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Cover image for 💜 Personal Branding - For Your Career 💼

💜 Personal Branding - For Your Career 💼

nialljoemaher profile image Niall Maher ・5 min read

Personal branding does the same job for a person as branding for the companies. The brand of a company echoes its actions, services, and reputation. The companies stand out from their competition through their brand awareness, consequently increase their sales and business. Personal branding does the same for professionals. They have their own experiences, visions, skills, and stories to tell.

How far can a personal brand go? Somebody I look at when I think of a personal brand more than anyone is Elon Musk. He built himself as an Entrepreneur/Genius by building brands and businesses like Tesla Motors, PayPal and SpaceX. His brand could sell nearly anything (as we have seen from his “Not a Flamethrower” sales to fund his Boring Company). He has even managed to portray himself in on-screen cameos such as in The Simpsons, Iron Man 2 and Rick and Morty (well I guess that was Elon Tusk), to name a few.

Every professional has stories to tell about his expertise, and personal branding is the best way to tell those stories to professional clients even if they don’t ask for it. With digital technology, your brand is not an extravagance but an inevitability. Similar to corporate branding, personal branding shows your values and builds a unique professional identity and value to the potential employers or clients.
Personal branding plays a vital role to launch and boost your career. The personal brand shows a clear picture of your strengths and experiences, so it builds trust and communicates your capabilities to the industry. A study shows that hiring authorities report the significant influence of the personal brand during the hiring of candidates.

Why is a personal brand important for your career?

A personal brand inputs trust in an individual by explaining who a person is and what are their capabilities. In other words, it inspires and encourages people for success. A recently published survey shows that the more you build your brand, the more you feel contended to your work. The personal brand makes your vision clear to yourself and your employers.
It creates your contacts in the field of your specialities. Personal branding is not limited to the digital world, and it will go beyond through your reputation. Once you built enough your brand, people will feel comfortable to exchange business cards with you. You will get more exposure and inevitable to speak. Your leads start to intensify and eventually, your career and clients.

Credibility is vital in growing career and clients. Your brand builds it for you by developing your authentic visibility in the industry. It helps you in establishing your name as a specialist in your field. Moreover, it robust your professional impressions which bring admiration, esteem, and faith in the mind of your employers with your name.

Personal branding develops confidence in you. Public sharing of your experience and qualities generate positive energy in you. It motivates you, and it ascends your self-esteem when you look that people are trusting your brand. This means that you will have a deep connection with your clients and employers. Your branding can sperate you from the list of your competitors (remember your competitors might be other job seekers and not businesses). The more you build your brand, the more you have a competitive edge on others. And the time will come when you have no longer convince your clients or potential employers that you the person they want.

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Tips for developing your brand

To get started with your brand, the first thing you need is to figure out yourself. Your brand needs to reflect who you are. Try to be introspective and list down your qualities, passion and even the weaknesses. Like which expertise do you have and among them which are the ones you like most. Note the types of work in your job, which keeps you motivated in your career. Think about the compliments made by others on your work. These are the jobs which you do best. Think about the projects which you loved the most, the ones that left you without feeling overwhelmed or tired. It may be useful to think of the negative experiences too so you can avoid them. Get the opinion from some closed ones like family friends and colleagues. So, you must know yourself before you brand yourself.

Don’t be too specific in building your brand. Chose a niche that does not limit you in a particular field. For me, that niche was JavaScript, but I recently started bringing in product management into my brand as my career is evolving. Choose an open niche within your expertise and let it change itself time as your career grows. Your brand should be like today’s reflection and your future’s roadmap. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses for their role in your current job and future industry. Find out the skills which make you distinct in your industry, and those which require farther improvement.

After finding yourself, the next part is finding your audience. Decide who you are trying to reach. Think about the level of are the audience as if they are just recruiters and clients or if they also include leaders of organisations. It will help you craft a story according to your goals. Also, choose the platform according to your audience. For instance, if you are developing your brand to reach the managers and recruiters, go for a LinkedIn profile. If you want to be heard by some leaders and clients on search engines, get a personal website for you.
Get the idea of branding from the people in your industry who had already established theirs. Compile research on those leaders like if they have their blogs and website and how they are reaching out to their audience. Don’t copy, examine them and come up with a better brand. Your goal is to stand out not to stand with them. So, use their strategies, modify them and create a better one for yourself.

Just like selling some product, your brand is used for marketing your skills. Think it in that way, prepare an elevator pitch describing your story in a minute or less. Use it in some networking events and parties to introduce yourself. Do not just grow your followers but also keep them engaged. A study shows that more than 80% of recruiters find their candidates through networking. So, attending networking events regularly and effectively, worth a lot.

Always ask for recommendations from your clients, managers, and colleagues. And show the testimonials in your branding. Just like the customers’ reviews, endorsements play a significant role in growing your brand. Just think of the last purchase you were comfortable buying after seeing all of the glowing reviews?

I am still in very early stages of working on my brand and experimenting all of the time on ways to “hack” the process to grow a little faster. For me, the best thing I have done was to actually speak at MeetUps, organise events, help people in the industry and take most of my actions offline (I know, I forgot that was a real option too). But my best clients, jobs and connections have 90% to things I do offline.

Do you have any personal branding tricks that helped you increase your business as a freelancer or made you stand out from the crowd?


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Niall Maher

@nialljoemaher

Owner @ Codú, JavaScript Developer, mentor and a lifelong learner. Tweet @nialljoemaher

Discussion

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Great post, Niall, as always!

I was wondering what's your idea behind using your own name vs Codu?
I see that Codu's a community you're building, but at many places(Twitter, Dev.To) you're using a personal name.

