Using technology to tailor your professional identity

Anastasia Gould, Head Editor, INALJ Nunavut, INALJ Yukon, INALJ Northwest Territories

Using technology to tailor your professional identity

Anastasia GouldNew technologies figured prominently at this year’s OLA (Ontario Library Association) conference, one of the largest in Canada. It was a welcome opportunity for LIS students and working professionals to explore the ways in which new technologies are catalysts for change in information organizations, and tools for improving access and service delivery. This post is the first in a series on the ways for “Using technology to …” in developing your LIS practice.

This week’s OLA presentations and posters highlighted the range of ways in which new technologies are serving communities, be they communities of interest or practice or geography. As members of a community of practice, LIS students and professionals are turning to new technologies—including social media—to tailor their professional identity. The following is a summary of the OLA session presented by York University’s Meghan Ecclestone and Kim Stymest about this phenomenon with recommended resources and approaches.


Your professional identity will evolve with your career—each influencing the other. How you convey your values, strengths and goals as you progress along your professional path is up to you. You may think of it as crafting your professional brand or career narrative. In turn, you may convey this message as you make connections in the real world via conferences, volunteering, communications; and in the digital world through your eportfolio or social media presence.

Selection committees look to social media when assessing a potential candidate. This is why your eportfolio could become an extension of your résumé: you could include in your résumé a link to your professional blog or website, plus your LinkedIn profile and Twitter account. The goal in creating a digital identity is to demonstrate your familiarity with new technologies while remaining consistent across platforms and demonstrating a reflective professional practice.

Establishing a web presence

To that end, you could start your own blog. The LIS community of practitioners and employers welcomes active participation in discussions around developing skills, issues considered and challenges overcome. When it comes to the technology, I find WordPress easy to use, whereas some of my peers prefer Blogger and other blogging hosts.

If you think a blog is limited to text, though, I invite you to reconsider: embedding elements like a link to your visual résumé will showcase your technology skills while making your blog an interactive and engaging space where visitors want to return regularly. Like your blog, embedded elements require manual updating. Whenever you change one element of your digital identity, you need to update the rest to ensure consistency and accuracy—an important step toward establishing your credibility.

A visual résumé is a welcome change from the traditional text-only account of your knowledge and experience, with varying ratios of text to graphics—here are three examples to illustrate the concept: For inspiration in designing your visual résumé, see the infographic visual résumés at Pinterest. Then, when you are ready to get creative, you will find images to incorporate from flickr (best to use images with a Collective Commons license only) and Google images (on the page of search results, select Search Tools then “labeled for reuse”, or set comparable “usage rights” in the Advanced Image Search). Once it is ready to share, the link to your visual résumé may be included in your email signature and  Twitter account, as well as your blog.