In managing the trajectory of your career, one of the most important assets you have is your reputation. What other people think of…

  • you as a colleague, leader, or team member,
  • your workplace performance, and
  • your behaviour around others, including clients and stakeholders.

…will impact their ability to consider you for promotions internally, as well as job opportunities in other organisations.

I am sure you have heard the saying ‘your reputation precedes you’. That was true before social media and the internet, and it’s even more acute now since there are so many ways we can learn about each other online.

I encourage you to take an active role in protecting and managing your reputation. And in this podcast episode, I discuss a few ideas that I believe you can use to help you showcase your competence, likeability, and credibility as a professional.

For example, these days, you probably wouldn’t visit a restaurant or book an Airbnb without consulting their online reviews, am I right? And if you don’t check, you know you’re taking a risk, which is exciting for a small investment, such as a meal. But when you are buying something expensive, let’s say a car or a house, you will do your due diligence and research and make sure you are making the best possible investment for your money, right?

Well, recruiting and promoting a professional happens in the same way. It’s unlikely that anyone will hire, promote, accept an introduction, or invite you for a conversation without first checking your credentials either with a reference or by doing an online search.

These tips below will show you not only how you might be sabotaging your career progression without knowing you’re doing it but also how to take corrective action.

Your reputation will enhance or decrease your gravitas

In The Job Hunting Podcast episodes 82 and 83, we have discussed executive presence and gravitas. However, no matter how good your gravitas is as you walk into a job interview or an important meeting, your reputation precedes you.

The people in the room already have an opinion of you. So the interview will either help you reinforce their positive opinion (if they already like and trust you) or have the opposite effect. And this is why executive presence, gravitas, and reputation go hand in hand. And this is why I recorded the three episodes of The Job Hunting Podcast as a series, 8283, and 84.

Your reputation is not on show so much in your cover letter or resume. Here are some examples of what you need to manage:

  • Your social media activity on LinkedIn and other platforms.
  • Your performance at your current job.
  • How you relate to your work colleague.

Walking into an important meeting with a good idea of what people’s opinions are and how you can enhance your strengths and mitigate any issues is a learned skill. I can attest that it is possible to turn up as the dark horse and win the race.

People’s opinion of you

If people can form an opinion of you before they meet you, you need to manage your reputation as much as possible. But reputation management is not just thinking you are doing a good job and that others like you. Instead, reputation management is you seeking out and proactively asking others for feedback about your work and your management style, listening to the feedback, and improving upon it.

Think about your reputation in the same way the company you work for protects theirs. After all, as a professional, you bring in revenue for your household, and you need to protect that revenue generation for years to come, yes? As a coach, I am always surprised that corporate professionals are very strategic when helping the organizations they work for but neglect to work on their careers strategically.

Here is an exercise you can do:

  1. contact 10 connections: childhood friends, former and existing work colleagues, etc.
  2. Ask them how they would describe your qualities and your weaknesses to others.
  3. I know it’s awkward for you, and they might feel uncomfortable too. But explain to them that this is an important exercise to support your career development, and you need to hear the good and the bad so you can learn and prepare for upcoming opportunities.

Your online presence

It’s essential to manage your online presence if you are serious about managing your reputation. This applies not only to your LinkedIn profile and activity but also to other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and what shows up when you google your name.

  • The easiest exercise you can do is open a new incognito window on your browser and review what shows up.
  • Decide what on LinkedIn should be public and what should be private. 
  • Decide if your Facebook and Instagram accounts should be public or private. 
  • Review and manage your Twitter account with your professional reputation in mind.

How you manage and explain success and failure

I want you to consider – and manage to the best of your ability – how you’re describing your successes and your failures.

It’s okay to fail. We all fail a lot throughout our careers. But how do you communicate and overcome failure? This is really important, especially if you have been let go from your previous job. You can continue to have an amazing career despite setbacks. However, your confidence in your skills and experience need to take the front seat when you’re going to be interrogated about why you left the organization and what your plans are.

If there is something in your career that you think needs to be addressed or could be brought up in an interview, it’s better that you bring it up in the interview. Don’t let it be the elephant in the room. If you feel confident about your answer, that’s your truth and will resonate well with the listener.

Conclusion

The truth is that this social proof holds weight, whether you’re deciding where to eat in a new city or tracking down the references of a potential hire. What other people think about you and how they speak of you matters to your career. Your reputation will always precede you. And these days, with everything searchable in just a click of a button, managing that is really important.

I hope that the ideas I shared in this post and on the podcast episode will help you start paying attention to your reputation and that it helps you achieve your career goals. Also, don’t forget to listen to Episode 84 of The Job Hunting Podcast: there’s way more information in there, so listen to it now!

If you would like to learn more from me:

This article was originally published on the The Job Hunting Podcast blog.

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