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Building Your Brand at Work?

By Steve Jones,

In the modern world, it seems that the paper resume is almost a thing of the past. It's rare to even find an address to which you can send one, though it might actually stand out more if you could get someone to read it. Electronic communications are the way that most of us find jobs, and I think it's great. Keeping your resume in an electronic format, linking to supporting documentation like blogs, articles, etc., provides you with an extremely rich "brand" that you can present to prospective employers.

I give a presentation where I advocate that you document things, keep track of them, and manage your brand. I'll be giving it at SQLSaturday #17 in Baton Rouge as well as SQL Connections in Las Vegas. I tell people that you ought to have your own presence somewhere out in the World Wide Web that you can refer people to in some manner. Keeping track of your work, finding ways to document your career, learning, and knowledge brings with it an interesting conundrum. So for this Friday's poll:

Should you be building your own brand at your current job?

Meaning that can you answer questions in a forum at work? That's building your brand, and arguably your employers as well. Can you edit a presentation at work that you'll be giving at a user group or some other event? Often we disclose our employer and position, arguably giving them stature and exposure to other technical professionals. Can you blog at work? That's something I think happens more and more.

My feeling is that first you must get permission. Ask your boss. I've never had a problem blogging, taking notes for articles, doing presentations, etc. at work, provided I get my other work done. That' s a big one, since this stuff isn't more important than your other assignments. This does help your employer, they get exposure, and other talented technical professionals, some of whom will want to do the same thing, will consider them.

Newsgator, a local technical company in Denver, seems to support Glenn Barry, a local MVP in his efforts. That alone would make me consider working there, plus I like Glenn.  He's a smart guy, and writes some interesting things in his blog. I'm sure that I've represented my employers well in the past, and they've been happy to have me showcase them. It's partially a perk, and partially a PR even to have your employees showing themselves off.

Google made a big deal of allowing 20% of work time for personal projects. That might be a lot of time, but I think many people get caught up in administrative and social things that can easily eat 20%, if not more, of their time. Perhaps Google is just more efficient? Or their people socialize less and work on pet projects or their own brand more?

With today's employment situations, where most of us will have at least 5 or 6 jobs in a career, we have to ensure that we are able to find a new job of our situation changes, especially if it does so involuntarily. Allowing someone to work on their own brand, when they have time, is the least an employer can do.

Steve Jones


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