Your personal brand should demonstrate your authentic talents and strengths. How you expose your self to the world is integral to your career and your life: it plays a huge role in recruitment and hiring helping you attract new opportunities and establish credibility at what you do. Here is a story to explain why exposure yourself matters.
A little story
— They don’t want to work with me because they don’t know me. I’m very good at what I do and I know a lot of things.
Context: His manager left the company and it was necessary to reassign him to a new leader. Long story short: nobody gave a penny for the boy and he was assigned to me. During our first one-on-one, this topic came up. He argued that the problem was other people because they didn’t value him and it was them who should actively approach him.
After discussing several other points, the conversation turned into the following when I asked:
Working on our exposure is important. We are nobody unless we want to be someone. Click To Tweet
— If there was someone you wanted to work with, who would it be? And why?
— Sandy Metz (he answered), she’s really good. It would be great to work with her. Her books and the presentations she has given are the best!
— Do you know her in person?
— No; I haven’t had the pleasure. But with everything she does, and being who she is… I would fight to work with her.
I always tell this story because it was just at that moment when my pupil realized about how important it is to work on our exposure. We are nobody unless we want to be someone, and nobody has the obligation to look at us if we don’t give them a reason.
While teaching the concept of exposure I tend to align it to the Influence Circles, the level of skills, and the expectations that we might have (depending on the context).
As a professional, I have been in charge of many people of “different levels”, in different positions, and with different objectives. That means I have mentored Software Engineer Apprentices, from which I expect them to make mistakes, to lock up, and to give excuses at the end of why they didn’t deliver their task; and whose approach is learning; and from which the company doesn’t demand productivity but utility.
However, I wonder:
- Would it be correct then to require them to give a talk in a community? Not as a chief activity.
- Should I require compliance with the use to a minimum? No, since they may not be in a client project, it would be risky and ineffective for the company.
- Should I let them work without supervision or monitoring? Definitely not. It’s really normal that they don’t show progress and that they fail to deliver in time the scope to which they commit. It would be silly of me.
Returning to the point —and using the previous example, we observe that when mentoring Software Engineer Apprentices:
- Skills are limited
- Expectations would be learning-oriented
- His expected circle of influence is only about himself: his opinions and ideas will only be valued by him at the time of making decisions. It is very likely that no one will look for him to consult about a specific topic.
Detected Influence Circles
Overall, here are the Influence Circles and their scope:
|Personal||I only have an influence on myself. I’m not a reference but for me.|
|Team||I influence my team’s decisions. The others in my project ask me my opinion about a topic.|
|Unit||I’m a reference for the area. They ask me about things related to or within my career path.|
|Company||Other areas of the company take my opinion into account. I’m reached for answering questions about my area and other areas.|
|Community||People at the company level, locally or regionally, know me and ask for advice.|
|Global||I’m recognized worldwide within the scope of my area of expertise.|
Growing your influence?
Exposure. Personal Branding.
You name it; the point is to work in our presence and reputation. We all start at some point. We all have (or should have) goals and clarity in what we want to achieve and where we want to go. And, by the way, before joining or connecting with any group or community we should clearly define our’s expectations and what we can achieve if we fulfill them. Then, we’re going to be able to create the right networks.When working on our personal brand, the point is to work in our presence and reputation. We all start at some point. We all have (or should have) goals and clarity in what we want to achieve and where we want to go. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t have to be perfect. We may not seek global recognition, we may not have any idea about what or where, but we should not put aside the work in ourselves because this will be an important presentation card when looking for better opportunities.
Exposure or Personal Branding is relatively easy to achieve, but it requires perseverance and patience, it doesn’t happen overnight. We shouldn’t lose sight of what is expected and required from us, and what we are seeking.Exposure requires perseverance and patience, it doesn't happen overnight. We shouldn't lose sight of what is expected and required from us, and what we are seeking. Click To Tweet
Mostly, when collaborating with a company, we can:
- Stand up (literally) and ask: What are you doing? May I watch? Why are you doing that?
- Participate in common activities: give an internal talk, attend a workshop or impart one, attend activities that are outside the work “schedule”
- Search or create communities: surely there are more people who are hungry for growth, just get together in an organized way and see what comes out
- Attend conferences and meetups
- Generate content: as contributions to the Open Source or Blogposts
The important thing is the spirit with which it’s done, we’re here to help others grow. Maybe at the beginning, it will be something forced and not very relevant, but as experience is gained and our influence increases, our comfort zone will be bigger as well as our presence.
In conclusionOur work speaks for itself. YES, but it's our responsibility to work on exposing ourselves to the world to be recognized at the level we want. Click To Tweet
Our work speaks for itself. YES, but it’s our responsibility to work on exposing ourselves to the world to be recognized at the level we want and create our personal brand.
The more you repeatedly deliver value, the more people seek you out for that value.
Your reputation is a magnet. Once you become known for something, relevant opportunities come to you with no extra work.
Thanks for reading!