Balancing Personal and Professional Components of Your Online Reputation

It is not always easy to properly wrap up a person’s personal and professional components into a neat and tidy package. Sometimes organizations need to consider the personal attributes of a person and not just their business attributes to determine if they should make the decision to work with or sponsor someone.

Consider the process that is often common for businesses. They want to build their brand by working to sponsor an athlete or another well-known person. Before they can choose someone to work with, though, they need to learn as much as possible about that person. That is not just based on their skill or performance but also on who they are. They can then use those personality traits to determine which best fit with the company’s goals and its image.

Often, this comes down to the social media presence and other factors of that person. “Building a positive online reputation can open new outlets for success, while a negative one can limit your opportunities. With the right balance of free speech and reputation management on your public profiles, potential employees can go into an interview with greater confidence, and employers can narrow down a more perfect match for their team,” says Martin Rowinski of Boardsi.

How do you find that right combination? Here are some tips to put into action.

Look for Trends Rather Than Single Incidents

There always seems to be some type of impactful situation taking place today, and often the way people react on social media to a single event or occurrence can cause them long term damage when they express their point of view.

When this happens to you, make sure it is just an instance of blowing off steam rather than the normal habit you have using online communications. When a major news story happens, people expect emotional responses to follow. That generally is not a problem.

What happens to be a problem is when your entire social media profile is filled with political positions or when your history is centered around tragedy. This often brings up questions about freedom of speech. You certainly have that right. However, if you choose to put that freedom of speech into the public space, it could impact your career path. It may limit some of your options because employers may not be willing to take on a person with a strong viewpoint.

A onetime expression of your opinion is not likely to lead to a tarnishing of your reputation. However, if you have a behavioral trend over time, that can show that those types of expressions are a part of who you are.

As you post on social media, then be sure to monitor how often you post about negativity or tragedy. If an employer determines that you posted 50 negative reviews online about companies, that is going to indicate to them that you have strong beliefs that may not align with their own. The fact is, this may not represent who you are in daily life, but constant inflammatory statements can make it hard for your online reputation to match your personality and work ethic.

Use Your Online Reputation to Build Your Personal Brand

One way to use social media is to establish your personal brand. A person’s choices about what they decide to share on social media say a lot about who they are, and that defines what your personal brand is.

There are some restraints on freedom of speech – some people may lose their platform for a short time or may receive another slap on the wrist for what they say. Yet, most people today can and do post online about just about anything, and they do so in a sometimes-negative way.

Employers – whether they are looking at existing employees or new hires – know that they can use these profiles to understand who a person is. The reality is that you are posting information that is going to shape a personal brand that will remain in the eyes of those employers. Upwards of 70 percent of employers screen candidates by social media. When you put comments on posts or create political statements, be sure that those posts align with your career objectives.

The better option is to ensure that your personal brand online really reflects who you are. Add in some family vacation photos and share some positive bits of information. Do not make your social media about nothing but negative things you see around you. A balanced and positive online presence is best for most employers.

You Attract What You Put Out

Companies want to find employees who align with what they believe in and their own business mission. They can do that by gathering information about a person from their social media. What you put out there on social media is what is going to continue to follow you.

In short, most employers want diplomatic employees. They want people who do not engage in social media wars or those who have a positive, uplifting attitude. To help you make the right decisions about your online presence, be sure to simply ask yourself what you want from your career. Then, determine what employers are looking for in a candidate like this.

Brand yourself online with the same positive personality and interests that you know employers are looking for in candidates. Doing this helps give you the online reputation you need to meet the expectations of hiring managers.

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