Your reputation may precede you in several ways as you search for a job. Your colleagues and former supervisors may have certain opinions of you, while customers or clients who interact with you might report a different take on your work ethic. Examine how your professional reputation develops and three action steps to protect it.
Your reputation forms because people interact with you or hear things about you. When a person experiences your personality firsthand, he develops an opinion of you from your actions, communication and behavior. Your colleagues and customers may see or hear you from a distance, and then create a mental image of you.
Your reputation comes down to how you treat others. Are you professional in your dealings with co-workers? Do you treat everyone equally? Do you respond to people in a timely manner? What about your emotional intelligence when you talk to people?
Try showing interest in your colleagues and your work. Stay engaged by arriving at the office ready to get things done. Avoid negativity in your verbal communication and body language. Honor your commitments to projects and your work. Put the team first by making others look good and keeping your colleagues' strengths in mind when you interact with them. All of these things lead to a positive reputation.
Because people around you see and hear what you do, they have an impression of you. When you ask for feedback to determine your reputation, you may not receive the whole picture. People generally give you the positive side of your work ethic while not talking about the negative side. You may have to dive deeper into their reactions to you as you figure out how best to manage your behavior.
Protecting What's Yours
Protect your reputation like it's the most valuable thing you have at the office; a solid reputation could lead to bigger and better things to list on a resume and in your future endeavors. If people think highly of you, they convey that sentiment to interviewers and hiring managers. Keep the following three action steps in mind when guarding your very important professional reputation.
1. Check-In With Yourself
Ask yourself, "Do my actions represent how I want people to see me at work?" Think about how your actions affect others and how your colleagues react to your presence. Consider writing down what happened at the office on any given day to gain insights about what you can improve.
2. Talk to People
Ask other people for one word to describe you. Does that word fall in line with what you believe about yourself? Consider asking those same people what you can do to change their perception of you.
3. Think Before Posting
When you post on social media, give every post some serious thought. Your personal brand is out there for potential employers to see, so you must take every word into consideration. A good way to gauge this behavior is to determine if your post is something worthy of going on a billboard in Times Square.
Protecting your reputation takes discipline, effort and hard work. When you learn to recognize what you need to change and how to conduct yourself, maintaining your work ethic becomes second nature.
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