• Wikimedia Australia Wikimedia Australia
  • Ryan Donahue Ryan Donahue
  • Sue Gardner Sue Gardner
  • Ruth Kneale Ruth Kneale Ruth Kneale sponsored by the State Library of Queensland
  • Stuart Candy Stuart Candy Keynote Speaker, Dr Stuart Candy - Professional futurist
  • Ingrid Parent Ingrid Parent Ingrid Parent
  • Jenica Rogers Jenica Rogers Jenica Rogers sponsored by the State Library of Queensland
  • Marcus Foth Marcus Foth
  • NLS6 NLS6
Dec 052012
 

Thought about how to present yourself as an information professional lately?

Today, we’re likely to be entities in ourselves. We’re not going to be with the one employer our entire career. A thoughtful and, dare I say it, strategic approach is required to build an identity (and brand) so that others in the profession and our professional networks or communities, may know who we are and what we (can) bring to the profession.

The terms ‘brand’ and ‘identity’ tend to be used synonymously when discussing or providing advice on building and managing a personal brand. I invite those keen to learn more to seek their own understandings of these terms. I may stir the pot here by saying they’re two different things.
Please, ponder it.

Building a professional identity doesn’t happen overnight. I’d go a far as saying we will constantly be shaping our professional identities. It’s not just about setting up a Twitter handle or Linkedin profile. I guess you can think of your professional identity as what is uniquely you as an information professional. What do you bring? Try thinking about your professional identity as a piece of a giant puzzle, this being the picture of the profession’s skills, knowledge and expertise. Okay, so you’re not going to know all of this straight away as a newbie to the profession. And I’m just putting ideas on the table here. But you may be eager to share your thoughts, reactions and ideas in the profession. That’s great! Different experiences provide a valuable source – alternative perspectives and understanding. Sharing your fresh thinking about LIS issues shed light on new knowledge, ways of doing things and approaches to challenges.

A professional identity is communicated via a brand, made up of reputation, identity and professional relationships. A brand is like a storefront. It encapsulates what it is you’d like others to see as your contribution, your piece of the puzzle. Communicating your identity takes place in the connections you develop and the contribution you make to your professional network of peers. You might have a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a blog, a Linkedin profile, may pin stuff on Pinterest or display your presentations on Slideshare. It is important to consider how all of these channels are presented, and how they can consistently communicate your professional identity.

The ‘Building and managing your professional identity’ workshop at NLS6 with Matthias Liffers and myself will provoke thought and discussion around the drivers for being in the online space and provide an opportunity to fine tune the use of professional networking tools.

Now try thinking about how your professional networking tools, what you’ve achieved and what you’re currently doing in your job or in the profession could come together and be presented on one website. Take it a step further. Show potential employers that you can create a web presence and build your own professional “home” site. Get your hands dirty with a full-day WordPress workshop presented by Kathryn Greenhill.

Participants have a little homework to do before the workshop. Kathryn explains this in a short video and it’s as hard as ordering a book through Amazon.com and as expensive as buying a cup of coffee a month. It involves buying hosting at bluehost.com and choosing a domain name. Participants will leave the workshop with their site configured and set up on the web. The setup will cost around $110 up front. Instructions will be provided, but it is essential to complete this a couple of days before the workshop.

Now in case you missed the useful resources above, here they are again to get you started.