Hello world, I’m a developer, and I don’t have anything to share with you.
Does it sound familiar to you? Tech profiles don’t usually like social media or writing blog posts.
Ok, this is not a 100% correct statement. However, some IT people, defined as geeks, prefer to be unnoticed. Why? Because of its personality. Because it is more straightforward to become unseen. To avoid conflict. Because it is annoying. Because being on social media requires time. Because what they want is to write code.
I work every day with great IT professionals that get unnoticed because they see no need to work in another way. Here are my thoughts in order to convince you so you see personal branding as something benefitial for you.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is not selling yourself.
Personal branding is not saying untruthful things about yourself.
Personal branding is not about inventing a superhero.
There are 2 statements about personal branding that I love. The first one is:
«Personal branding is not what you do for yourself. Personal branding is what you do for others.»
Are you a community person? Are you a consumer or a supporter? If you usually contribute to IT communities, you’ve already started building your personal branding. People already know your name (or nickname).
Contributing to communities, speaking at conferences, writing a blog, or being active on social media are ways to build your personal branding.
And Jeff Bezos said the other one:
«Personal branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.»
As I said before, personal branding isn’t just built online. Working offline is really important. Conferences are not the only way to develop your personal branding. In fact, you’re every day working with a team in a company. Your colleagues already have an opinion about you. What they are currently saying is your personal brand right now.
Do I have a personal brand now?
Yes. As we work in teams, we are already projecting a personal brand. People are already talking about us. But not only them.
Do you want to do an easy exercise to know your current personal brand? It is called Ego-Surfing.
Open your browser and type your name. This is what recruiters and future bosses do before contacting you. And this is the image they have about you. Is it real? Are there any images that you feel ashamed of?
When we are teenagers, we don’t care a lot about some images that our colleagues and friends upload about us. However, when we start working in the real world we need to project a professional image. Having a professional image doesn’t mean to seem dull. We don’t have to make up the «ideal» image about ourselves. We have to be authentic. Without authenticity, it will be really complicated to maintain our personal brand.
Why do I need to have a Personal Brand?
If you’re already projecting a personal brand, you may be thinking that it is not vital to work on it. Why should I make any effort if people already have an image of me?
Sometimes we project something that we may not be 100% proud of. Or sometimes, we may like to pitch something different, depending on our future objectives. I recommend you to realize a second exercise to check if what you’re projecting is what you want. Follow these steps:
- Think of five people whom you have been close to in a personal or a professional way.
- Send them a polite email asking for:
- Three positive aspects of you
- Three elements that they think you could improve in
- Remind them to answer this email since it’s crucial for you.
Once you have your answers, you can analyze them and conclude if the image that you’re projecting right now is the image that you want the others to have about you. If you’d like to improve or change the image people have about you because it’s not who you are, I recommend you to continue reading 🙂
How to build a personal brand?
With the 3D method Discovering yourself, Defining the message, and Delivering the message. To build your personal brand, these are the main steps you can follow:
Find out what are your attributes, critical skills, and competencies that make you stand out and deliver a unique experience.
Discovering yourself is tough. When we analyze ourselves, sometimes we find out parts of us that we’re not proud of. Accept them. They are part of us. And don’t forget to potentiate those that make you stand out.
Be focused on defining your professional goals, your message (pitch), the audience (who do you want to communicate with: recruiters, colleagues, or juniors?), and channels of communication.
It’s indispensable to discover who you are and to define what you want professionally (and personally) to deliver the right message. To do so, concentrate on planning the cohesive exposure for your brand. Plan also your career goals. And share the information you defined on the channels of communication you previously selected.
I do recommend you not to skip any of these three steps. And especially, don’t start by the last one, by delivering the message. If you begin by providing information that is not who you really are, you’ll be projecting again an image about yourself that will not be true.
Why do I need to be an active sharer?
The truth is that in a digital world where there is a lack of people to work in IT jobs, we need access to technical knowledge. Besides, in this situation, we don’t only need access to knowledge. What we also need is to inspire others to become coders and developers.
Don’t share just for share. Share to inspire others. Share knowledge to attract more talent to our sector. As someone said, «personal branding is not what we do for ourselves; it’s what we do for others». Working as a developer, you are learning and facing new challenges every day. So, you have a lot to share.
What do you share to inspire others?