Building your personal brand

Whether you are looking for a job, pushing for a promotion, trying to start your own company, or looking for a date to your sister’s wedding, building your personal brand can be of great help. This week’s blog can help you with the above three listed professional goals. Regarding your sister’s wedding, you’re on your own.

Your personal professional brand is your reputation in the workplace. Do they like you? Do they respect you? Do they think you’re honest, ethical, hard working, and so on? A second aspect of your professional brand is your accomplishments and credentials. Let’s talk about them both.

[6 Personal Branding Mistakes That Can Threaten A Job Search and Job Search: Personal Branding Tactics That Scream 'Hire Me!']

You build a quality reputation by trying your best, being helpful, and treating people with respect. From a knowledge and technical perspective, it means being very good at what you do. For example, if you are a Java developer, be the best Java developer you can be. By best, I don’t just mean trying hard. Being your best also means keeping up on the latest technology upgrades, trends, products, vendors, techniques, and methodologies in your professional area. Lastly, it means sharing this knowledge with those you work with. It’s this combination of deep knowledge and a willingness to share that transforms you from just a programmer, using the Java example, to a thought leader.

Regarding your professional credentials, they can be categorized in the following ways:

  • Business accomplishments
  • Educational credentials and certifications
  • Industry activism

Your business accomplishments can be accumulated by doing your job well and keeping a list of your successes. In the IT area, this tends to be easier than in professions that are less project oriented. Each time you finish a project, it adds to your accomplishments list. These accomplishments can be put on your resume, used as a stepping stone to greater responsibility, or even to talk about at a party, sound interesting, and actually get a date for sister’s wedding. Sorry, just kidding, but it was too good to resist.

Your educational credentials and certifications can be achieved through hard work and a willingness to spend the time and money to learn new things, get that advanced degree, or pass a certification exam. There is no mystery here, the time, the money, and a personal situation that allows you to invest your time and money in your future. By the way, this last one is a lot harder than it sounds.

Regarding industry activism, I mean you your professional status outside of your job and within your industry. Have you been quoted in IT World, did you have an article published in Computerworld, did you write a book, or were you asked to speak at an important industry conference? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are on your way.

Most people think about the first three categories, namely professional reputation, business accomplishments, and educational/certification based credentials. All of these items are very important and cannot overemphasized. Very few people, however, try to grow professionally through industry activism. In addition to great bragging rights in an interview, it can open unexpected doors via the people you meet, the people who read your article, the things you will learn, and other related and unforeseen opportunities.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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