Within the world of technology, there are so many areas in which professionals can develop a career path. The most popular technology career paths include cybersecurity, big data, cloud computing, software development and project management. But choosing an information technology (IT) specialty, earning IT certifications and developing a personal brand can help you create an unstoppable career.
With high demand for IT jobs, it's important for you to stand out beyond your cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile. If you are transitioning into a tech job or are currently working in tech, creating a personal brand will allow you to brand, market and sell your education and experience.
Adopt a Branding Mindset
For many decades, employees have been instructed to earn college degrees and IT certifications to land new job offers. But it’s time to change that narrative and focus on adopting a branding mindset at work and letting go of the employee mindset.
The employee mindset shows up when you do what you are told at work and don’t go above and beyond to stand out. When you don’t stand out at work, you may not get promoted, and it may be difficult to earn a higher salary.
If you want to be a brand at work, you have to keep track of your weekly accomplishments – everything from your daily tasks to your technical projects. You may perform many routine tasks, but always make the small things you do on a daily basis sound big on your performance evaluation, resume and LinkedIn profile.
Finally, always communicate promptly and clearly via email, in-person communication and on the phone when you are working with clients, customers and leaders. When you communicate effectively, people at work will always believe in your ability to perform well.
Showcase Your Work
Training for and earning an IT certification proves to employers that you have the skills it takes to get the job done. How you broadcast these accomplishments is where personal branding comes into play.
As you work on new public-facing projects like mobile applications or websites, always add links to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Here’s a few ideas:
- If you are transitioning into tech, create a few projects using GitHub to showcase your coding experience.
- If you are working toward a help desk, network administration or cloud computing job, create a blog showcasing your hands-on experience. You can also write about your troubleshooting, configuration and deployment skills for hardware, networks and cloud environments.
When you showcase your IT skills, work and achievements (your IT certifications), you’re creating a personal brand that attracts potential employers – and other valuable connections. For example, a more veteran IT pro may find that nurturing their personal brand can lead to speaking opportunities at technology conferences.
Never Stop Learning
The evolution of your personal brand will keep growing as you become a continuous learner. The more you learn, the more you will earn within the technology industry. As you land new roles and begin to work on more complex projects, you may be required to learn at a faster pace.
The more you learn, the more you will earn within the technology industry.
The best way to become a continuous learner is by actively seeking new information.
The best continuous learners:
- Listen to podcasts
- Enroll in online courses
- Read books and articles
Your personal brand has its own learning style. Choose what learning format will work best for you as you study for new IT certifications and apply new knowledge at work. Remember, as you learn new skills, always update your resume and LinkedIn profile; you never know who is watching your technology brand online.
The best part about creating a personal brand is that you will become unstuck. A solid personal brand within the IT industry has the potential to lead to a very lucrative, sustainable career, often with a six-figure salary; a solid professional network; and a happier personal life.
A branding mindset gives you career power and career ownership. No one can take that power away from you. You can evolve and advance when you take the time to become the architect of your IT career.
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