Reputation and Career Success
Episode 84 - How to maintain a positive professional reputation to achieve career success
How to maintain a positive professional reputation to achieve career success
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 behavior around others, including clients and stakeholders.
...will impact their ability to consider you for promotions internally, as well as job opportunities in other organizations.
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 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, 82, 83, 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 do 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:
contact 10 connections: childhood friends, former and existing work colleagues, etc.
Ask them how they would describe your qualities and your weaknesses to others.
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 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.
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 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!
Resources mentioned in this episode
Timestamps to guide your listening
04:10 - About reputation
06:41 - Reputation and your network
12:44 - Reputation and social proof
16:14 - Your reputation will enhance or decrease your gravitas
17:12 - People's opinion of you and online presence
19:58 - How you manage success and failure affects your reputation
Transcript of this episode
Renata: Hello, job hunters and career and enthusiasts, and welcome back to The Job Hunting Podcast. Or if you're new here, welcome. We are delighted to have you. And please, if you like, subscribe to this podcast wherever you found us and give us a five-star rating. Write us a review to let me know how much you've appreciated the podcast and also to pay it forward. The more reviews we have on iTunes and other platforms, the better the podcast will perform. And the more exciting the episodes will become in the future, because I need to make sure that you're listening and that you're enjoying it. So don't be shy. I'm also very easily found on all my social media channels. You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. And of course, you can sign up for my newsletter, which I send every Tuesday more morning here in Australia.
Renata: If you are somewhere else in the world, you will receive it at a different time. But I sent it out on 8:00 AM, Tuesday mornings in Australia. And that includes the most recent episode of The Job Hunting Podcast. So, you know, it's out and also a curated list of articles that I find online and that I think are great reads because gosh, there is so much bad advice online for job hunters and people that are interested in advancing their careers. Some of the things makes me cringe. So whenever I find something that I really think it's worth sharing, I share it with my community. So sign up for that newsletter. You can find it on https://www.renatabernarde.com/join , and then you can register to receive it. You can go to my website, it's easy to register there. Or you can find the link in the episode, show notes if you don't know how to spell my name, which is absolutely fine.
Renata: So today, we are going to do part three of the executive presence series. Okay. So we have episodes 82, 83, and now 84, all about executive presence and how to prepare your executive presence for job interviews, job hunting, and career advancement. My goal is to always help you do really well in getting your next job, the next promotion, but also make sure that you understand all these things that you are learning now can definitely be recycled and used to propel your career and have the best career that you want to have in the future, leading you towards all of your goals.
Renata: So, in this episode, we will focus on reputation and how important it is to manage your reputation during your career trajectory. And it's one of the most important assets that you have is your reputation. What other people think of you, your workplace performance, and how you behave around others will impact on their ability to consider you for promotions and for jobs when you're being interviewed. Because even if they don't know you, as you well know, it's very easy to know about you these days. It has always been the case that reputation proceeds you. There's a quote, and there's a saying, and that's the reason why.
Renata: But your character and what people say about you and how you are perceived in the community says a lot about your competence, likeability, and credibility as a professional. For example, you know, and it's not just for job hunters, you, these days, probably wouldn't visit a restaurant or book an Airbnb without consulting the reviews and the comments of people that have been there and stay there. I know I did a, you probably know this cause if you're following me and see my newsletters, you know that I've been away for three weeks in April-May.
Renata: And we booked all of our Airbnbs, and we went to all of the restaurants that had very high ratings everywhere. We went in regional, new south Wales, and regional Victoria here in Australia. And even the smallest cafes, you know, all, you want us to have a coffee in the small town, you can just Google it and find the one that with the highest rating and go there. So, of course, for people that are applying for jobs, this will also play a huge part in the decision-makers’ consideration when choosing the next person that they want to employ. It's unlikely that anyone that will hire you be introduced to you and so on will do that without checking your formal references, but also anything else that they can find about you online.
Renata: And if you're looking for a job, and you're currently in transition, your network will play a huge part in recommending you to others and inviting you for coffees. If making introductions, advocating for you, championing for you. So this is probably something that you need to think about long-term, and I don't want you to listen to this podcast and think, oh boy, you know, I haven't done anything yet. And now here I am, without a job, there are ways around it. There are ways that you can job hunt now without having had all of this work done, but there's no place like now. And there's no time like now to start doing this so that you have better control of the outcome of your career in the future, right? So because you haven't done this before doesn't mean you shouldn't do this in the future.
