Create Your Profile
Your online profile communicates who you are, what you can do, and what makes you stand out based on your unique skills, talents, and interests.
First, you need to determine what you would like your “personal brand” or your message to be. How do you want potential employers to see you? What makes you unique? This means taking time upfront to explore and discover what you’re really passionate about, what career you want to pursue, what your unique skills and attributes are, and how you can describe yourself in a concise way that is attractive to people who may be searching the internet for someone like you.
The goal in marketing yourself is to package all that you bring to a position in a concise way. It might help to begin by answering the questions below. Ask yourself:
- What do I want employers to know about me?
- What unique traits and experiences do I offer?
Your answers to the questions above may come from why you chose to study LIS, what you are passionate about in this field, what you hope to accomplish or do in the field of LIS, or what it is you did before changing careers, and how that past experience influences your unique set of skills.
For example, let’s say you have determined that you are passionate about Innovative Library Services and you are a Creative Problem Solver, or maybe you are an expert in Information Architecture and Web Usability.
Pick your top 3-5 strengths to focus on. These can be “hard” skills such as your technological capabilities or “soft” skills like your oral or written communication or customer service abilities.
For example, you may want to highlight your Strong Teaching Capabilities, you have experience with Current Technologies and Information Literacy Instruction, your excellent Researching skills, and the fact that you are adept at Designing and Producing Research Guides and Information Literacy Tutorials. (Although these may not be your particular skill areas, this gives you an idea of what, within your own background and knowledge, you’ll want to showcase.)
- What key words/ideas do you want people to remember about you?
- What do you want employers or HR professionals to remember about you?
For example, if during your internship you took the initiative to collaborate with a co-worker and implement an Interactive Multimedia Instruction Tutorial that is still being used in the library today, you’d want to include that accomplishment in your profile.
Not sure which keywords (exactly that: key words or phrases people use to search for specific things) to use in your profile? The easiest way to get a sense of what terms are being used to describe your specific skills or strengths is to look at job postings to see what words/phrases are used in the job descriptions that interest you.
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Pick your top 3-5 accomplishments and then describe what they were and how they were of value to whomever benefitted from them.
For example, these may relate to a class project or a community service volunteer experience. Have you been recognized for outstanding achievement or perhaps streamlined a process that is currently being used today. As you describe your accomplishments, think about not only what you accomplished but what that accomplishment represented. That might be obstacles overcome, diverse groups brought together, new insights contributed through your research, a community initiative supported, or any other aspect you’re proud of.
- In what areas do you have or can you develop “expertise”?
If you have an area of expertise that you want to become known for, social media platforms – and you profile – are a great way to make that visible However, students sometimes have a hard time thinking of themselves as “having expertise.” If that describes you, another approach is to explore what you are most passionate about, which can often can translate into your “target” area of expertise. In this case, you’re identifying an area of strong interest and a passion to develop that interest into expertise.
Once you’ve decided what topics you’d like to be known for (as an expert or explorer), you’ll want to make that expertise or passionate curiosity visible on whatever social media platform you’ve chosen. How? By sharing information resources, personal knowledge or experience, thoughtful questions, and appreciative comments online – so people begin seeing you as an engaged and contributing professional, regardless of where you are in grad school
Once you’ve identified what you want people to know about you, what you’re most proud of, and your areas of current or future expertise, you should begin to see themes emerging. These themes are what will make up your profile, your online presence, and ultimately your personal brand. This is what makes you unique.
Not sure about your responses? Then you may find it helpful to review your answers with someone who knows you well and get their feedback. How would they answer these three questions about you? It’s possible – and even probable – that they’ll be able to identify strengths in you that you weren’t even aware of.
Now that you’ve thought through the elements of what you’d like the professional world to know about you, it’s time to choose a social media platform and create your profile!
Based on your answers above, you should begin to see themes emerging. These themes are what will make up your profile, your online presence, and ultimately your personal brand. This is what makes you unique. If you are unsure of your theme or of what makes you unique, it may be helpful to go over your answers with someone who knows you well and see if they can shed some light on your “expertise”. Once you have a basic idea of your unique profile, it is time to get started.