Do you remember a time when you had to talk about your accomplishments to impress someone you were meeting for the first time for a job or opportunity?
Were you successful at impressing him/her? Will he/she recommend you to another recruiter whenever there is a job requiring your competence?
Do you have a personal brand? Do you recognize that self-branding is a continuous journey?
For tech career skills today, let’s delve into self-branding.
What Is Self-Branding?
Self-branding, self-promotion, or personal branding is how individuals market themselves to create a public image of their skills, knowledge, values, and overall reputation. It involves but is not limited to finding your uniqueness and allowing yourself to be known for them.
Impact of Culture on Self Promotion
We can not talk about self-branding without recognizing the impact of culture on our ability to talk about our accomplishments through online media and during general networking.
Culture has a powerful influence on your perception of self-branding. For example, we are encouraged to be humble in our African communities and not praise ourselves or talk about our accomplishments but let others do so for us. In effect, most people become modest to a fault. It is noteworthy that the relationship between branding and culture is not mutually exclusive. Brands can also affect culture- brands can affect behavior, disrupt industries, and create their movements. Hence, we need to reframe perception on self-promotion and recognize that self-promotion is not a negative phrase.
Benefits of Self branding
Allows You Show Your Personality Easily
Creating a personal brand makes it easier to showcase your values and share your story with others. This makes you more confident of yourself and makes it easier for you to ‘sell’ yourself.
Makes You Memorable To Your Audience
Self-branding, in essence, is a form of storytelling as it allows you to share your experiences, journey and ideas. Stories have a way of leaving great impressions on listeners. Indeed, everyone has a story, and as Robert Mc Kee puts it right, ‘Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.’
Do you have an idea in your mind? Do you want to be remembered by people you network with? Why not show them who you are as a unique individual?
Makes You More Relatable To Others
In personal branding, instead of marketing products, you market yourself. It allows you showcase yourself as an expert in your field or whatever you do and makes you the ‘go-to-person when services or products you offer are needed.
A Way To Minimize Imposter Syndrome
Do you know that high-achieving people are disproportionally affected by imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved due to one’s efforts or skills. Personal branding, in effect, allows one to consciously think about one’s achievements, skilled development, and the values that have helped shaped one’s success. This helps exude a sense of self-confidence.
A person’s confidence, personal values, and more are showcased in the brand one creates. Having a good self-brand will increase the trust of your customers and your network as it sets you apart. It generates credibility, increases your influence, and increases your authenticity.
Strategies to Create And maintain Your Brand
Self Knowledge and Awareness
The key to Self-branding is authenticity. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and what you value will allow you to recognize and appreciate your uniqueness as an individual. Do you really know who you are and what you have to offer? Here are a few questions to further help you know yourself better
- How am I?
- What am I known for?
- What do I want to be known for?
- How do you want to show your magic to the world?
- What do I want people to say about my personality, work ethics, business et cetra
- What kind of reputation do I want?
- What do others say comes to mind the moment my name is mentioned?
Technical expertise And Skills
Building a self-brand is not like a pleasant walk to the park. You will most often need to learn specific new skills to attract a certain kind of audience. This will show people what you have to offer or what problems your skills can solve for them.
Are you good at critical thinking and analysis, innovation, teamwork, leadership or other skills?
Do you have specific tech skills in machining, Computer-Aided designs(CAD), Data collection and analysis, Electronic equipment maintenance, Direct construction activities, and equipment upkeep, programming, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity? You are your asset and should sell these skills because everyone has the chance to create and have a brand just like the big companies we know of.
Who Is Your Audience?
In creating and maintaining a personal brand, it is good to know your audience and their cultural context on social media or the internet and the network you get to engage with face-to-face. One skill necessary for success at this is code-switching, which involves switching the way you talk, act, and interact with others when necessary. What are you already known for on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms? Is it consistent with how you want people to perceive you or what you have to offer?
This does not suggest you should not have fun on social media, but you can have fun while still maintaining your brand. The bottom line is, know your audience and code-switch accordingly, as this will make you more relatable to them.
Choose Your Channel
In addition to your network, consider channels like LinkedIn, Quora, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Subreddits, Medium, YouTube, Snapchat et cetra. These social media platforms each have a unique offering and provide avenues for self-branding when used strategically.
Reasearch, Research and Research
The importance of research can never be understated. Your approach to personal branding ought to be strategic and creative. Constant research and information-seeking in general in an area of interest of career or job you are interested in will help you effectively make decisions, acquire the necessary skills, and overall, place you in a better position for success.
In conclusion, the internet offers limitless opportunities for career and personal growth. Reframing your views on personal branding, building a good relationship with our network, and using the internet appropriately, amongst others, will help you take advantage of some of these opportunities. Why then should you be afraid to ‘sell’ yourself?
Remember there is an assert called You.