Renata: Listen to this podcast, be humble about all the things that I'm going to say. And be very strategic from now on, on how you present yourself because people will advocate for you, and people want others to succeed. You may have had a bad experience. Maybe I know I've had quite a lot where you felt people weren't advocating for you. But one of the things that most surprised me whenever I was made redundant or left a job is how many people came to support me. And yes, I am fairly extroverted, and I do have a wide network. And I've had to have a wide network because my background is business development. And that that means that I, you know, it's part of my job to build connections for my employers.
Renata: And of course, when you're building connections for your employees, it happens that you build connections for you as well for you professionally, they become your connections as well as your employer's connection.
Renata: So when people found out I had left a job, a lot of people came and reached out to me to help and support and find out if I needed anything. And I got many opportunities out of those connections. So make sure that you remember to work on that. And if you struggle with that in any way, reach out to me for a consultation, and I can give you some tips and share with you some of my AP on how to make networking easier for everyone. It's not just for extroverts, nothing annoys me more than searching for information online and finding a gazillion articles about how cringe-worthy networking is. And oh gosh, don't, we all hate networking, but you have to do it. Oh, it gets me really upset because it's just connecting with people. It's just about, you know, making sure that you listen to others, that you relate, and you engage in a meaningful way with other people around you.
Renata: And there is no reason why there needs to be this dichotomy between your personal life and your professional life. And you know, you're going to connect with your cousins and your high school friends and your long-term friends in a very meaningful way. And then everybody else at work, you're going to connect in as a very detached, transactional way. No. You know, they're all humans, they're all wonderful people in all areas of your life. And that's what we just have a different name for it. And professionally, we call it a network, that is all. And other than that, it shouldn't be any different. You should treat people coming into your life in a way that it adds value to their life and to yours.
Renata: So, in many ways, what you want is to get as many, five stars as you can get when you are connecting in a professional way at work as a job seeker and bring a smile to people's faces. Make sure that they like you, and they trust you. I make that differentiation because trusting someone is more important than even liking someone. You know, you, you really want to make sure that you're not only liked by the recruiter, but they trust you to be a great candidate for their clients. Or if you're talking directly to their clients, that the employer trusts you with their business. And I say this because sometimes you can be a very likable person, but if people don't have a feeling that you can be trusted with their business, they won't hire you. I have lots of people I love, but I don't trust. Think about it in your life, right?
Renata: Like I love all of my friends, but would I go to business with them? Maybe not. And it's not only because I'm afraid of losing my friendship. It's because I don't think that they're good business people. They might be good at what they do, or they might be nurses. They might be financial advisors. They might be engineers, but they are not business people. Why, why would I, you know, sign up to have a business with somebody that doesn't have that experience. This is why your reputation is so important. You need build a reputation for something that is a specific. Something that is crystal clear that you can do really, really well. Right? And it's not just about being liked by others. It's also about being trusted to do that job really, really well.
Renata: The truth is that this social proof holds weight, whether you're deciding where you're going to eat in a new city like I did when I was traveling, or you're tracking down references for a potential hire.
Renata: And when I say tracking down references, I'm not just saying the referees at the bottom of your resume. I'm also thinking about all of the information that you have online about you and all of what people may say about you. If you are, for example, going for promotion, I think it's really hard in a situation where you are going for a job in your current organization, and you might be competing with an external candidate or many external candidates because there is a lot more of your reputation at stake. Does that make sense? Like a lot of people in your organization already have made up their minds about you, and that's why sometimes it can take a while for me to work with a client, to get them to a stage where they're ready for promotion. Internally. For example, I had a client I was working with since 2019, and a lot of bridges had been burned internally in the organization.
Renata: And this client was incredibly passionate, incredibly skilled and experienced, and was really, he felt, and I felt ready for more responsibilities, but the way that he had communicated that in the past hadn't been very positive. And, you might relate to this, or maybe not. I know that a lot of my clients have a really big challenge dealing with office politics or when the power at B gets split into half, and they might have sided with the wrong side. And, and the other side actually, you know, succeeded and, you know, they may have had an advocate or a champion that have left the organization, for example, and that puts them in a very fragile situation in the business. Have you been in the situation? I know that lots of my clients have, and this was the case with this client.
Renata: And it took us a year. We worked together for a year to turn things around, and when they were actually quite a few, I think there were three job opportunities for him to move forward and be promoted. And he had the support of his manager. And, you know, there was still a couple of things playing there, but he was definitely going to get one of those three promotions for sure. He, in fact, got a job outside externally. And, you know, it says a lot about how over that time we were able to turn things around, but also it shows you how long it can take to turn things around. And I will explain to you why now. So I'm going to give you tips about your reputation and how you can turn things around. If you have kind of neglected it for a while, and also why it's important to do so.
