This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 3: Consider your personal brand
This week’s task is to consider your personal brand. The word ‘brand’ has all sorts of marketing connotations and, like several other cpd23-ers, I’m not keen on thinking of myself as a product. Yes, there are times when I need to sell myself, job interviews being a good example, but I don’t want to do so all the time. However, I do care what people think of me so have been thinking of this task more as considering how people perceive me online (largely thanks to Ned Potter’s talk at the CILIP New Professionals Day which I blogged about a few days ago).
When I started this blog I spent a long time deciding what to call it. I know that titles are often what draws me into reading a blog for the first time so I didn’t just want to use my name. I also wanted to make it obvious the blog is library-related, though with hindsight I’m not sure that is so important. I chose The Library Cauldron as it was meant to represent my mixing pot of thoughts – somewhere I could talk about lots of different library-related things, though I’ve been wondering what other connotations it has. Witches, magic, fiction, potions? An interesting comment I’ve had from
medievaljenga is that the image on the blog reminds her of Harry Potter, making her think I’d be a school/children’s librarian – which I’m not. @
The photograph of me I use on this blog is the one I use on my profiles on all the social networks I use professionally. Hopefully it helps people who see my profile elsewhere realise that The Library Cauldron, Lizzie Atkinson and @library_lizzie are all the same person. I expect how people perceive me initially is probably more dependent on content on twitter than on this blog. I know that if I’m trying to decide whether to follow someone on twitter I’ll read their bio and recent tweets, but ignore the background, colour scheme etc, while blogs with visual impact do affect whether I keep reading. Maybe that’s because tweets are shorter or perhaps just because blogs differ more as it’s possible to have more control over them.
But how do I come across to people who don’t follow/stumble across me on this blog or twitter? Most importantly, how would a potential employer perceive me from my online presence? When I googled my name (having logged out of google – I hope this did make sure the results weren’t personalised) I was pleasantly surprised by the results. My LinkedIn profile was the first result with my twitter profile and a blog post I wrote introducing myself on the Oxford graduate trainees blog also on the first page of results. Adding the word library to my search terms resulted in more success – every result on the first page refered to me in some way! LinkedIn featured highly with lists of people on LinkedIn who share my name coming up too. My LISNPN profile and an online guide to referencing and reference management software I wrote as part of my work at the Bodleian Libraries were also on the first page of results. So, all good things for a potential employer to see, though I do need to do a bit of work on my LinkedIn profile which is currently a little neglected. This blog didn’t appear until page 4 of the results which I found a bit disappointing as I doubt anyone would bother looking that far. I guess that’s one of the cons of my blog title having nothing to do with my name.
Finally, if anyone has any comments on how they perceive me from this blog, twitter or even in person I would be very interested to hear them.