As we usher in a new decade, the digital world continues to advance all around us. It’s not uncommon to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all! Should we adapt to these advances, upgrading our personal brands to a more techie version?
Our guest blogger this month, Heather Black of Supermums.org is an advocate for women in tech, and actively develops new talent. She was named one of the 100 most influential women in tech in the UK last year, and is open and passionate about balancing her career with her family. Here she talks to us about how to “tech up” our personal brands.
If there’s one thing that will make your personal brand feel up-to-date and equipped for the future, it’s adding tech to your brand. Good tech skills are in shortage worldwide. Computing.co.uk recently said “research shows seven in ten businesses in the sector have found it more difficult to hire staff in past year.” But tech skills are needed everywhere: from animation to teaching; from AI driven marketing to digital publishing.
This shortfall in appropriately qualified and able people is the perfect opportunity for you to upskill and make yourself more desirable. Think about being the go-to person for something technical and what respect that can add to your own personal brand. My own business Supermums focuses on reskilling mums (not exclusively, we have some dads and some non-mums too) in the Salesforce ecosystem, rebranding themselves as tech savvy and so able to find work that is well paid and flexible – probably of interest to just about everyone, not just parents!
Tech can be a key
Tech can be the key to getting into hard to break in industries like fashion or film or even landing work with big names that you’d love to have attached to your personal brand. One of our Supermums graduates, Emma Johannsson, retrained as a Salesforce admin with us and now works for Aston Martin, something that will forever look impressive on her CV. Emma says, “For those thinking of retraining into tech, I would say do it. Don’t be afraid to try it out and don’t be scared if things seem complicated. Just keep trying and don’t be afraid to fail. You will fail at things but it’s not a big deal. If you hang in there and keep at it, you will succeed. There are lots of jobs out there.”
Move with the times
Finally, one of the most compelling reasons to do it is that perhaps soon, you may not have a choice. Take marketing for instance. Marketing is fast becoming more and more sophisticated: we can track users around the internet with AI, we can automate the customer journey from sign up to sale and beyond, building up a relationships that just weren’t available to us previously. Our Salesforce Marketing Cloud course takes traditional marketers and upskills them in all the tech they need to be at the top of their profession today and hopefully tomorrow, helping them future proof their careers, as long as they keep on top of new trends and innovations.
HOW TO GO ABOUT IT
Getting over the mystery
Words like “tech”, “cyber” and “digital” may sound as though they are for the left brained chosen few, but these are just words. Tech is all around us: from the App that lets us order in a takeaway to the framework that takes a payment from our phones, to the electronic sign-in machine in the Dr’s office. Cyber is just another word for Cyberspace, a.k.a., the Internet, and Digital means an online version of something. A great example would be Marie Claire magazine which has now gone completely digital, i.e., online as that’s where they see the future.
You don’t have to completely change your brand
Adding tech to your brand is just that, adding it to how people already think of you. One of our graduates, Simon Des Forges, is now currently the Salesforce manager for a charity called Education and Employers, but he talks about how his “old” brand was still very valuable and how important it is to think about your transferable skills: “My old job was around user involvement, getting people with mental health or drug and alcohol problems views included with commissioners and providers which must seem very far away from Salesforce. Part of the role of admin, however, is to have a good understanding of what people’s needs are and to balance those and integrate those into the org and with each other so you’re working together as a team. It’s useful for people to take a little step back if they’re worried that they might not fit into doing what seems a technical role and consider the skills that they already do have and how useful they are. Mine have most certainly have benefited me here as far as working in different projects and teams and knowing how to work those views into something manageable.”
Becoming confident with Tech
For the very non-technical this can feel a bit daunting, but I have some observations of our course participants that may make it a little easier:
- Start off with a course that will get you into the learning mindset, but also provide support. Perhaps your employer can even send you on one as they’ll reap the rewards too. Simon Des Forges was sent on his first Salesforce Admin course by his then employer and that opened up a whole new world for him
- Accept that, like everything new, there is learning to do. You will get there. It’s just a matter of putting the time and effort in
- Get excited. Think about all the opportunities your new tech savvy personal brand can offer you – and all the frustrations you can now bypass (having to get someone else to upload onto your blog for instance)
- There will be times when you fail or just don’t get something. A break and a clear head can sometimes work, but do remember that you can always ask for help
The Tech community and your Personal Brand
Joining a tech community in one way or other is a perfect way to accelerate tech into your personal brand. You’ll get the support you’ll need, new contacts and over time, start to feel more and more comfortable, pushing yourself as you reach goals and see them disappear behind you. You can find these communities in real life and online and I urge you to take advantage of what they have to offer.
As well as the Supermums project, Heather runs webinars, attends panel events and speaks on flexible working, retraining, working parenthood and women in tech.
To learn more, you can see a video she recorded here.
The Supermums’ Marketing Cloud course launches in early 2020 and you can find out more here.