We all know it takes tremendous work to build a brand, corporate or personal. It is one accomplishment to get people to even recognize a brand name. It is a far different accomplishment to have that brand name mean something to people.
If you do try and build a personal brand, the first step is to build something that is generic. You want to be known as a programmer. A very good programmer, of course. Most people stop right there.
People will recognize that brand. But they won’t differentiate you from everyone else in the world who is a programmer.
To differentiate yourself, you must use the magic word in developing your personal brand: positioning.
Positioning is what you do to differentiate your work from all your competitors. You get great benefits by positioning your personal brand instead of just creating a generic one.
If you think about Cube Rules, for example, for the longest time I viewed this as a career site. “Career Management for Cubicle Warriors” is the tag line and I still like it.
But this is better: Cube Rules helps you land a job, have job success, and build employment security.
Nuts and bolts. Not theory.
There are a lot of career sites out there. But the Cube Rules positioning differentiation is the nuts and bolts of work.
By going the extra step and determining the position of your work compared to your coworkers in the same job title, you can start building a differentiation in your work and make it easier to explain what you do to others.
Once you review what you love about your work and pick a position compared to others with your same job title, you can focus on building deeper job skills that match your positioning.
When you reviewed all of your programming gigs and found building user interface screens is what you really liked, you can start to position yourself as the programmer that builds user interfaces. Instead of being a programmer programming many different things in many different languages, you can now reach for a deep understanding of building user interface screens that are incredibly easy to use.
Positioning forces you to eliminate the extraneous for what you want to do and opens up the capacity to build deep job skills for what you do want to do. You get to an expert level faster than trying to be everything to everyone in your job title.
Once you figure out what you enjoy about the work you are doing, positioning it in your personal brand means you will focus on getting more of the work that you enjoy and supports your personal brand. Every gig you get where you can build kick-ass user interface screens helps the enjoyment of your job. Plus you get another notch on your resume that supports the positioning of your programming skills against your competition. Which leads to more work that you enjoy.
Most people don’t bother thinking through what their personal brand currently is — because you have one even if you haven’t tried using it. Some people will recognize that what they like to do is a generic job in a particular area, like programming. Cubicle Warriors take it the extra step: they figure out how they want to position their work so they have a competitive differentiater when it comes to getting the next job.
How would you position your work compared to your competition?