Skip to main content

Author: Marina Melnyk

IT specialists and a personal brand or personal nonsense?

Why would a project manager and a business analyst need to create their personal brand?

Recently we’ve discussed the topic of a personal brand with the team and they asked me an interesting question: “Why do I (the questioner), a regular analyst or a hired project manager, need a personal brand? What will it give to me? More money? More interesting projects? Expand my network?” The short answer is “yes, all this and much more”.

And here’s another question that people ask me a lot: “How do some people get the best job offers (although they are not looking for them), but I have already sent a dozen resumes and no one even has called me back?”

What is a personal brand and what value it gives to us when we consciously come to the need for building it.

PM Dec21 20 1

For some people, a personal brand is a way to achieve their professional goals: to move up the career ladder, find employees for a team, attract clients or investors. For others, it is an opportunity to gain recognition, a kind of self-expression.

Competition in the IT industry is still strong and while demand is rising, many of the top positions are closed before it comes to posting a job. Moreover, sometimes positions are specially opened for a specific specialist. And this happens because these people are known and talked about, they are recommended.

Before we figure out what a personal brand is, let’s discuss the basic concepts.

A brand is a word that is associated with a certain product or service in the minds of a certain group representatives.

For example, FAGMA (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple) is the top 5 corporations that launched the global digital transformation. Each of them is a brand. Together they are a brand. But only for a certain, albeit very large, group.

Nutella, BMW, Victoria’s Secret – all of these words say something to certain groups.

By the way, did you know that the word “brand” derived from the Old Scandinavian verb “to burn out” and used to mean “to mark livestock”? Of course, over time, branding changed: at the beginning, artisans began to tag their work. Then it turned into a manufacturer’s race when everyone tried and still tries to prove that their brand was/is better than the others, and that the “burnt” name alone speaks for itself.

Does your name mean something? Again, in your particular group. And how big is this group? If we start talking about a personal brand, we can give the following definitions:

  • A personal brand is what others say about you when you are not around.
  • A personal brand is an impression you create through your words, actions and confirm with results.
  • A personal brand is the correspondence between your inner self-image (you should have one, believe me) and how others perceive you.

Therefore, a professional personal brand can be described as a value proposition that you can boldly and confidently offer to the market. After all, a Youtube channel, an Instagram account with two hundred thousand followers, 5000 subscribers on Facebook can’t yet speak of a professional personal brand. As my colleague, the author of the book “Negotiations with Dolphins” – Maxim Romenskiy, says:

The goals of a personal brand are different.

There are people who need a brand to create a fan club. These people feed on attention. There are people who need a brand to transform it into money / power / influence / promotion opportunities.
It is important to understand that your position will not make people think of you when they open an interesting vacancy. If you want to stand out, you need to share what makes you memorable – “burns” you into the memory of others. These differentiating factors may include your skills, education as well as interesting companies you have worked for, but they can also be related to your personal life, hobbies, passions, charities.

[widget id=”custom_html-68″]

Try to name your strengths right now.

And it’s not just a common question during interviews. It is what you should know about yourself for sure.

Who am I today and how am I perceived? What are the facts and results that show me as a good specialist? What distinguishes me from other people doing the same job? What kind of specialist do I want to be tomorrow? How do I get there?

Step by step, asking ourselves these questions and conducting an «as is» -> «to be» analysis, we come to that unique image of ourselves, which will be our personal professional brand. This image will make us more competitive, more successful and possibly happier.
At the same time, you need to remember that a personal brand is constant self-improvement. It’s a deep understanding of “who I am today” and how I can fully reveal the potential for my tomorrow-self. You are changing as well as the world around you – therefore your “proposal” must be changing too.

How to build a personal brand?

  1. Understand what unique skills and a value proposition you have or might have.
  2. Create an offline image and online presence that showcase your best qualities.
  3. Become an active member of a professional community: writing articles, participating in conferences, volunteer programs.
  4. Working with a mentor.
  5. Become a mentor to others.
  6. Create a personal development plan as well as a development plan for your brand.

How does a personal brand work?

You will get to the next level in the process of creating a brand. The very desire to build it and the following steps will give you tangible and unexpected results. And then your reputation will start working for you.

Some examples of the situations where a personal brand helped me.

Situation 1

Several years ago, I started an IT conference in Dnipro – RUN IT. The first conference attracted 450+ participants with a zero-advertising budget. A personal brand, a strong reputation, wide networking, the co-founder’s support and the local IT community made this possible.

Situation 2

When I moved to work for another company as a Delivery Manager, my task was to start a project for a new client – a Swiss bank. At the same time, it was necessary to hire a team of 50 people in a short time. For the small Dnipro market, this is not an easy task. Having a reputation of a “reasonable” manager (as others say), I managed to close 50 vacancies within the specified period. About 30% of the team came from my personal contacts.

PM Dec21 20 2

So, what can the personal brand development give to us?

Self-confidence, awareness, openness to the world and a calm attitude to negative events, adaptability and understanding that I can do this. After all, the chain isn’t only weak due to its weakest link, but it’s also strong thanks to its strongest one. Thus, we can and should know our strengths to be able to rely on them.

Professional burnout in IT: causes, symptoms, overcoming

In every person’s life there comes a moment when fatigue, apathy and indifference may appear.

There’s no wish to work, communicate with people or follow the routine. Nothing brings joy or pleasure.

