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Build a Work Reputation You Can be Proud of


Tags:  Career strategies, Reputation, Branding

Reliable or flakey? Knowledgeable or clueless? Trustworthy or a gossip? What's your reputation?

 

Reputation, as defined by the dictionary is ""the general estimation in which a person is held by the public."" It is what we are known for, how others perceive us, or what people believe to be true about our character and who we are. Therefore, it is important that we actively identify and create the public image that we want others to see.

 

More importantly, our reputation is integral to our personal brand (read the article ""Getting Ahead through Personal Branding: What's Your Elevator Speech?""). And our personal brand – what sets us apart from everyone else – has to be defined and cultivated.

 
To do this, you should ask yourself these five questions:
 

What am I currently known for? If you don't know what your current reputation is, how will you know what (if anything) needs to be changed? It is important to assess your current reputation to determine how others view you. Talk to your closet allies at work or seek out the advice of your mentor. If you have a particularly good relationship with your immediate supervisor, you might consider having a discussion with her. Ask about your best qualities and strengths.

 

What do I want to be known for? Being known as the dependable person or the computer whiz can be good ways to build your reputation, but these are limiting. It is important to look beyond just your current level of experience and imagine your reputation beyond your current role. Consider being known as a trail blazer or a great team leader, but also be cognizant of not being known as a suck up, whiner or other negative label.

 

How can I align where I am with where I want to be? Consider what your career goals are as well as what you want to be known for and how these two align. Determine the best qualities of those who you aspire to emulate and put your own personal twist on them.

 

How can I get the skills or experience I need to get where I want to be? Gaining skills and experience can take many forms. This may mean returning to college for an undergraduate or graduate degree or finding that mentor you never got around to identifying. It could mean taking internal training classes or entering a management training program within your organization.

 

What am I going to do to make this happen? Outside of gaining more skills and work experience, you need to consider what other actions you are going to take to build your reputation. This could mean chairing a cross-functional team, mentoring a younger team member or re-designing a system or process. Be willing to take on new challenges.

 

It's all in your hands. So build a work reputation that you can be proud of.



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