Brands are big business and they are everywhere. Whether it is The Book of Kells, The Web Summit or Electric Picnic, each of these brands has something in common; they are well known. You either know what they are or can easily find out.
The iconic Book of Kells at Trinity College is a must on a trip to Dublin and in the internet technologies sector; the Irish based Web Summit really means something. Anyone between the ages of 18 & 34 in Ireland knows what the Electric Picnic is all about. These are high profile brands and all are commercially reliant on brand recognition for their continued success and profits.
So are individuals any different? Do private citizens need a profile, or a brand? Why is it important to have a brand? I believe we all need a brand, to be known for something, and to be visible online in a way that best represents us professionally. We need to have an online CV, a summary of what we want people to know about us, our story is our brand and we can and should control it.
Are you in control of your brand?
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One of the first things that recruiting managers do when faced with a list of applicants for particular roles is to search for the candidates name on Google. An interesting exercise for you to do would be to Google yourself in incognito mode (follow the steps here). This is what a prospective employer or work colleague will see if they search for you.
Are you happy with the results you see? Have you got an inappropriate or out of date profile photo on your online profile(s).Photos from your college days or wedding photos where you are perhaps not looking as professional as you’d like are not the best choice for a professional profile.
Take a good quality selfie, use your workplace photo or ask a friend who is good with a camera to take your photo. When you’ve got an image of yourself that you like, save it in your My Pictures folder on your computer and use it for all of your professional online profiles e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
You use it every day but is it really you? Are you Mary Kelly at work but Mary Hennessy-Kelly, or Mary Hennessy on LinkedIn and Twitter?
How will people know for sure that it’s you, the same Mary that is applying for this job, that did a great project or led some innovation that the world needs to know about?
Using the Google results that you got when you searched in incognito mode, make a list of the sites on which you have a profile. Log into each service and make sure that your name appears consistently on each one. With a consistent name and that smashing new photo your online brand is starting to look better already.
Your Online CV
If you haven't already signed up to LinkedIn, this week’s task is to do that. Once you've signed up you will be guided step-by-step through the process of filling in the rest of your profile. Now that you know your online name and have a great photo you are half way there.
Dust off your CV and use this as a starting point when filling in your employment history. You can list projects and major achievements, qualifications and informal training as well as skills. You can also input links to any online work or articles that you are responsible for.
A LinkedIn profile goes far beyond the traditional CV - this is your brand, your chance to dazzle.
Here is a link to an infographic from Link Humans which illustrates all the elements to a LinkedIn profile. You can also view this on our Pinterest board.Two elements of your linkedin profile to consider carefully are your professional headline and your summary.
Your professional headline will appear when someone searches for you on Google. Think carefully about this – you don’t have to use your job title. Select keywords that really represent you. If you are a cataloguer, but you don’t want to be associated with cataloguing in the new roles you are seeking then don’t put cataloguing in your professional headline.
Your summary is a way to convey who you are, how you got to this point in your professional career and where you expect your career to take you next. Make sure you are accurate with the information you post on your profile; it has to match what you would submit in a traditional job application.
Now you are ready to start networking. You can easily reach out to colleagues, or to the Rudaí23 people, to start making LinkedIn connections (friends). Be careful about sending connect requests to people you don’t know – consider how they will react. Here are links to the profiles of some of the Rudaí23 collaborators on LinkedIn:
Michelle Breen https://ie.linkedin.com/in/michellebreen
Stephanie Ronan https://ie.linkedin.com/pub/stephanie-ronan/30/7ba/6
Niamh O’Donovan https://ie.linkedin.com/in/niamhodonovan1
LinkedIn GroupsAnother powerful networking tool available on LinkedIn is Groups. Take a look at the groups that your work colleagues are members of as starting points. Limit yourself to three or four groups to begin with as there can be a lot of news coming through from discussions in these groups.Eventually you should aim to share articles or opinions on the groups but for starters, it’s OK to just join up and watch from the wings.
Some recommended groups for you to join include Social Media in Libraries and the CILIP group and of course our own group Rudaí 23. Some groups are closed and you have to request to join them. Don't let this deter you, this is usually just to avoid spam requests.
Your Professional URLWhen you’re happy with your profile the next step is to take a look at your public profile and create a public URL. This is beneficial for two reasons:
- You have a ready to share personal URL that you can add to all job applications
- You come across in a professional manner, dedicated to presenting information well by having a customised URL that showcases your work experience and skills
The option to edit your public profile and URL can be found underneath your profile photo. When you click on the settings wheel beside the URL you will be shown what your profile will look like to other LinkedIn members. Here you can edit your URL so that it contains just your name and also decide which parts of your profile you want to remain visible.
Another way to achieve a public URL and get your own webpage is to set up an About.Me profile. This is also free and can be set up in a matter of minutes. One of the features of About.me is the option to create a shareable business card which you can share with other About.me users at networking events. Take a look at our contributor Wayne's About.me profile here.
Online networking sites such as LinkedIn are free advertising for your brand in a very large and busy shop window. To develop your brand and get your online profile in good shape follow the tips above. LinkedIn and About.Me are free and essential tools if you are looking for work in libraries, or any sector.
Your tasks for Thing 3 are:
- Create a LinkedIn and/or About.Me profile page
- Develop your professional brand by adding a photograph and some information about yourself
- Join the Rudaí23 group on LinkedIn and introduce yourself
- Write a blog post about your experience with Linkedin or About.me and your professional brand. What's your professional brand all about?
This Professional Brand post was written by one of the Rudaí23 collaborators, Michelle Breen, a librarian at the University of Limerick ie.linkedin.com/in/michellebreen