A perennial question of IT and engineering contractors is, “How can I set myself apart from the thousands of other talented contractors out there looking to get work?”
The answer may lie in a well-developed personal brand. A dynamic personal brand tells the world who you are as a professional and the unique insight and experiences you have to offer.
In a job market full of competition and content, contractors shouldn’t miss the chance to put their personal mark on their job search.
“Everything else already exists – all the job boards, all the people around the world connected by technology. The one thing that doesn’t exist that you need to solidify is how you want to position yourself," said Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success,” in an interview with CIO.
Here are some tips for developing your personal brand as an IT or engineering contractor:
1. Narrow in on what makes you unique
There are lots of IT and engineering contractors out there who can code in multiple languages, build dazzling websites or knock out projects that put a smile on their clients’ faces. A strong personal brand goes beyond these common skills and attributes to showcase what it is that makes you unique. Think about your value proposition when developing your brand. Maybe you have experience in another industry outside tech or engineering that gives you an interesting perspective on current issues, or you have rare niche knowledge in a specific area. Sometimes determining what makes you unique takes some introspection, but once you find it, use it to guide the development of your brand.
2. Expand your online presence
Chances are you’re not utilizing online resources to promote yourself and your work nearly as much as you could. Whether you specialize as an IT or engineering contractor, a professional-looking online portfolio can legitimize you and set you apart as a serious and capable candidate. Plus, it’s also a convenient way to show off projects you’ve completed. You should additionally become involved with online groups, forums and associations related to your industry or area of specialization.
3. Make sure your brand is consistent across all platforms
Another key to developing a strong personal brand is making sure it’s reflected uniformly in all aspects of your professional life, from your resume to job interviews to your social media presence. Highlight your unique strengths and experiences and try to consistently express what your career goals and interests are. With this strategy, companies looking for contractors can instantly and clearly understand what you will bring to projects no matter how they come in contact with your work.
With these tips, you can start developing a strong personal brand to support your career as an IT or engineering contractor.