Renata: First of all, your reputation will enhance, or it will decrease your gravitas. The way that you present yourself. That ‘IT’ factor, right? Because no matter how good your gravitas is, when you walk into a job interview, walk into an important meeting to negotiate your salary, your promotion, your reputation proceeds, you, people have already made up their minds either by what they saw on LinkedIn, or if you have other open social media channels, you know, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Or if you're in going for internal promotion, whatever you have said in the past 12, 18 months, will also affect that presence in the room, right? People have already made up their minds. So this is the first thing that you need to consider. And if you want to understand more about gravitas, please go to episode 82, where I discussed that a bit more in-depth.
Renata: The second thing is that people will have formed an opinion of you before they meet you. So if people will have a formed opinion of you before they meet you, it's important for you to manage your reputation as much as possible. And if you think about you as a professional, who brings in revenue for your household, you're thinking about you as a structure, as an organization. So I liked to kind of make this unemotional decision about this part of your personal strategy because we do these things for the organizations we work for all the time, and for one reason or another, we neglect to do it for ourselves. Right? So think about your connections since childhood, formal work or colleagues at work, bosses, clients, professors, friends, ask them, you know, to help you we've this reputation. Ask them what they think of you and how they would describe you. And I know it's awkward, and they might feel awkward, but explain to them that this is an important exercise that you really need to do to support your career development and see what you can learn from that.
Renata: The other thing that you need to consider is your online presence. I've discussed this before in other previous episodes, but LinkedIn, Facebook, what shows up on Google search Twitter, you know, every time I'm doing a LinkedIn audit, as you know, it's one of my service, or if you're new here, you probably don't know. So check it out on my website, and I'll have a link in the episode, show notes. When I do LinkedIn audits, I will tell you a secret. I actually look at everything that I can find about the person.
Renata: So I just, I don't just do the LinkedIn audit. And if I find that there are things there that need to be managed on Facebook or Google search or Twitter, I let them know. Look, you know, you have all these things here showing up on Google.
Renata: Did you know that if people Google your name, they are showing up because, you know, sometimes I have found things that are really inappropriate, and people may not have even searched their names, so they don't know. Or, you know, sometimes people may have very strong opinions about politics or something that's happening in the world, and they shared it on Twitter. But is it a good idea to do that when you're job searching? Probably not. So you have to be very good at managing how you're showing up in this online world that we have today because everything is searchable.
Renata: And the third thing that I want you to consider and manage to the best of your ability is how you're showing up at work, you know, the successes and your failures. It's okay to fail. You know, we will fail a lot throughout our careers. How do you manage that, and how do you overcome that? What do you learn from, from it is an important thing that you need to learn to describe and build a narrative so that you show up confidently in interviews. And if there is something in your career that you think needs to be addressed, or that could be brought up in an interview or a conversation that you really feel confident about your answer and it, you know, how to answer and to address it in a way that you feel good about it. And you're, you know, that that's, you know, your truth and you know, that that's going to resonate well with the listener as well. And if you feel comfortable, learn as much as you can, along the way, you know, ask for feedback as often as you can.
Renata: It's so complicated these days because my clients and my community tells me all the time that they're not getting good feedback anymore. And I understand that that's really frustrating if you're a job hunter, if you're going to interviews and frankly preparing a whole lot for those interviews and then never hearing back. It can be so frustrating. But even if you don't hear anything back, hindsight can be very helpful for you to kind of looking back sort of do your own personal review of your situation at work. If it was something in your career that you, you feel you need to address now, or in a job interview, if it's something that, you know, a job that you really wanted, you didn't get. Is there something that you can learn by reviewing in your mind, you know, the body language, the your answers to the questions, how the engagement was doing those points in time during the recruitment and selection process.
Renata: Was there anything there that you think is telling you how it's going? And I always tell my clients, and I'll tell you, trust your instincts.
Renata: You know, our body sometimes can be very dumb and make us really fearful when all we're going to is a job interview or reacting to negatively to rejection. When all that happened is we didn't get a job we didn't have. But our body has been designed to also be react really instinctively to body language, to eye contact. All of these things are survival mechanisms that we have, and we've bypassed that with too much rationalization, in my view. But if you had a little bit of an instinct, that things didn't go well, you know, I remember I once went for a job interview. It was quite recent. It was for an interim executive role. It was with watermark.
