The importance of personal branding in the engineering industry
It's a lot more important than you might think!
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Let’s get back to this week’s thought!
No matter if you are an engineer or a manager, you should be focusing on your personal brand. It’s the first impression that people have about you. And it's very important that you leave a good one.
Having a good personal brand can be the difference between having 0 or 1000 opportunities! You can be the best engineer in the world, but without people knowing that, unfortunately you won’t get any opportunities.
A personal brand is everything that is connected to you
It’s how others perceive you. Your skills, your work, the way you carry yourself and what you believe. It’s also connected with your reputation and what you stand for.
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
— Alexander Hamilton
This is very important to understand when we are talking about a personal brand. People need to clearly understand what is it that you stand for, if that’s not the case, it’s harder for people to resonate with you.
Personal beliefs are very important part of the personal brand
I’ll share with you my personal beliefs that are connected with the engineering industry and my professional work.
If you are a regular reader of this newsletter my personal beliefs may be noticeable in my writings.
Here are some of my beliefs that are connected with the engineering industry:
Software Development is a team sport.
Great teams build great software.
Progress over perfection.
Engineering is more about people than tech.
I rather measure team productivity than developer productivity.
I don’t measure developer productivity by lines of code delivered, amount of PRs finished or story points delivered.
LeetCode type challenges are not the best way to assess the fit of candidates in the technical interview.
Helping others is much more important than individual contribution.
A big list of technologies listed in the CV is not as important as you may think.
Not all may agree with my personal beliefs and that’s totally fine, we are all different and it’s great to have various of different opinions.
Opinions and beliefs help with finding the best solutions
It especially helps for example when we are finding the best technical solution to a certain problem. More different opinions → better the solution is going to be. Just 1 person saying this is the way to do it and everyone agrees, might not provide the best solution at the end.
There are more of my personal beliefs, but I wanted to create an example rather than list all of them.
I highly recommend that if you don’t have such list yet, to create it. If in the future you decide to change a certain belief, it’s totally fine, but remember what we noted above: if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Focusing on your personal brand is much more important than you might think
Especially in current times, where the engineering market is filled with layoffs, it’s really important to stand out from others. Just sending out your CV and a motivational letter might not provide you with the best results.
A good way for you to stand out from others is to already provide an example of what you can do, what you are good at and how you think.
Read more about how you can thrive in the current tough engineering market here: Thriving in a competitive engineering market (paid article).
Having a good personal brand will get you opportunities for the long run.
As mentioned above, the difference can be huge. It can mean that you either have 0 or 1000 opportunities. What would you rather have?
Your personal brand is an investment that will pay off to you for the whole lifetime.
With a good approach to it, it will ensure that you never run out of opportunities and also you will be able to have a choice on going the route that resonates with you the most.
How to start focusing on your personal brand?
Here is my recommended mandatory checklist (steps) that will ensure that you are focusing on building your personal brand:
Create a list of your beliefs
It’s not mandatory, but it’s really nice to have.
Focus on your reputation
Treat others the way you wish to be treated, be reliable, responsible and focus on helping others.
Make sure your online presence is done correctly and is consistent across different media
Make sure that you have a good profile picture, about text written correctly, list of skills and your experience written in a good way. I would say LinkedIn is mandatory, make sure to replicate that on other media like Twitter (X), etc.
Now, let’s go to the next step. Here is my recommended checklist (steps) to take your personal brand to the next level:
Start posting 2x / week on LinkedIn
Choose your area of expertise and what you wish to post about. If you don’t know what to post, a good start is to post what you are learning right now.
Start writing a blog or a newsletter
You can choose the cadence that works for you, which can be either weekly, 2x / month, monthly, etc.
After you build consistency on both posting on LinkedIn and your blog/newsletter, you can then think about increasing the cadency!
I should have started focusing on it much sooner
I always had the mandatory steps covered and I was always lucky with opportunities both in full-time and freelance roles. But what I should have been focusing on sooner was to take it to the next level.
I should have started posting on LinkedIn sooner and also started my newsletter sooner. The value I am getting from both is immense. I met so many great people and I learned so many things that the return on the investment of my time is one of the best out there!
As mentioned above, a personal brand is something that provides you with opportunities for the long run.
I definitely believe that investing in yourself is a great investment anytime → focusing on your personal brand is exactly that.
We are not finished yet!
I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed by Taj Pelc on his recent livestream on Friday, 26th of January. We talked about a lot of interesting topics including:
the role of a CTO,
importance of business mindset,
engineering career growth.
We also touched a bit on topic of the importance of personal branding. You can watch the recoding below:
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You are more than welcome to find whatever interests you here and try it out in your particular case. Let me know how it went! Topics are normally about leadership, management, all things engineering related, developing scalable products, building teams etc.