cpd23 Thing 3 — personal brand

The cpd thing for this week is to examine our personal brands. This is something that I’ve been trying to keep in mind for a couple of months now, since I am searching for my first library job. In fact, that was my reason for setting up this webpage/blog.

One of the hardest parts of setting up this site was deciding on a name. Is it better to go with just my name (fitting for the CV section) or to come up with a more creative name? As you can see, I decided to just go with my name, but now I’m wondering if that was a poor choice. At the ALA conference, I met someone who is also doing the cpd23 program, and she said she looked at most of the blogs but skipped all of the ones where people just used their names as the title. Is this the common reaction or do most people not care either way?

Moving on to the activity portion of thing 3… I have Googled myself regularly since I started thinking about starting to apply for jobs. Though Google is the most popular search engine, I recommend also trying Bing or Yahoo — they bring up some different results than what appears on Google. All three of those search engines illustrate the value of having an uncommon name — the first 3+ pages are all me, except for the occasional whitepages listing.

On Google, most of the results on the first two pages are items that I’ve posted since starting to think about my personal brand — content on this site, twitter postings, my LinkedIn profile, etc. On Yahoo, there is more of a mix, including a classmates.com listing from several years ago (I directed people to my myspace page to see info without having to pay for access!) and a profile on a jewelry makers network that I haven’t touched in close to a year. I don’t mind these — if anything, the jewelry makers network one shows another side to me.

However, the one result that pops up near the top on Google (and 5th on Yahoo) that I wish I could get rid of is a ratemyprofessors.com listing from when I taught an intro level anthropology course. That class was a learning experience — I was nowhere near prepared to teach a 200 person lecture course when I got that assignment. So I probably shook like a leaf for the first month or so of teaching, and I stumbled on several points throughout the year. For example, exams were often a fiasco — until I did it, I had NO IDEA how difficult it was to write a good exam question! Then try writing 50 of them! Some always turned out to be bad questions that I had to throw out.

More importantly, each class included a huge range of students, from the freshman who was taught creationism in high school biology (not slamming anyone’s beliefs, but this does not provide a foundation for understanding paleoanthropology and hominid evolution) to the freshman who had AP evolutionary biology in high school to the senior anthropology major who realized that this basic intro level course was required to graduate… So it was incredibly challenging to figure out how to do a lecture that balanced the needs of so many students, and it’s easy to find yourself either talking way over some peoples’ heads or boring others to sleep.

So I did my best, I learned a lot, but I got a lot of negative reviews because I struggled. And that sucks. Especially when I want to get a job doing information literacy instruction.

If any of you know how to knock such a big site out of the results, I’d love to hear it! I don’t know whether this one result is hurting me or not. If anyone is looking at it, hopefully addressing it here will mitigate the negative?

Otherwise, I feel pretty good about how my personal brand is developing so far. To improve, I need to blog more regularly and comment more regularly on other blogs, and generally maintain a steady level of activity. Any other suggestions?