Managing your Professional Reputation

Managing your Professional Reputation

July 27, 2022
Annette Maggi
Career DevelopmentHuman Resources

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Internally with colleagues and retail leadership, when building partnerships in your key markets, if seeking a new position, and within your professional circles, your reputation matters. If fact, when managing the long-term future of your career, your reputation is one of your most important assets. It’s essential to take an active role in managing and protecting your reputation.

Consider these tips to be in control of your professional reputation:

#1: Seek out the opinion of others. Reputation management isn’t based solely on how you see yourself and it can often be beneficial to get outside insights. To fully understand your reputation, seek out feedback from others and glean areas for improvement from their comments. When seeking feedback, consider current and former work colleagues, external partners, and professional contacts. Ask them to describe your reputation, how they perceive you, your positive qualities, and areas for improvement. Pose the tough question – whether they recommend you for a project or a job. Seek to understand why or why not.

#2: Manage your online presence. There is a common saying that “your reputation precedes you.” This was true before social media exploded and is even more accurate given there are so many ways someone can learn about you online. Google your name to see what shows up. Decide which social media channels you will use for professional engagement versus those you will use for personal connections. When posting content on social sites, take a conscientious approach to determining which content is public vs. private. Give consideration as to whether you want work and professional contacts to see the same content (political, religious, weekend parties) that you may share with friends and family.

#3: Know when you to use your voice. The most influential people know when, where, and how to voice a key opinion in the workplace. Ensure you aren’t viewed as the food police, person who always says “no,” or complainer at the office. Be strategic and intentional in identify issues or bringing new ideas to the table.

#4: Communicate professionally. With texting, use of systems like Slack, and the frequency of emails, it’s easy to become very casual in written communications. There’s a plethora of memes and GIFs readily available, and it seems fun to just slip one into communications.  But it’s also easy for people to form impressions about you based on the tone, language, and potential assumptions in these communications. Focus on being concise in communications while maintaining a level of professionalism and clearly stating your point. Remember, too, that it’s easy for many of these types of communications to be copied and forwarded to someone you did not intend to see the message.

#5: Master your Zoom Image. People are exhausted about Zooming all day, and the frequency of online meetings can lead everyone to tune out, forgetting the camera is on, or turn their camera off so they can multitask. But presenting a professional image on Zoom is important to managing your reputation. Ensure your dress is at least business casual, be attentive during meetings, nod appropriately to comments made, and speak up with comments and questions to ensure colleagues, leaders and partners know you are engaged.