Your personal brand and reputation were built long before your job
search began. I had the fortunate opportunity of trying to build a literal
brand with “Thomas Dowd Professional Development & Coaching,
LLC.” I made a lot of mistakes along the way. For example, the same
core group of people I communicate with on social media were getting
tired of the book solicitations, while other people were tired of hearing
about the success I was having with Toastmasters speaking engagements.
I learned early on that there is a fine line between, “I wanted to share
something that’s going on with me” and “look at me.” I learned how critical
it is that although it is my brand, it is not always about me. I needed to
avoid misinterpreted one-way information sharing by ensuring that I was
engaging other people in the dialog so that I could get to know them and
understand their interests, wants, and needs, as well. I had to ensure that
building and maintaining my brand was a two-way process. No one can
simply throw his or her brand at someone and expect them to like it.
When’s the last time you asked yourself what people may think of you?
Being self-aware is great, but others may have their own perception of
you—are the two aligned? For example, I was a fast walker down the halls
early in my career because I didn’t—and still don’t—like to waste time. I
found out I was considered by some as unapproachable because I didn’t
stop and chat a lot in the halls. What is your past reputation? Are people
carrying that with them in their perceptions of you in a way that could
impact your next career move? Landing a successful job is heavily based
on the people we know, and how those people perceive us.
If you have a reputation as a hard-worker, that’s a great reputation to
have. Do you know what decision-makers or influencers of your next
potential role think of you? This is where the two-way discussion can be
important, by asking questions and clearly understanding how people
view you—positive and negative. It’s important to be proactive and drive
this type of discussion. People do talk, and spread the message of your
reputation. I even found examples when people at different companies in
the same industry discussed my skill set.
You must continue to build your reputation and brand even in the
midst of the job search by getting your name out there in a professional
way so that people want to interact with you and want you as part of
their team. You don’t want to appear desperate, but you do want to make
yourself significant in order to ensure that your name will come up in
It’s a constant work in progress; reputations are built over time, and
crushed in an instant. While engaged in conversation, you want to appear
confident and useful for a hiring company without being arrogant.
Conversely, if you were quiet and isolated in a previous job, you may
have some work to do to play catch up. It’s important to know that when
you’re looking for work, you are building your brand. If you had a bad
reputation from your previous company, you can hope for a clean slate,
but don’t depend on it. If you feel you left on bad terms, do everything
you can to fix it or at least lessen the impact. Again, people do talk, look
for references, and research your past, whether through social media or
other means. I suggest taking a long, hard look at your brand. Then, make
modifications, delete unnecessary entries from your social media sites,
and do what you can to have a brand that you’re proud of.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
Do you know about Avanoo.com? Two-to-three minute eLearning programs that can change your life.
MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby