It’s no secret the technology industry attracts some of the best and most creative talent in the world. This makes it an increasingly competitive sector to work in and if you’re not forthcoming about the great work you’re doing, you might quickly get lost in the crowd of other techies.
Some talented people think that by doing a good job they’ll get the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case in the workplace. One way of helping you progress in your career and stand out is by developing a personal brand.
Personal branding isn’t something that’s taught in school and is something that’s often overlooked. However, it’s an essential approach that’s really helped drive many careers.
Luckily, it’s not a complicated concept – but it can have big outcomes. Much like building a house, you have to first start by getting the foundation in place. This is where you establish the direction you want to go in and what you want to achieve.
Next, you start bricklaying – whereby you understand who you are and select three things you want to be known for – to continuously build them up.
Of course, you can’t forget the windows – they allow you to see out. This means it is necessary to regularly reflect on yourself and your progression.
Last, comes the roof. This is where you think about how you present your work to people. It’s no longer just having great achievements and doing well – it’s making sure the people that matter – such as your boss and clients – know about it.
Here are four tips for getting started and nailing your personal brand.
1. Get your foundation in place
Do you know where you want to be in five years’ time? Alarmingly a lot of people don’t. Working in the fast-paced world of technology, it’s easy to think in the moment and not give too much thought to life later down the line.
Yet without planning where you want to be in the future, how can you expect to ever get there? You need to invest in your future and career by giving it some serious thought. No one else will do it for you.
2. Mixing the cement
Once the foundation is set, select three things you want to be known for. Your personal brand ‘bricks’ – if you like – that you will continue to lay and build on.
Start by thinking what differentiates you from everyone else, don’t just opt for values that you think sound good. Most importantly of all, they need to be authentic.
For instance, if you want to be known as ‘the doer’, or the ‘closer’ don’t just start declaring yourself as that. Actions speak louder than words. You need to show people you are and prove it to them.
One simple way of doing this is aiming to go to every meeting and show what you bring to the project at hand. This means no more shrinking in them – you won’t get that recognition as someone who has their act together otherwise. And remember, persistence is key here – studies reckon it takes people five to seven times to remember a brand. So, keep it up!
One example of a techie who has built a solid personal brand for herself is the computer scientist and academic, Dr Sue Black. She campaigned to save Bletchley Park – home of the World War Two codebreaker and now The National College of Cybersecurity – building a following of supporters and making a real change. She was genuinely passionate about it and people bought into that.
3. Get those windows shining
When you’ve started to make good headway on building your personal brand, it’s important to take the time to reflect. Taking 15 minutes one evening to think about how you think your personal brand is developing, would be a good example.
Be critical on what you’ve chosen to be known for and if they are right for you. And don’t be afraid to tweak and edit these, I learn different things about myself each day and as we grow older our values shift and change, so you need to be flexible.
4. Time for tiling
The roof is the final piece of the personal branding puzzle. Once you’re ‘tiling your roof’ you’re at a stage where your personal brand is established and you’re now starting to shout about the fantastic work you’re doing and getting yourself known in the industry. Success!
This could be authoritative, engaging or concise. Whatever suits your overall personal brand. However, like a roof needs regular cleaning and upkeep. Don’t get complacent, personal branding is all about consistency.
The personal benefits are clear. However, why should companies be incentivised to encourage their employees to establish personal brands? It might, after all, lead to a top headhunter spotting and poaching your top talent.
The answer is you absolutely invest – otherwise your top talent will leave anyway. Plus there are many studies highlighting the ROI personal branding generates for companies.
For instance, employees at companies that invest in personal branding are 27% more likely to feel optimistic about the company’s future. This is also why many organisations encourage their employees to share news via their personal social media feeds. In fact, doing this results in the message getting 561% more reach, as most individuals have significantly more followers than the brands do.
It doesn’t take much to get started, as mentioned, it all starts with a plan. Once you have that in place you’re good to go and the rest will follow.
Sourced by Emma Maslen, Senior Regional Director at Concur
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