You have a reputation, whether you want one or not. Basically, a reputation is what others think of you. What’s your “reputation”? How did you get it? How can a tarnished reputation hurt you?
There are many different types of “reputations” that professionals can get. Some are good, while others are not. Make sure your reputation is first-rate and not tarnished by factors that you can’t control. Most all of your reputation is within your power to manage. You need to be aware of people, situations and conditions that add or subtract from that precious commodity called “your reputation”.
POSITIVE: Manage your reputation proactively, whether it’s with your current or past employers, association memberships, educational institutions and so on. The most obvious factor reflecting on your reputation is the references from past bosses. Keep those positive, as these references tend to stay with you for a long time. Professional associations are also points of references that are of value. The most accepted references to your reputation are from professional peers who can attest to your competence, potential, ability and interpersonal relations as a member of a productive team.
NEGATIVE: All the items in the Positive listing above can be turned into a negative: Current or past bosses, professional relationships with peers, or being a difficult person to work with. Of course it’s easier to manage these factors in real time rather than trying to fix an opinion after the fact. You can, however, influence some negative experiences by providing positive actions like: Letting them know about promotional jobs you’ve heard about, supporting ideas of peers you usually disagree with, make positive comments about their project within a group meeting. In other words, make nice.
MONITORING: Check on all of your social media profiles, even those of your friends. College classmates may have photos or stories that may be misunderstood by others. Your reputation can be compromised by a Tweet or Facebook post and cause an image management nightmare. Periodically check your LinkedIn profile to make sure it’s accurate, especially if you have a resume in the hands of a potential employer. Any differences between the two, especially dates, responsibilities or unaccountable time-lines will cause your candidacy to be stopped. Also, make a copy of your personnel file. Know what’s in there.
CHANGES: It’s always better to anticipate changes that need to be made to your reputation than to react to events. Pre-solve a potential problem. Once an event takes place it takes an enormous effort to modify or reverse the effects to your reputation. On the other hand, anything that’s positive to your reputation, develop a strategy to expand the communication or enhance the exposure. Example: If you receive a professional award, send that information to your alumni association, local newspaper and put it on your resume.
You control about 90% of your reputation by managing it well and monitoring your public exposure
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