Thing 3: Consider your personal brand

I stalled a bit with this particular thing. I don’t have a gorgeous flashy blog. I refuse to pay to have it “made-over” and I am not graphically creative enough to make it look the way I would really like. This all may change in the future – who knows? That being said, the broader concept of creating and maintaining a brand for yourself seems so important in today’s professional world of being a librarian. Being willing to be “branded” in certain ways has opened the doors for me in the past. At my old job I was known as the knitting/gardening/cooking nutty gal-librarian. This means a lot of reference questions were tossed my way on those subjects, I was given the chance to design programs around those topics, and I got to mix in what I love to do in my off time with my job. Being branded or having it known that I was “into” those things helped me get introduced and maintain relationships that opened up doors for me in other ways. Often I would get introduced to really interesting people who I could then get to know and involve them in other things at the library. An example would be a volunteer who likes to garden and we would chat about that and then that person became more aware of new gardening books that came on the shelves or upcoming programs that were being planned. Small things that basically when added together add up to smiles and job satisfaction.

When I went looking for a job I had to think about how to package up my professional activities in a way that made me stand out. Just a resume really wasn’t going to cut it. I had to look at how I was portrayed online with the things I was writing about on my personal blog at the time, and the things I was tweeting about, and the things that popped up on Google about me. I am glad that I have nothing to be embarrassed about with my online activities. I am glad that I had a lot of “stuff” to choose from when I started working on my online portfolio. Doing stuff like blogging and portfolio creation makes me feel a bit awkward — it is self promotion, and that is not comfortable to someone who has chosen librarianship so that she can help others. This is current the reality, however. The professional world (in most industries) is competitive, and it requires thinking outside the standard old way to not only find the next great job, but really to keep the one you have.

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