I’ve been in a similar state once; my friends and colleagues have passed or are passing through this, as well. You can see signs of this at the candidate interviews. This is burnout. How shall we recognize the first symptoms and prevent professional burnout? How could we feel the desire to achieve success again? This is not about ordinary demotivation when temporarily we are not willing to do a specific task or work at a particular place.

Burndown Symptoms

It is worth worrying if you have lost the desire to communicate with colleagues or to work at some easy short causes. Or besides the customer’s requests got annoying. You might become inattentive, unable to concentrate on the task or doing everything on autopilot without thinking about the result.

There is uncertainty in one’s own abilities, a feeling of guilt for not doing the work on time. You try to shift the responsibility for what is happening to your colleagues, clients or supervisors. You may more and more start using the subjunctive mood: if not … Craving for overeating, shopaholism, computer games, and, as a result, health problems are the impetus of your loss of interest to your favorite things, a hobby rejection or so on. It is impossible to cope with such condition. Sleep, rest or vacation do not do any help.

PMTimes June23 20 1

Burnout is not cured with a job change – it is an overemployment syndrome, a prolonged state of the emotional exhaustion. If you have analyzed your feelings and honestly admitted that you have been experiencing something similar, ask yourself the question: “How often does this happen?” If it happens 2-3 times a month – this is quite natural and may be caused by the weather, hormonal balance, temporary fatigue. This is high time to make a switch and invigorated, and have a good rest on weekends to return to work renewed. If you have been in a state of an almost every day nervous exhaustion for several weeks, it’s about time to pay serious attention to what is happening and understand its essence.

The most common causes may be excessive workload, unclear distribution of roles and responsibilities or lack of professional employees’ competence. Some suffer from an excess of communication (especially analysts and project managers), too emotional reaction to what is happening, or conflicts with colleagues and clients. The constant feeling of “tailings” like unfinished work, outstanding tasks, “yesterday’s deadlines” these unsettle thoroughly. Tomorrow’s uncertainty, inabilities to rest or “reboot” quickly lead a person to a state of anxiety and mental stress.

How to help yourself recover from a depression back to a sane, full life? Specialists helped some of my acquaintances: coaches, psychoanalysts, mentors. Others have learned to tidy up their feelings, thoughts and feelings on their own. What did they start with? First of all, you should admit that there is a problem, and analyze why the burnout has occurred.

Answer your questions:

  • What do I want to change?
  • What do I want to feel when I wake up in the morning?
  • What do I value my work for?
  • What professional goals do I set for myself and how do I spend a working day?

The answers to these questions had better be recorded. A top tip is to start a Success Diary and record what good things happen during the day. Bring your thoughts, achievements and gratitude there. It is a good idea to draw up an Action Plan for the next 3-4 weeks and mark the points that are implemented.

[widget id=”custom_html-68″]

More tips

It is necessary to determine things pleasant for you with which you will start your day. For example, buying a croissant and a cup of your favorite drink on the way, listening to interesting videos for 15 minutes, learning something new or humming a funny tune. In the morning you need to plan 2 things that you do in the evening.

These can be either very simple tasks or more complex ones. Cleaning the desktop, sending letters to the client, drawing up a report – these are important to outline and necessary to do. You will see your work to appear much easier and happier!

PMTimes June23 20 2

Many people think that changing a job helps to find inner harmony and balance. But problems can be solved at the current workplace, regaining interest in what you are doing. And then, armed with a positive attitude and constructive thoughts, you are welcome to look for a new place, if needed.

There are different ways to begin your journey toward life balance and satisfaction.

Here are some of the options, suggested by friends and colleagues; and tested by me, as well:

  • Smile and take strong postures. It is proved that our emotions are reflected in poses and facial expressions, we give signals to the brain to trigger the corresponding changes in the hormonal balance. So these the change emotional state. You can check it out right now! Walk 30 meters hunched over, getting the hump, scraping along the floor. What are you feeling? Now straighten your shoulders, smile, look straight and walk easily. What about now?
  • It is unpleasant to communicate? Start listening. Carefully, thoughtfully. Try to understand what the interlocutor wants to convey. It is not necessary to answer immediately – think it over.
  • Think of tasks that you don’t like in terms of the opportunities they give. May they teach you efficiency? Or the print speed development? Eloquence? Responsibility? Kindness?
  • Watch your emotions. What causes anger, annoyance, disappointment, what pleases you? Why is it so? What are you feeling about them? By analyzing our behavior, we take control over emotions, and they control us less.
  • Ask colleagues for help or advice find moreover whom to help and means to do that.
  • If possible, work in another place: a meeting room, a cafe. Take breaks, get up every hour and look aside at what is happening around you.
  • Spend your lunch time on yourself, try new dishes, visit different places and don’t talk about business!
  • Grasp and focus on one thing at a time. Try to alternate tasks: a difficult, a simple one.
  • Limit the time you spend in social networks.
  • Pamper yourself! Create motivation to successfully complete the task within the deadline.
  • Each day observe something good in your colleagues, supervisors, or clients. Do not waste time complaining, gossiping and discussing others.

PMTimes June23 20 3

This is not a complete list of options. You can enlarge it with your own items, you can randomly select anything three. The main is the desire. Action follows desire, motivation follows actions! It is also important to remember difficult times, mistakes and defeats are given to us so that we become better.

The main thing is not to doubt, but to act! Under the law of causation, positive thoughts transform the person`s character and destiny. Internal changes will affect your surroundings miraculously and entail favorable events.