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Ways To Build Your Brand

This is in the presentation I've given a few times, but I thought it made some sense to put these things out here as well.

I see there are a few major ways for you to build your brand and raise your profile in the modern world that is highly interconnected and built on digital technologies. I'll give a quick summary here and then expand upon each of these in future posts.

1. Blogging
2. Leadership
3. Authoring
4. Speaking
5. Volunteering

There are some variations, but these are the main ones.


I separated this one out because it's more personal, it's off the cuff, we allow for mistakes and it doesn't necessarily mean exposing yourself. You can blog offline, save the entries and then publish them only to perspective employers when they interview you. I do think you should have a career blog that shows off what you think, learn, do, and understand.
And you don't have to be a great writer!


You can be a leader in your company, be a manager, run a project, be a thought leader, but this involves taking responsibility on to help others (or things in the case of a project).


This is a step above blogging where you are showing what you know. This is definitely public presentations of your work. It can be within the company, perhaps working on a manual, a procedure, or something else formal that others will read, but your name is attached to it.


A step beyond authoring is when you actually teach someone. This can be one on one in your company, a brown bag lunch to your peers, or standing in front of a group at a conference.


I think the last stage of your career in anything is giving back to the community. You've built some expertise, you're comfortable, and so you now have the time and freedom to help others. This doesn't mean leading them, but giving them assistance. It can be speaking, running a group or event, or even working with a charity of some sort.

Take credit for it, use it for your brand, but be sincere. Don't do it because you want recognition, but do it because you want to help.

I'll talk more about each of these in future posts as I further the develop the ideas and get more of them down on paper.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by Jack Corbett on 5 February 2009


Nice baseline.  I've found that, for me, the most difficult of these is Leadership.  I find that has the most risks associated with it.  Failure, conflict, etc...  It's also the easiest when it comes to taking time away from something else as it can be seen as part of your job responsibilities, where the rest usually mean investing more of your time outside of work.

Posted by Andy Warren on 5 February 2009

Steve, I'd like to seen Mentoring added. I know that might fall broadly under volunteering, but for me it's a separate topic, and depending on how you progress, might rank above or below volunteering in exposure/work/value.

Posted by Steve Jones on 9 February 2009

Mentoring is a good one. I'll add that to my list of stuff as a way to brand yourself. It's more local to one person, a 1:1 thing, but it could be grown beyond that with some blogging.

Posted by matt stockham on 10 February 2009

Not sure where posting fits into your list.  It seems to fit the definition of volunteering, but it certainly wouldn't be the "last stage of your career".

Posted by zohar lugashi(DBA, Israel) on 11 February 2009

I was impressed of all of this baselines, and i'd like to start from the first one. where can you recommend me, i mean in which site to create my blog and what are the importants issues you recommand me to write about

Posted by GilaMonster on 11 February 2009

Write about what you're passionate about. If you write about things you don't really enjoy, it will show.

Posted by Steve Jones on 11 February 2009

Grab a blog from blogger, that would be my recommendation. You can always double post with us (email the webmaster), but keep a copy for yourself.

Write about what you've learned, what you are working on, what you've solved. Show off you, not teaching someone.

Posted by Mike Brockington on 22 April 2009

For those of us that don't understand, would you please explain what "a brown bag lunch" is?

Sounds to me like what an alcoholic would do...

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