that you feel passionate about.
Once you have a strong understanding of what you want your personal brand to be, you can actively start promoting it to the right people. Remember, branding is all about positioning so it’s important that you demonstrate and reinforce your personal brand qualities and traits to your colleagues, clients and stakeholders whenever possible.
Harness Your Social Media Profiles
Social media has become an active tool in the recruitment process, with employers and recruiters using different platforms to source, attract and screen candidates. The question is – what would employers find if they Googled your name, right now? Can they find you easily? Have you clearly demonstrated your professional skills and experience? Is there any content that you would prefer not be publicly available?
Of course, this can be fixed by altering your privacy settings to suit, but you still need to consider the content you are posting. This includes platforms like Facebook and Instagram; although not always intended for professional use, prospective employers may still be able to see photos and comments you’ve shared with family and friends.
Once you’ve completed a general audit, have a fresh look at your LinkedIn profile. Do you have a professional photo? What about an up-to-date job history? Have you listed your key skills so that connections can endorse you? This can happen organically, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask your colleagues as well (those people you feel comfortable asking). You can then build out your profile by including additional training and courses you complete, volunteer activities, and a couple of recommendations from highly regarded connections in the industry.
While it’s important to cover the basics above, what else can you be doing to boost your online presence? From writing blogs/thought leadership pieces for your channels, to sharing valuable articles (whether that’s third party or a colleague’s) and posting about the industry events you’re attending, there is a range of things you can be doing that show your expertise and industry involvement. Setting social media goals, like posting to LinkedIn at least once a week, will help too.
Network, Network, Network
Promotion is key to building a strong personal brand and one of the best ways is networking within your professional community. Social media sites like LinkedIn are ideal for connecting with people and companies you’d like to work with in the future.
Joining relevant groups is an opportunity for ongoing professional development, and also a platform for establishing your own personal brand. Through active engagement in discussions and comments, you can demonstrate experience and capability while connecting with a broad range of professionals in your field. You may also uncover tech jobs and other opportunities that haven’t yet been broadly advertised through these networks.
Offline networking is also still important, because it gives you the chance to get in front of the right people physically. Keep your eye out for industry events, workshops and training where you can stay on top of trends and build your network. If you’d prefer something less formal, try local meetups.
Like all branding, your personal brand is all about authenticity so it’s important to be yourself, be human and engage with people in a way that reflects your style and personality. Building a personal brand is not an overnight exercise. It’s something you’ll have to keep working at and that will grow and develop with time.
If you need more advice on the importance of personal branding, or if you’re looking for help with your next move, contact the team at Sourced.