Reputation management is like keeping a window clean so it doesn’t hinder the view. I don’t know about you, but the windows at my house don’t get cleaned until I realize they are obstructing my ability to see outside. Ideally, those windows should be kept clean on a schedule so it never gets that bad. Holding off on doing anything about accumulating dirt isn’t really a good idea with windows or with reputation management.
Scheduled Maintenance Keeps Little Issues Small
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your online reputation by regularly doing some searches on all variations of your name. Remember to log out of any Google accounts so your search results aren’t skewed. Set up alerts for your name so you see when something comes up. You may not be doing anything at all, but a real threat is that a hacker could do some damage before you realize it is happening.
If you are looking at your online persona regularly, you can catch an issue and deal with it before it becomes a big problem.
Proactive Measures Prevent Problems
Ideally, you have two email addresses: One for business and one for personal use.
Social media can make it hard to keep business and personal identities separate, but privacy settings and separate accounts help. The problem is that it is easy to figure out who people are if you have any search skills at all, and employers are very good at researching candidates.
When you are regularly adding positive content to your online presence, there’s a growing momentum of good stuff to find. Reputation management and your career might feel like all you do is wash the windows, but clean windows let people see who you are. The more clearly you are able to show your professional and positive contributions, the better your reputation online. In short, reputation management is about keeping the view clear so the world can see what you actually have to offer.
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.
3 Reasons You Might Need Help With Online Branding
Online branding is hard to avoid if you are going to be involved with society. It’s actually happening whether or not you want it to, because some of your information is probably online already. Don’t believe me? Try doing a search on your name — I’ll wait.
This is why you need to “own” your online brand. Maybe there was a lot of entries with your name, maybe just a few, but when you submit your resume to a company, the name on your resume is what they will search. It’s a very important part of your professional package. But sometimes, you need to get help in order to get your online brand what it needs to be. Here are three possible reasons to ask for that help:
You are overwhelmed with all that is going on in your life right now. Sometimes life throws a real curve ball and you are starting over from square one. It could be a divorce, a death or major illness, coming back into the workforce after a hiatus, a family emergency, or even a natural disaster. If there is too much on your plate, this is one thing you can delegate to a professional.
You don’t really know what you are doing with the whole computer thing. You are learning, but you are afraid of making a mistake. I always tell newbies to the computer age, ‘You can’t break it!’ Getting professional help will give you a confident start and you can take it from there. Or you can learn as you go and try it out. Either way it’s a reality you will need to face –e-commerce, for example– you can’t go to an actual Amazon “store”… you need to order online to get what you want from there. Start small and work your way up to profile creation.
You now realize that you blew it big time. You have been buzzing along posting selfies and crazy party photos, and now you wish you’d listened when your mom told you to be discreet. She was right and now you are sorry, but you have no idea what to do about it. A professional would have experience in this area and could help. We help with reputation management and can help you clean up your digital dirt. Then you can tell all the tweens you know to heed your warning.
Professional Resume Services offers several types of online branding help, from LinkedIn Profile Development to Online Branding/Profile Development Coaching and even an Online Branding Power Package (all on the link; scroll down and see). It’s also part of what is offered in our Coaching Services. If you need help with your online brand, you can find it here!
Just recently one big pharmaceutical company was fined 1.2 billion dollars for failing to disclose possible serious side effects of one of their FDA-approved drugs. Some companies take these fines in stride as the cost of doing business. Other potential employers realize that there are risks of employing someone from a company who repeatedly breaks the law. Think hard about how one of these companies will look on your resume before you accept a job. Protect your professional reputation. You are a perceived liability to future employers when you work at a company with major infractions – so major that they are paying out big dollars in fines. If the company thinks it’s okay to do business this way, then you as their employee may be perceived as someone who bends or breaks the law at work, when in reality you actually are a very ethical employee. But today’s employers are not only concerned with what you do on the job, they also want to ensure that their employees represent them well outside of the workplace. While many people feel that their personal and professional lives should be separate, in today’s social media-saturated world, what you do outside of work could also affect your chances of being hired for a new job. The recent rash of people faking their educational credentials on their resumes has employers doing full background checks, not just on educational credentials, but credit checks, Department of Motor Vehicles checks, drug screenings and anything else that can turn up infractions or crimes. Your best option if you have DUI’s on your record, or if you have served jail time, is to admit to it up front on a background check. You may still be able to work for the company that wishes to hire you, especially if you will not be driving or handling money or other valuables while on the job. However, the best way to protect your reputation is to not engage in any behavior that will disqualify you on a background check in the first place.
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