I built my LinkedIn profile last year when I saw a career counsellor, but it has been rather neglected since then. I decided to re-introduce it into my life last month and have updated it to reflect my current situation and career goals. Since joining the LinkedIn community, I have been contacted about several job opportunities, but they have been nursing in rural communities, which is not something I am open to.
I decided to build my profile around my current career aspirations and the experience and skills I have gained whilst studying for my MIS(LIP). I have also highlighted skills and achievements I have gained in my previous career. I believe the skills gained and honed in nursing, such as customer service, teamwork and communication, are transferable to any career. As I learn more skills during my study, I will update my profile accordingly. Similarly, as I complete my professional placements, I will add them and reflect on what I learn. My LinkedIn profile will progress from a neglected area of my life to a growing and evolving showcase of my skills, knowledge and experience.
I do however need to make an effort to make connections if I want my profile to shine in the library world. In the past, I have relied on people making the first move, due to my introverted personality, but I think it is time to take control and start connecting. I have made 28 connections in the library world at the time of writing and have requested 4 more, who have not responded. I am still not comfortable trying to connect with people I have not met or lecturers, but I feel this may change as I build my network and it has got easier as more people have accepted my requests. I will also request connections as I progress through my fieldwork, particularly as they will be working in the field that I am interested in. I am also joining relevant LinkedIn groups such as thee Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and following potential employers.
I think LinkedIn has a role to play in the library and information professional field. However, I don’t feel it is as central as in other professions, as I think Twitter is the networking place choice for this group. I have therefore concentrated on building my professional network on this platform, steadily building up my followers and those I follow as I become more active. I prefer Twitter to LinkedIn for this reason, but I think they can work together, with Twitter being used to establish contacts and LinkedIn for showcasing achievements to these contacts.
I think I have gained a deeper understanding of my transferable skills by building my LinkedIn profile. I will endeavour to maintain it as my skills develop and as I gain experience within the field. However, this will be a fruitless exercise if I don’t get my profile seen by employers, so I will build up my network and ensure I include my profile details on my curriculum vitae and e-portfolio.