How to Fix Your Reputation Before Job Hunting
By Mandy Ferrin
Friday, 19th February 2021

A good resume is a good way to get your foot in the door, but it’s not enough to secure the job, your reputation is important.

After reading your resume, recruiters and hiring managers are going to look you up. They’re going to check out your social media profiles, Google search your name and call up your references.

So, what happens when everything doesn’t go according to plan. Our careers drag on throughout the course of our lives, and it’s possible that you don’t have the best reputation with every single one of your previous employers. It can be worrisome to think that you could be so close to getting your next big break, only to have it squandered by one aspect of your past.

If you’ve been through a rough patch and you’re worried about how that’ll affect your job search, here are some ways to audit your reputation.

Clean up your social media

Privatize accounts that include posts about drama and any qualms you have with other people. Regardless of the circumstance, right or wrong, employers don’t want to see that kind of drama posted publicly. They’ll assume you don’t work well with others or that you don’t know how to present yourself professionally. Everyone serves as a brand ambassador for the company they work for. If you can’t represent yourself in a positive way, you won’t be considered for any role, regardless of the title.

This also means if you’re hopping on your LinkedIn and getting into arguments in the comments of other people’s posts, you’re going to want to backtrack and delete.

Own up and rebrand

If you know something is going to come up, there’s no use in putting it off. In the interview, they may mention your relationship with a previous (disgruntled) employer. You can choose to avoid confronting the situation or you can own up to it. You’re not expected to be a perfect person, but you are expected to overcome your mistakes. When bringing up problematic issues from past jobs, take the opportunity to share about how you’ve grown from that situation. Warn them that the reference about the negative reference and explain why. Don’t resort to blaming your former boss.

If you have colleagues from that same company that are willing to offer up a positive review, they may be able to take some weight off of the negative feedback.

Emphasize other aspects of your resume

It may be in your best interest to shift focus towards jobs that have favorable references. It can be difficult if you were fired from your previous role. However, you don’t want to shine an extra spotlight on an already bleak situation. Once it’s come up, you need to change the trajectory of the conversation.

You chose your narrative when you step into an interview, so make sure that you spend the majority of your time showcasing why you would be a good fit instead of why your past mistakes don’t affect your performance.

Check before using your employer as a reference

People may assume that companies don’t call up references, but most do. It’s also easy to assume that a negative reference is unlikely, but many managers do. Before you hand out every number for references, you’re going to want to double-check with your former supervisors. Ask them directly what they would say and if they’re willing to serve as a reference. You can also use a colleague to call them to see what they would say, before submitting them.

Our Consultants take a holistic and consultative approach to the leaders and managers we serve. Regardless of the next step in your career, our goal is to ignite your professional growth and to leverage our expertise to help you with your next step; whatever that may be. Reach out to them here.

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