by Stephanie Leigh Taylor, Head Editor, INALJ British Columbia
Creating your brand as a job searcher
When we’re looking for a job, especially these days, it’s tough to have your personality come through on an online application form. This is where branding yourself online, using social media and blogging, are definite aids in the job search. With the advent of Web 2.0 libraries and technically savvy hiring committees, having an online, branded presence can help show online what employers might not be able to see in person.
The three major areas that you need to consider when creating a personal brand are Analyzing, Launching and Maintaining. You analyze who you are: your skills, education, professional experience, specializations, passions and niches. If you can brand yourself as the master of a niche skill, employers will take notice – while it may not be the skill or specialization you’re ultimately hired for, it can only help, especially as a way to get your name out there. Also analyze how you are perceived personally & professionally; what do friends, colleagues and customers say about working with you? Keep in mind your online reputation – what does Google say about you? Think about what you want to achieve in your career and how to get it – what’s your market for your employment search, and are you searching a market that’s too small or specialized?
Creating your brand means an online presence that is memorable -when launching your personal brand, keep in mind the images and words you use should be dynamic & memorable, and engage in some storytelling about yourself. Remember, employers may be basing the decision of whether or not to offer you an interview by what’s coming up under your name, without ever having met you, so give readers some idea of who you are and whether or not they’d like to actually work with you. When launching your brand, create a network: your blog should be your home, and use social networking as a way to interact and share with others in the field. Follow experts and colleagues, actively participate in groups, committees and forums in your field, and when you’re offline, generate content by visiting events and conferences.
Creating original content is a great way to get yourself noticed, especially if your content is picked up by others. Not a writer? You can still post pictures you’ve taken at events, library-related memes you make, or your own podcasts or videos. If you’ve never done these things, learn! You want to show that you can learn new things on the fly and that you’re up on the trends and technology relevant to the field. Remember to get involved with others online – comments you generate on other blogs or social media can be seen by employers, helping them get an idea of who you are; blogs that exist in a vacuum seldom flourish. Conversation and sharing are key, as you want to show that you have impeccable interpersonal skills, both online and off.
Lastly, to maintain your brand, keep updated on the library news and trends, and monitor what’s being reported about libraries. You want to continue to generate content for employers to see – abandoning your fledgling efforts will be worse than doing nothing.