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How to boost your personal brand as an IT professional

Seven steps to help you build a personal brand in the workplace, articulate the value you provide and build your professional reputation

Increased diversification of the IT sector and threats from automation mean IT professionals need something more than their technical skills to survive in a fast-changing workplace.

One of the challenges IT professionals face is the inability to articulate the value of IT, and the value of their own personal contributions in ways that make sense to the rest of the business.

Traditional IT roles are evolving with Digital transformation and IT professionals need new skills to help them adopt more customer-centric roles.

In a survey conducted by Dimensional Research for Tripwire, a global provider of security and compliance solutions for enterprises, 72% of participants said the need for soft skills had increased over the past two years. Another 21% went so far as to say that soft skills were more important than technical skills for their security teams. Good communication is one of the top three skills needed.

Whether you are a CIO, a project manager or a consultant, you need to be able to articulate the value you provide to build credibility. This is what personal branding will do for you.

To become a recognised thought leader, you need to be visible and recognised as a trusted authority in your field. And to be visible, you need to be distinct, have a unique perspective on issues that matter to inspire people to buy into your ideas and join forces with you.

Here are seven steps to building your personal brand within and outside your organisation:

  1. Be clear about your goals: Know what you want to achieve and what you want to be known for.
  2. Identify your core value and competencies: And check their alignment with your organisation.
  3. Be customer-centric: Ask your stakeholders what they want – don’t assume that you know in advance.
  4. Add value: Create a mission statement with a clear sentence that states why you are in the company and deliver value consistently against that. Show tangible results.
  5. Polish your image: Develop your credibility by sharing knowledge. Offer to train people, be helpful and manage your reputation. If something goes wrong, admit your error and work hard to rebuild trust.
  6. Communication: Create a plan of how you will communicate internally and externally. Don’t use jargon – use a language your stakeholders understand. Provide updates on what you are doing and share your goals and ambitions with your boss. Be known outside your company for your expertise. Write a blog where you share your perspective or write on LinkedIn or Medium. Offer to speak at industry events or to be the spokesperson on certain topics.
  7. Leadership: Develop your personal brand as an all-round leader and move away from being only tech savvy. Inspire and encourage your team to excel and build your network actively, not just when you need them, and be helpful. Praise other people and shine the light on them.

Building an influential brand needs a certain mindset and consistency, but the rewards are well worth the investment. As the new year approaches, I invite you to take some time to reflect about the personal brand you want to project in 2018 to advance your career.

Download this chapter from Francine Beleyi’s book, Personal branding in the digital age: How to become a known expert, thrive and make a difference in a connected world.

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