Your reputation is your credibility rating in the business world. It’s how people judge whether to trust you, hire you, recommend you, and do business with you. That makes your reputation worth polishing and protecting! Never forget that what you do and say both online and in the real world will always affect your reputation, adding or subtracting from it. You know your career information is public, as you put it on every job application and networking site. Are you aware that your social media and even your personal transactions can be public and affect your reputation, too? Here are some tips for staying aware and caring for your reputation.
Polish Your Reputation
- Create your personal brand and promote it regularly so your message stays positive and current. Managing a personal brand is taking control of your reputation.
- Network often, and offer to help others more than you ask: Give advice, contacts, suggest jobs. Become the business contact everyone wants to know.
- Stay connected. Contact those in your network regularly, manage your social media, and make new contacts whenever possible.
- Collect kudos. When someone has something great to say about you, your performance, or your organization, ask for the praise in writing.
- Act with integrity. Made a mistake? Delete the post, apologize, and make amends before it’s required of you. When you act quickly to correct your errors, people are more likely to forgive. Taking ownership and responsibility is both the right thing and the smart thing to do.
Protect Your Reputation
- Stay positive. Treat others with respect and kindness even when it’s difficult, it will be noticed. Cultivate connections who are upbeat and pleasant. Be wary of those who live on the dark side and complain or lay blame often, they show you in every conversation how they’ll talk about YOU, given the chance.
- Make thoughtful choices. Choose what you say and do in public and online very carefully. At dinner parties, avoid sticky topics such as politics, religion, crass jokes, and personal relationships. Why start trouble? Once damaged, a reputation is difficult to repair.
- Silence can be golden. Mom gave good advice! “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.” Strategic silence says good things about your discretion, loyalty, and wisdom.
- Everything is public. These days, every cell phone has a camera and an internet connection. Whether it’s a contentious business meeting or your brother-in-law’s wedding, your behavior and your words can be on YouTube in a matter of seconds.
- Know when to get help. Whether it’s a contentious divorce, a legal inquiry, or a twitter war that went viral, know when to hire a professional PR firm. You call the fire department before the small blaze becomes a raging inferno.