Creating your online profile communicates who you are, what you can do, and what makes you "special" 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 looking 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, you have determined that you are passionate about Innovative Library Services and you are a Creative Problem Solver, or 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, maybe you have identified that you have Strong Teaching Capabilities, you have experience with Current Technologies and Information Literacy Instruction, you have excellent Researching skills, and you are adept at Designing and Producing Research Guides and Information Literacy Tutorials.
- 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, in your internship you took the initiative to collaborate with a co-worker and implement an Interactive Multimedia Instruction Tutorial. The tutorial is currently used in the library today.
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Pick your top 3-5 accomplishments.
For example, maybe these relate to a class project, a community service volunteer experience, maybe you have a 4.0 GPA, maybe you have been recognized for outstanding achievement, and perhaps you streamlined a process that is currently being used today. Think big and small about what you have accomplished.
- In what area can you develop your "expertise"?
It can often be hard to think of ourselves in terms of having an expertise, so perhaps think of what you are most passionate about and that often can translate into your area of expertise. Be sure to share your expertise, your opinion, and/or your unique thoughts on a topic by posting the information online and/or by responding to posted questions.
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.