Successful personal branding tactics that existed before social media are often still useful today. Here are some examples from my own career.
Wherever I’ve worked, the personal brand I’ve tried to build is to be known as someone who is:
- Intellectually honest
- Getting things done
- Open to Always seeking constructive criticism
In my last job from 2002 to 2006 before I started teaching job search on JobMob, I was a web development manager and senior project manager at a major media distribution company in France. Although I’m pretty sure I never once used the term “personal branding” or “marque personnelle” during my years in Paris at the company, there were a number of things I did while there to consistently grow my personal brand while providing opportunities for my team members to do the same.
Participating in a public project is a great way to make a name for yourself.
For my team of programmers, the major public projects that we came into contact with regularly were the projects surrounding the open-source freeware (free software) that we used in our work. The more popular open-source software projects have large, active communities of people (and not just programmers!) that are continuously working to improve the software and everyone can contribute on a level that works for them.
As we used the software, I encouraged my team to follow those communities and get involved by responding to questions based on our experience with the corresponding software and especially by submitting reports and comments about any software bugs we had discovered.
The more you participate, the more you get noticed. Some people participate so much, they become recognized experts on the software and it eventually leads to jobs at other companies using that software.
In our case though, the open-source software we used wasn’t the main focus of our work, so it was hard to justify investing a lot of time in those communities from a business point of view. The personal branding potential was massive but we mostly couldn’t take advantage of it.
Become recognized as an expert
Our main software platform was purchased from a software company just before I started my job, and my team’s first objective was to learn the new system and take full control of it. This was harder than usual because we were one of the first European companies to buy this software so in many ways it felt like we were on our own. There actually were other companies using the software but we weren’t organized together in any way, so my boss and I pushed for the software company to hold a user conference for all the European companies that had bought their software.
Next week I’ll tell you what happened next and how we went on to become recognized leaders in our industry niche.