Renata: The head hunters were very keen for me to go and talk to this client. They felt I was an excellent fit for what they had available, and off I went. And I was really excited about the opportunity. As soon as I walked in, I felt a heaviness, a very heavy sort of energy in the room. And I was interviewed by two people that were facing each other. And I was at the corner of the table. And frankly, I picked up that they basically didn't get along. And they were probably, now I know that they were probably at odds about the position and the need for that role to be available. And I walked out of the room, sat in my car, and I called watermark. And I said, I just have this feeling that it went really wrong. And I just want you to know it wasn't my fault.
Renata: It was just this really odd energy in the room. And my feeling is that these two people don't get along and they really disagree about the role. Am I right? And, and then, you know, they, they told me that, yes, that that's right. So it's not that easy to read the room, especially if you're so focused on your performance. And so focused on the answer is that you need to give, and frankly, I think I've developed that because I went to a lot of interviews over my lifetime. And it just makes me a little bit more aware. So don't worry if you still don't have that, but maybe it's something that you can nurture and that you can train yourself to pick up so that if you don't get a formal feedback, you at least know something that went wrong. And sometimes it's something you said.
Renata: So I have noticed at times that I would answer a question, and I would lose the audience. You know, I could tell that by losing eye contact, people looking down and making notes, and then I learned a few techniques to win them back, which is what I share when I do my coaching. I hope this rambling reputation podcast episode helps you in, you know, these three episodes, 82, 83, and 84. Together, they make an additional resource that I have for the job hunting made simple coaching program. I'm not sure if I mentioned this in the previous episodes, but this is where this information lives. It lives inside one of the modules as an additional document that people that do job hunting made simple with me. It's a group coaching program that I run twice a year. The next time will be in August.
Renata: So if you're interested, go to my website and register your interest to participate. So, you know, just to give you an idea, if this is an additional resource, it's not even something that I cover in the program. Imagine what I cover in the program, which I'm not sharing on the podcast. And, I wanted to share this document because even though I don't share it at job hunting made simple, I still think it's really important. And I thought, why not share it with my podcast listeners and then entice them to have a think about job hunting made simple as a program that they may want to invest in when I run it again. And if you're listening to this in 2021, I'm running it again in August, and you can register your interest in the episode, show notes, or just go to my website, and you can find job hunting made simple there and you can register your interests.
Renata: So you'll be the first to know when I start advertising it and have it open for registrations. It's a great program to do not only when you're job hunting, but again, you know, as you prepare for your career in the long term. And people that do job hunting made simple, or a sign up with me as my private clients, they have a lot of baggage, you know, a lot of career experience, years and years of professional work. And it's really important to unpack all of that as they move towards the second half of their career. And it's making sure that you have better control of your outcomes and make decisions that are of best interest to you and not just whatever you can find in the market, right? That really is not the best way to plan your career to have that serendipity is fun when you're young, but as you get older, it's really important to take strategic steps so that you're protected and that you end your career on a high if you ever decide to end it these days, you know, people like me will probably taper off and do a mix of board roles or interim executive work consulting, work, freelance work, and work a few days a week.
Renata: I think that that's what we're probably going to move towards as corporate professionals. Don't you think? I don't know. Let me know, find me on social media and send me your ideas or sign up for my newsletter. Then you can reply back and let me know what you are thinking. I love to hear back a few weeks ago, we have an episode about coffee, and gosh, I got so many emails back when I sent out the newsletter with that episode and some great stories about people drinking too much coffee before an interview or people that had never taken coffee, accidentally drinking coffee, because they got the wrong order at the coffee shop. That was a really funny one as well. And people telling me all sorts of things about caffeine and how it has helped or not helped their careers. It was really funny.
Renata: I should do another episode just with those stories cause they will be hilarious. So that's so far the most popular episode of the year, and we're only in May, and it's been downloaded quite a lot. If you're interested to listen to a coffee episode, go to episode 81, and I hope you have fun. All right. I will see you next week with a very different episode. We're not going to talk about executive presence anymore. At least not for now. We're going to talk about nutrition with a high-profile celebrity nutritionist and a friend of mine. So I hope you join me next week. Bye.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
I’m determined to help you! I want you to feel empowered, nail your next job, and have the career you want.
My free resources for job hunters: The Optimized Job Search: Weekly Schedule & Masterclass.
Learn more about my services, courses, and group coaching: RenataBernarde.com