To Brand or not to Brand?

by Nicole Usiondek, Head Editor, INALJ Michigan

To Brand or not to Brand?

NAUMembers of the librarian field are very familiar with the importance of having an online presence. During my library school orientation, and each and every class thereafter, the faculty stressed the importance of having an online presence and even the concept of personal branding. I half-heartedly started a blog and joined twitter, but with school and work I did not really get into the swing of things.

After graduation I spent months looking for a full time librarian role. I volunteered as much as I could and tried to say positive. At the end of 2012, I took an honest look at myself and realized that I wasn’t really committing myself to creating an online presence or a personal brand. I sat down and thought long and hard about the skills I can bring to the table and about my personality traits that aren’t obvious in a resume. At that moment I made the commitment to myself to spend 2013 driving my career.

I became the head editor of the Michigan INALJ page and began to network with the online librarian community. I restarted my blog and twitter account and I began to look at each cover letter and resume as a chance to grow as a professional. I am an annoyingly happy, positive person and I decided to let that shine through in my interactions with my colleagues.

Within a few months I had landed a full time librarian position. It still is a surprise to me that after two years of job hunting, once I made the commitment to myself I was able to find a position within a matter of months. I was told that it was my online presence that asked them to interview me and my positive outlook (and experience) that prompted them to offer the role to me.

My advice to anyone in a rut is to take an honest look at what you want and what you are doing to get there. Then really make your mark on the community; even the smallest of marks makes an impression to someone.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 20.5 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 

Tags: