We are always behind the screen, having the minimum interaction with the world, right? "So, why do we need to care about our presence?" Well... if you think you have more than a pretty code to show to the world, this guide is what you're looking for.
Your Personal Brand is the way you have to tell a stranger who you are. That first impression we are always talking about, that is our brand. So, everyone has a personal brand, the difference is that some of us consciously design that impression.
"Good enough, but why should I care about what others think of me?". The idea behind Personal Branding is to expose to the world why you are the best option for whatever they are considering you: your dream job, the project you want to lead, or even getting a date with your crush. You don't know what people are considering, but you know what you want them to see.
Now that you have realized the importance of your brand. Let's own it!
No, I'm not referring to those values your primary school teacher talked about. We want to define what we want to be known for. An example could be: "I want to be known for my assertiveness, generosity, security, and expertise".
I recommend that you chose four values at most. It can get complicated if you are figuring out how to meet many adjectives. It's up to you, there are only correct answers for this step. Below is a table where you can get inspiration.
Table extracted from mindtools.com
Now that you have an idea of what values you want people to see in you, you may think that Personal Brand is all about pretending. I think is more about "Fake it till you make it".
Personal branding is about exposing the best versión of you, and in some cases, you are not there yet. There is nothing wrong with that, but you will have to work on yourself to meet the expectation. That is another plus of designing your brand, you end up designing who you want to be.
Nowadays, the first impressions are not only made when meeting someone in person. Some of them are going to hear about you online, like you are meeting me now! So, we have to take care of all the roads that people could follow to know who you are.
As developers, a great part of our lives happens online. We meet many people on the web, and we need to make a great digital impression. For most people, you are your digital presence.
The first idea you got on your mind, "social networks", let's start there. In my opinion, there are two types of networks: Personal and Professionals.
The first ones are networks like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Here you are exposing your opinion and your day to day life. So, you should be exposing your core values, and be coherent with them in your interactions. If you choose to be friendly, then you should be friendly with everyone on that network. Just ask yourself before posting: Is this content representative of my values?
We all have that old profile in a network we don't use anymore. What impression a stranger will have if they see it? They don't know that it is an old profile, they just found it and picture you that way.
Choose the networks you want to take care of and delete the ones you don't use anymore. The fewer roads we have, the better we can consistently maintain the brand.
People use these networks to get to know your professional self. They are looking for your professional achievements, career, and even what other people think of you as a team member. These are social networks like LinkedIn, Meetup, or Xing.
You should keep your interactions consistently with your core values. This is the key to effectively communicate your brand. Also, you want to filter the information on these sites taking into consideration what is the next step you want your career to have.
For example, if you want a job as a React developer, then you should give more exposure to your experience in this library.
For those of you who want to take a step further in your online presence, the next level is a personal website. People should be able to find all the information you want them to know about you just by googling your name.
My recommendation is to keep it simple: a page with your elevator pitch, a contact page with a form to send you an email, a portfolio with the same information as your professional's networks, and a blog where you can share your opinions.
"Wait, who said anything about writing?" Yeah, I know it could get hard to write consistently, but writing is the most powerful way someone has to know how you think. You can write about anything you want. You have a great opportunity for each post to reinforce your values and to express them to the readers.
I write articles about the topics I'm learning weakly. This helps me to consolidate the things I learned. If you want to know more about that, you can read my article: An Effective Strategy for Better Learning.
This is the most simple one to manage. You only have to stick your actions to your values. If you want to be a disciplined person, you just have to be disciplined. There is no need to tell people about it, they will see it as soon as they start to know you.
Sometimes, it can get hard to stick to values that we are improving, but the whole idea is to be a better versión of yourself every day.
People who already have an impression of you will start to change it as you start to change yourself. Opinions are not written in stone.
Hope this article helps you get a little close to your goals and I will love to hear about your thought on this topic.
Thanks for reading! 😬