As I mentioned awhile back, I’m participating in a CLA session called “Getting on (tenure) track: New Professionals and Academic Librarianship (Friday, May 27 from 8:30 – 10:00 am — be there!). Each presenter is going to try to do a bit of homework on various topics related to getting, and keeping an academic lie-berry job, and I thought it might be neat to bring up the topic of creating an professional online presence for yourself. Getting yourself set up on the Internetz is pretty much free, which makes it a great option for new and aspiring librarians, but it also shows a whole lot of initiative and even a bit of tech savvy. Which employers like. Of course this is an unconference-style session, so we don’t actually have any idea what’s going to happen, and what the attendees are going to want to talk about. Even still, here are some of the things I might bring up.
Oh, and if you’re not sure what the Internet is, Bryant Gumbel understands how you feel:
The most gigantic resume ever: Your professional blog.
First word of advice: Get a blog! I have one, have you heard of it? It’s at www.meghanecclestone.com, check it out!
Okay, but seriously: For every job I’ve ever gotten in Library Land, the boss-person has told me they had checked out my blog and thought it was impressive. Of course it’s NOT impressive — it’s just my ramblings and shameless self-promotion — but I think when people are looking to hire someone, they appreciate being able to get into a candidate’s head a bit more. I also like to post successes that might not fit on the ol’ C.V., but which I’m still proud of, and want people to know about. Be savvy with the web persona you create, and you can really use a blog as an extension of your resume. And in fact, my blog link is ON my resume — that’s how forward I am about the whole thing — and that really hasn’t steered me wrong yet. The people who are hiring new librarians want to see that your web-savvy, curious, and engaged with the professional field. Oblige them.
However saying is always easier than doing. Sometimes I really struggle to write, which is part of the reason I force myself to blog in the first place: To get pen to paper (you know, minus the pen and the paper) and sort out my thoughts about all things professional. To give myself some more wiggle room, I have placed a moratorium on posting during the summer months, and have allowed myself to sometimes write shorter, more superficial posts.
Recently I came across a great article from the WordPress blog called “Want to blog better in 2011? We’re here to help.” If you are struggling for inspiration, or not sure how to get started with blog posts, this is a great article to read. Here’s a quote on how to think of new ideas for posts:
Check out The Daily Post for a daily dose of writing tips and encouragement, or browse the Freshly Pressed posts or tag pages for inspiration. You can also combat writer’s block by tackling a thought-provoking Plinky prompt.
Keep in mind that the some of the best blogs are focused on one main subject and often target a specific audience. If you feel like you’re losing your focus, think about the reason why you started blogging in the first place, and how you define blogging success. Still feeling lost? Give these brainstorming exercises a shot.
Great stuff — thank you WordPress!
little things add up.
There are also neat little tools to help get your name out there. Some I’ve come across:
Visual C.V.: I have mentioned Visual C.V. in the past but it bears mentioning again. Visual C.V. is easy, and allows you to have a nicely formatted, functional online resume. Obviously, this program lies right at the intersection between resumes and the internetz, though I wish there was a bit more flexibility in terms of display and formatting. If you do have a blog with your resume already available on it, Visual C.V. can be redundant. But if you DON’T… This can be a nice start. Mine’s here.
About.me: It’s all about.me. Yes, that’s right. About.me’s tagline is, “to quickly build your personal profile page that points users to your content from around the web.” I created a little about.me profile in about 30 minutes, while watching Village on a Diet. http://about.me/mjeccestone. Fun? Sure. Useful?… I guess? Pretty? Definitely.
I think they have a long way to go in building up their functionality, but for now, the free+easy combination means you should have one.
Moo cards: Design your own (cheap) business cards using Moo Cards’ sassy little layouts and fonts. Hands those out at conferences, networking events, and job fairs. I would be impressed if someone went to the trouble of making these and making them pretty, regardless of their skills, talents or personality. Maybe someone in a position to hire you might feel the same way.
On a similar note, my pal Megan found a great example of how librarians have used business cards as social media calling cards. A great way to make the connections from in-person exchanges to that fabulous professional web presence you went and created (right?). Maybe throw the links from your blog, Visual C.V., and about.me profile on there? Just a thought!
Not for the feint hearted.
Finally, my friend Kim shared an article from Mashable about creating video resumes. Um — intense! That takes some courage and some mean video editing skills. I can’t do that, and probably won’t, but I do wonder… what would lie-berry land make of such a thing? Do you think the average hiring committee would be cool with it, or think it’s weird?
Here is my favourite example from the Mashable article:
So that’s my little list of fun and pretty easy things you can do go build a web presence. As I have learned: You don’t just get to have a job because you have a library degree. It’s important to stick out in as many ways as you can, and this is something you can do in your jammies, so it’s a good place to start!