Sometimes the idea of “Reputation Management” seems like a big business thing, but each one of us has a reputation, right? Your reputation is not based on who you actually are or what you actually do. Reputations are what other people say you do and who they think you are based on what is being said.
Why Are Reputations So Important?
Reputations are important because they either limit us or allow us to grow. A reputation for always doing a good job is going to be pretty helpful when a prospective employer checks your references, but if you never finish what you start, that may be what keeps you from being hired.
With all the technology we use today, reputations are global. You might need help with your online branding or you may think you have it under control, but the reality is that nobody controls what people are saying about you by clicking a button and making them stop. What happens is influence of opinion based on data collected over time.
Job candidates are viewed in light of all the data that can be compiled about them. That includes references, past employers, and anything that comes up on the internet via social media sites and search engines.
What Can You Do About It?
First, be someone who has integrity and actually is the kind of person you hope people see you as. Next, look at what your track record is and do what you can to fix anything in your power. Some things cannot be changed, so be prepared to show how you will be different because you learned your lesson.
You see this in the public arena quite often: the politician or celebrity makes a gigantic error in judgement. The way they handle the fallout determines how the public discourse about it proceeds. On a private level in the workplace, people who know you will give you the benefit of the doubt if all the other things they know about you are positive. Online, the strategy has to fit the scenario, but the idea of keeping the most recent information positive is usually the best idea for reputation management.
Your career and your reputation are intertwined and cannot really be separated, so it’s important to be aware of how others view your contributions.