 

Códú is Irish for coding hence the naming, I dropped one of the accents because I know people have a hard time with one. 😂

Codú is my businesses name which is basically just me (for now) and I will hopefully grow it.

The Codú Community comes from a MeetUp I run because honestly, I think YouTube and these MeetUps are only as good as the community we can foster. I'm also hoping to have a lot more guests and things soon so would definitely not leave it in a position of the "Niall Maher" show.

So long story short, Codú is my business and I also want to get the chance to let that grow even if it at some point is without me.

I don't know if that's made things more or less confusing. 🤔

 

It makes total sense. Thank you for a thorough reply!

I'm having similar thoughts regarding DeveloperHabits and have been wondering how and what to focus on, which one to brand more.

But as a person, there's only one of you and sometimes you may want to jump to other areas(eg you with Javascript and product management). Your brand, on the other hand, can later grow without you, while staying true to its initial theme.

Exactly, I'm hoping I can boost Codú and any other companies I'm working with personally as well as have them prop me up a little too. 😁

 

To me, personal branding is becoming a specialist vs a doctor who has a general practice. Spending time and effort in building your personal brand. Allows you to charge a specialist rate that is specific to your niche you are in without much issues from your customers.

Whereas a general practising doctor has to take on everyone to get paid and may not be perceived as knowledgeable than a specialist who had been working hard on their niche. Which the customer might question everything that you say.

 

Depends, unfortunately as a small business owner you kind of need to be a generalist too. But for paving your path in a career, a specialist is always the smart route. 💜

 

Yeah, i agree as you should always focus on building a system and have someone take over your various process to make it work. E-Myth outlines it perfecting on the mental shift from a developer to the system builder instead of being a specialist that is constantly doing the work.

 

I think this topic is relevant now more than ever. As more companies were forced to let people work from home, it means physical presence near an office location is no longer a requirement for hiring. In turn, this opens up access to the global market and you might find yourself suddenly competing with people from all over the world, even from places where the cost of living is lower, meaning they can afford to take lower pay than you (I'm looking at you Silicon Valley). So you need to stand out from the crowd and a personal brand can help you with that.

I think there are TWO very important things to do if you decide to walk this path. The first one is AUTHENTICITY. Be yourself. Be the person you are building yourself to be. Don't do any of that "fake it till you make it" stuff.

The second most important thing a developer can do to improve their personal brand is to build and maintain their own website. Social media and even platforms like DEV are effectively rented land. We are all using them at the sufferance of the people or companies who own those platforms. By all means, use them to engage with other people and to promote your content, services, or products. But what are you going to do if your only presence is on these places and your access to them is cut?

On the other hand, not everyone needs to do build a personal brand. If you're happy with your current situation and your job security is relatively safe (as much as that can happen nowadays) then perhaps you don't need this. But I think it pays to think ahead and consider what would you do if, suddenly, you are forced to look for a different workplace.

I've also had people tell me that building a personal brand instead of focusing on advancing your career inside your company is a sure way to shoot yourself in the foot. I don't know what the details are in such situations. I don't know what their priorities and circumstances are. There are ways to build your personal brand and use that to advance inside your company. It just takes a bit more effort, attention, and consideration. And, most of all, the values of the company must align with your personal values.

There's a lot more I would want to say on the topic, but I can't do it all in a comment. I also recently wrote an article on personal branding on developers, where I'm touching the points I've mentioned above. It's also here on DEV and it's named How to Boost Your Developer Career with a Personal Brand. I hope you will find it interesting.

In the end, I hope more and more developers get interested in developing (pun intended 😉) their personal brand and to discuss the various aspects of the process. There is no silver bullet solution, but you might find something in other people's stories that will work for you and you can adapt for yourself.

 

I think it definitely is a reflective piece of work that helps you plan a little for the future. You can at least set your eyes on a goal and build yourself accordingly.

Nice, your content is always golden too! Thanks for sharing this it's really useful and anyone that stumbled upon this article should definitely look at yours too for an even more detailed article. 💜

 

Oh, yeah! Such a cool post.

I would add that personal brand should NOT reflect, it MUST be a projection of you (to stay saint). It's a small wording game, but I want it to leave here.

I've used these corona-times to strengthen my vision. I want my brand to be connected with the value of authenticity, awareness & mindfulness. Then go practical using those value for a perspective.

Also, it is extremely calming to define your personal brand, because it is an indicator of having a direction, focus and settled priorities. Which can give you quality over time because you have defined the main direction your personal brand represents.

Check out my website, I've change the design to reflect MY brand! I am happy with it!
blog.swingpulse.com

Also I would took my opportunity to join my group where I would share practical side of being mindful (productivity, health, focus, etc):
FB Group

^_^

 

Agreed totally! This is awesome that you have a group too just for this. 💜 I'll have to join. 😁

 

Let's join! I've schedule cool stuff to post there.

The first post would be about creating personal slogans and how to navigate your mental state and productivity via them.

^_^

 

Loved this Niall!

 

Thanks Danny! 💜

 

Thank you for your insights! :)

I took several notes, cause I finally wanted to start the same (someday in this year... I'm procrastinating a lot on those topics .__.)

 

One bite at a time, start one thing this week and so on, I didn't do this in 1 day, it's been years of trial and error now. 💜

 

This was such a diamond text. I read it really carefully, and learned a lot of interesting things!

 

Glad you found it helpful! 😁💜

 

Great article Niall.

I feel more motivated to finish my own personal brand.

Your post came at the right moment.

 

It's never finished but definitely focusing is never bad. I'm constantly iterating to create something I am happy with. 💜

 

Great Read:)

 

Thanks! 💜