We the Sales Engineers founder Ramzi Marjaba’s 5 tips on Personal Branding6 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Gone are the days where we stay with one company for all of our lifetimes. Even if we’re not job-hopping, sometimes in order to take care of our family best, or work on something new and challenging we have to move. This is not news to most people. Yet the way we find jobs has not changed in a very long time. We still apply to jobs online, hoping to hear back, or at best, we have a connection to forward our resume. This is not the only way to do things anymore, and it’s also not the best way.
Today it’s easier than ever to leave our mark on the world. The best way to do that is through personal branding and in this blog I want to discuss five reasons you should seriously consider branding yourself even if you are ok with just putting your head down and working for your employer, or you’re too shy to put yourself out there.
Let’s just briefly discuss what personal branding is:
Based on my experience, there are 5 levels of personal branding, starting from -1 and going all the way up to 3.
This is when you have a negative presence online. So you might have a Facebook page, a Twitter or Instagram profile that will not show you in a professional positive light. These are personal pages that you have the right to do whatever you want with, but they are also pages that can be seen by a potential employer and they have the right to deduce from them whatever they want.
Level 0 is having no online presence. You may have a LinkedIn page with a few connections, and you’re not on any other social media platforms. This is where I was before starting We The Sales Engineers.
Level 1 is the easiest level to start having a positive presence online. You might not start your own conversation threads, but your Linkedin Profile looks professional. You have information filled in about your role, and you comment on other people’s posts.
This is when you start contributing to with your own content. You can post LinkedIn articles, posts about what’s going on in your industry and actively participate in conversations.
And finally, Level 3 of personal branding is to have your own website, your own podcast, or your own YouTube channel in order to influence the world in a positive way around you.
Now, let’s talk about the 5 reasons you should have a personal brand:
1- Outbound Marketing
Consider personal branding as a method of outbound marketing. As mentioned earlier, the way we found jobs was by going on job posting boards and applying to the role we want, or by going on the career pages of the companies of interest and applying there. However, resumes are not an efficient way of applying, connections are. So with outbound marketing, we are creating connections and differentiating ourselves so our connections would be happy to refer us. We might be even enticing hiring managers to reach out to us directly instead of the other way around.
2- Differentiating Yourself
The large majority of people will not have a personal brand. Either they are too shy, it’s too much work, or they have other priorities. If you’re reading this blog, listening to the We the SEs podcast, or watching the We The SEs YouTube videos, you are already differentiating yourself internally from other people by actively learning. But now you need to differentiate yourself externally by simply helping people. You help by providing useful material to your connections.
Commenting on posts that will lead to discussions where people can learn from each other, or writing a how-to article to help others in the same situation. That is how thought leaders are created and people want to talk to thought leaders.
You might think “I have nothing to offer” and yet you do. The last challenge that you have overcome might be someone else’s next challenge. By talking about it, you can help those following in your footsteps, whether you know them or not.
3- Haters Begone
Some people might not like the way we think. Great! We just eliminated some people who don’t want to hang out with us or want us working for them. It’s the quality of the connections, not the quantity. Now we don’t have to worry about applying to jobs within their organization, and we can focus on other organizations.
4- Bring Visibility to your Current Employer
Some of you are saying “Ramzi, I don’t even want to leave my company”. You don’t have to! Having a personal brand will actually help sell more for the company that you currently work for, or attract talent to your organization. Michael Townsend is very active in the Sales Engineering world. He’s done talks for Vivun, Presales Collective, and he’s been on my podcast a couple of times. When he has a job opening, he’s getting a large funnel of applicants which did not happen previously.
If you want to focus more on selling, LinkedIn is a powerful tool. You can upload tutorial videos, demo videos, problem-solving videos, debugging videos all of which can help build a brand, and help get more sales and earn more trust from your customers.
Keep in mind that some employers don’t actually like that, so if you’re going to mention your employer’s name, make sure you have permission first.
5- Networking with Like-Minded People.
Finally, we get to meet like-minded people. Through We The SEs, I was able to meet Chris White, John Care, Peter Cohan, and Brian Geery. I’ve been able to meet people like Greg Holmes and Mark Green in the UK, Tim Brunne and Jan-Eric from Germany, and many other people from different places in the world that I would never have known to meet.
In summary, start working on your personal brand and start today!