It May Feel Weird, But You’ve Got This: How to Ask for Feedback about You

Career Blog

Published: May 5, 2021 by Jillian Collins

The first part of my conversation with iSchool instructor Scott Brown was focused on how the results of your skills inventory impact others. The Personal Brand Assessment (PBA), on the other hand, is how others have been impressed by your impact on them. With that, comes confidence and another definition of networking.

Reaching Out is Worth it

What is the first step of the PBA? Reaching out for feedback from people who know you. Scott has noticed “the biggest hurdle for people is that awkwardness.” Since you’re asking for people to tell you how you come across to them, it can feel like a social mis-step to us. However, taking that small leap gives great insight.

After reaching out, Scott has seen that the feedback you get is also tied into the direct goal of your PBA: “what surprises people, along with the feedback that they actually get, is that [the people who are giving feedback] are so readily able to give that feedback…” which proves that you are visible.

“And it’s right there,” Scott said, adding, “For most people soliciting feedback, that feedback [that others] give, is not hard to give.” Or, simply put: not only are you getting the PBA feedback, but you have already met its goal: people – that you take the step to reach out to – want to respond, and already have the best of you in mind.

Rethinking Networking

Information is our thing. It’s really hard to escape it, and that’s what makes information professionals, MLIS students, and anyone reading this part of the vast InfoVerse. And because we casually communicate and share knowledge every day, any interaction you have is an opportunity to learn. While I was talking to Scott, the concept of networking (in a professional sense) came up. It’s not going to conferences anymore (obviously). But while I was interviewing Scott, he mentioned an approach to networking that felt both simple and natural.

What was that approach? Conversations. “Just being able to… talk about the profession,” Scott noted, is the kind of activity we as information professionals do naturally, “…or [talking about] what you’re doing and hearing what somebody else is doing – that’s all tremendously valuable.” This conversational approach is natural, and something you can already do. Along with another insight Scott mentioned about mentoring, you can learn, but also teach.

Most importantly: You connect to opportunities.

Speaking of InfoVerse Networking…

Scott gave me permission to share his LinkedIn profile! It was so great to be able to talk with him for these posts, and it really shows how information comes from insight; insight is the way you reach out to someone. Insight grows from their response. That all shapes experiences. Within your career, you will be using these skills and honing them through experiences.

Information, right now, is a growing field. I would say it is the field – information has opportunities to be filled and found, and now is the time! As information professionals, either in training or established, we are always exploring new ideas. Always pursuing something, personally or professionally. If there is something that interests us, we investigate it. That passion is there, and we are open to learning more. It is important to listen to others, step back, and see their perspectives, too. That’s how we learn. The activity of information observation, and finding their perspective helps give us a little perspective, too. You never know what you will learn, who you will connect with, who will connect with you, and how those little moments are part of the timeline of now, to your dream career.

Or, as Scott put it, “A cultivator of your curiosity.

Additional Resources

Career Opportunities

  • Senior Research Editor and Special Projects. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA). Full-time. Apply via the Gates Foundation
  • Library Preparator, The Margaret Herrick Library. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Beverly Hills, CA). Part-Time. Apply via the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Mark Your Calendar!

SAASC Happy Hour: Ask Anything!  Hosted by SAASC

  • Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Pacific Time)
  • Location: Register here to attend this Zoom event

Career Workshop with Kim Dority: How to Build Your Professional Network (Without Feeling Weird About It)

  • Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Pacific Time)
  • Location: Zoom; check the event page for upcoming information to register for this event


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