Have you ever wondered why a normal looking tee or a plain looking sneaker cost 10x more than it should? The answer is because of the brand logo on the product and well-known brands has high perceived value by consumers.
Similarly, your personal brand defines your professional worth in the public eyes.
So, what is personal branding?
Personal branding is a unique combination of your experience, expertise, and personality that you want to promote to others. How is it different from a resume or cover letter? By creating a personal brand, you’ll be able to communicate what you can’t show in just a piece of paper. You’ll be able to tell your personal story, voice your values, and make others see more in you and not just your skills.
But, why personal branding is important for software developers?
Of course, essential hard skills and industry knowledge are factors that overtakes personal branding in terms of how good a software developer you are. But, did you know that personal branding can impact how successful your career as a software developer is?
In this article, we discuss why you need a personal brand and outline of some simple steps on how you can build your own.
Why you need a personal brand?
Build trust & confidence
A resume and cover letter doesn’t tell the full story, and recruiters now run background checks on their candidates by checking out their online presence. That’s why it's becoming even more important to build their trust and confidence through your personal brand.
When you create a personal brand, you’re showcasing your own unique value to your network that others will appreciate. People tend to trust others more when they find that they’re relatable, so you’ll easily gain trust by just telling your personal stories through your personal brand. Showcasing your expertise can help you build credibility, especially if your followers grow to love you and your work.
Stand out from your peers
The competition to stand out these days is becoming increasingly intense. You may have the software development skills that you believe give you that trust and credibility, but now anyone can learn software development even without formal educational background. It's no longer enough to just rely on your hard skills and experience to gain an edge over your peers.
Don’t standby and just become another carbon copy of someone with a good resume as a software developer. Become the best candidate out there and outshine your peers by crafting your own personal brand. Building a strong personal brand will let you tell a story which is uniquely yours, that your peers will not able to copy.
Attract clients & opportunities
Once you have a personal brand, you’ll find that you won’t be the one actively pursuing jobs. Instead, an abundance of opportunities will come flocking to you. With a personal brand, gone are the days where you’re sitting around waiting for that client to get back to you or anxiously checking you phone to pick up that call from the hiring manager.
This is because growing a personal brand allows you to have that online network and clout that lets people know who you are and why you’re good at what you do. If you focus your personal brand around your expertise and promise to deliver value, you’re bound to have potential opportunities coming your way. Remember to choose your opportunities wisely and build a strong portfolio that will boost your hiring chances.
How can I build my own personal brand?
Develop your own brand identity
This is the most crucial stage of building your personal brand, and definitely the hardest. Develop a personal brand identity by having a solid foundation of the persona you want to portray. Take into account internal factors such as your personal values, area of expertise, and what you want to achieve by having a personal brand. Next, take into consideration external values such as the audience you want to attract and what you can deliver for them.
Slowly build a brand identity and strike a balance between what you want to show and what others can appreciate from you. Don’t overpromise and project an exaggerated persona that people can tell is not you right off the bat. Portraying a fake version of yourself may cause you to face backlash down the road.
Have a content strategy
Don’t be intimidated by the words “content strategy”, as its core concept is really simple if you’re developing one for your personal brand. To put simply, a content strategy refers to what type of content you’re going to post and where you’re going to post it.
Consider your strengths and field of expertise and build content around that. It’s easiest to make content on topics that you love, so talk about what you’re passionate about. Your content could talk about your projects, any tips and tricks you have in software development, or even your personal life. Start with something you would want to be known for and build on your content from there.
Keep in mind that all the content you put out should be consistent with the personality you’re portraying. If you’re really serious about your content strategy, you can even set up goals that you’re looking to achieve and track the success of your content by checking out some performance metrics.
Leverage social media platforms
Social media platforms will kickstart your personal brand, so be sure to leverage on your socials. Identify which social media platform your intended audience would be active on and be present on those platforms. Github’s a great platform where you’ll meet lots of techies, and LinkedIn is a platform you can consider if you’re looking for job opportunities. Other platforms you could consider include Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.
The difficult part of having a personal brand on social media is being consistently active. The more active you are on social media platforms, the more likely the algorithm will push your content to your followers. Be sure to consistently post and interact with others through likes, shares, and comments. Engaging with others in your community could also help you build a valuable online network.
Be active in techie communities
Being active in online communities is not limited to just posting on your social media. There are other communities that techies like yourself love to visit, like blogging platforms such as HackerNoon and Medium. There are also a lot of strong techie communities out there with dedicated social network sites for programmers, such as StackOverflow and HackerTrail.
Other ways that you can be active from the tech community aside from social sites is by participating in tech talks, hackathons, or contributing to open-source projects. Not only would you get to share your expertise, but you’ll also gain some valuable knowledge from your peers. Get your name out there and collaborate with others to build strong, valuable relationships.
When building your personal brand, remember the most important thing is to be authentic and showcase who you truly are. Although creating a personal brand may be daunting and confusing, here’s a final tip from us – start from yourself.
By staying true to yourself and building your own voice, you’re bound to have attract authentic followers who are truly invested in your content. The most valuable and fulfilling aspect of building a personal brand is the connections you’ll make along the way.