‘A personal brand will help you stand out in a sea of applicants for your dream job.’
This phrase is something that we are all told, but what does it mean to have a personal brand?
According to PersonalBrand.com, (who you would think would understand what this concept is), a personal brand is:
‘A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.’
Great now, I know what a personal brand is, but why do I care as a data scientist?
There is such a shortage of people with machine learning skills. Surely it doesn’t matter if I develop a personal brand or not.
I hear you and ultimately get what you’re saying.
If you bear with me, I want to spend some time diving into this topic and how you can brand yourself as a data scientist.
If you are already on board with the concept of personal branding, then you will be delighted to know we’re getting into the practical stuff now!
The main reason why you need a personal brand working in AI
While it may be true that there is a global shortage of people with the skills needed to support the AI economy, not all roles are created equal.
There is another major problem with the way that the media have excited AI.
Now there’s a lot of hype.
I would even go so far as to say there are companies out there that add the term ‘machine learning’ to pitches to help get funding without really knowing how it could add value.
You do not want to end up at one of these companies.
To avoid this situation you can craft a strong brand that will get you the job at a top company or start-up.
Build a personal brand to get the right job
There are three reasons why having a strategic and focussed personal brand will help you have a meaningful career in AI.
Work in an area that interests you
With technology such as AI, there are infinite possibilities.
The technology is both exciting and dangerous. You can quickly become overwhelmed by the different options.
When you develop a personal brand, you can focus down into a specific area that interests you. You can develop a reputation in that area that will help you to get the jobs you want and not have to take any role.
Stand out from the crowd
Even though there is a shortage of skills, there is still a lot of competition for the best roles.
When you have a strong personal brand, you will stand out from the crowd applying for the top jobs so that you can get them.
A better understanding of your passions (live your authentic self)
As well as the benefits for your career, you will also start to live within your values. Instead of being forced to live to someone else’s values in your career, you can do meaningful work aligned with your values because that’s your personal brand.
Having a personal brand will help get you where you want to go.
5 Practical Steps to Start Building a Strong Personal Brand in Tech
Now it is time to get into the good stuff, here are five useful tips you can start today to build your personal brand.
1. A Killer Resume
What does your resume say about you?
Your resume is a significant first step in how you communicate your personal brand. To help you get started building a compelling data science CV, check out this article from myself and Kristen Kehrer.
2. A Strategic Portfolio
If you have read any of my blog posts or follow me on Instagram, you will know I am passionate about data scientist portfolios.
In particular, when you are starting, building a portfolio of data science projects that are strategic and show skills in your chosen area will help you get the job you want.
3. Get Busy Social Media
Did you know that employers and recruiters are increasingly looking at your social media when making a hiring decision?
Make sure that the messages you are sharing are in line with your personal brand.
You can use social media to communicate your message and get known in the space.
4. Build a Blog
Another excellent way to build a personal brand is with a blog.
Though not for the faint-hearted as this will take time to build and maintain, blogging is a great way to make a personal brand.
I, for one, can attest to the fact that since I started blogging, I get a lot more exciting job offers.
5. Get Speaking
The final tip I want to share with you is to get out there are start public speaking.
Speaking is one of the best ways to have an impact on building a personal brand. Communicating your brand and what you stand for through speaking will build authority.
It can be scary, and I wouldn’t recommend it as the first step, but I encourage you to try it out when you feel confident.
A word of caution!
Especially when you are starting in a new career, it can be hard to say no.
Nevertheless, it is essential to remember that you don’t have to agree with every project.
Make sure that when it comes to developing your personal branding, you need to protect your goals. You do not want to get stuck on a project that will damage your brand.
Do not be afraid to turn down things that don’t align with what you are trying to build.
TRY THESE PRODUCTS
My Personal Branding Story – a case study
I like to practice what I preach, so I wanted to share my personal branding story.
I have been on a bit of a journey with my personal brand over the last couple of years.
Yes, I am aware of how cheesy that sounds.
What started as a blog to document my journey learning to code quickly morphed into an opportunity for me to put my spin on the traditional programming and machine learning resources.
For the next year, I worked on really nailing down my writing style and how I wanted to communicate with people. It is so important to me to ensure that this little blog is fun for anyone who reads it.
AI Claire is also accessible to people who do not necessarily have a technical background. Finally, the blog is informative with the best educational resources.
I guess I never realized how much I was building a personal brand around my work until I decided to take the next step and get branding.
It was at this point I realized that I did have a brand.
Designing a brand around values
Those of you who have subscribed to my email list will know how much I loved working with Meg Harrop from Lemon & Birch branding.
It was going through Meg uses to help define the branding that I was able to identify some of the elements that were important to me for my personal brand.
I confirmed these elements when I began working with my life coach to understand better how I wanted to evolve Artificially Intelligent Claire.
Now I am in the position that I have a clear definition of my values and what my personal brand stands for.
- Sustainability: Developing and helping others develop sustainable and fulfilling careers in Machine Learning and Data Science
- Laughter: I don’t take myself too seriously. I want us to have fun and laugh
- Proactive: Work hard and drive yourself forward
- Creativity: Not afraid to go against the grain and do things differently
- Community: Everyone who reads this or interacts with anything Artificially Intelligent is part of the community. Everyone is welcome, and we are excited to have you. We help each other out and support one another
- Compassion: This is a non-judgemental community. Everyone is at a different stage in the journey, there are no stupid questions, and we are compassionate to each of our struggles.
The logo Meg helped me create for this brand reflects the values of creativity, primarily. It is taken from an old symbol, meaning wisdom. The way she designed it represents the creative design aspect I love.
I’m still working on developing my personal brand.
However, I am excited to build out this community with like-minded people through my content and mastermind programs.
You can learn more about how I can help you build your personal brand in AI by joining one of the masterminds here.
Each of us is on our journey to build up a personal brand.
With a strong brand, you can build an exciting and impactful future in AI. With your brand, you can get your dream opportunities with ease.
Remember some tips to help you get started:
- A Killer Resume
- A Strategic Portfolio
- Get Busy Social Media
- Build a Blog
- Get Speaking
- Develop your personal brand around your values
Good luck, and I’m excited to see how you develop!