5 ways to improve your professional reputation

Gina Belli, PayScale
C. Devan | Getty Images

When you're looking for a new job, personal branding is important. In particular, your online presence could help — or hinder — your job search.

But, cultivating a positive professional reputation is about more than just tidying up your online image. Here are a few tips for building and maintaining a solid reputation, online and in real life.

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1. Trust yourself

The way others see you is not that far removed from the way you see yourself. It may seem a little strange, but if you really want to improve your professional reputation, start by working on how you feel about yourself professionally. Have faith in your ideas. Believe in your abilities. If you know that you're reliable and highly capable, others will find it easier to see that, too.

If you trust yourself, others are more likely to trust you, too.

2. Demonstrate uncompromising integrity

You want to be seen as a person of your word. So, never make a commitment that you don't intend to honor. Be honest, and always do your best work. Additionally, continue to do the right thing even when nobody is there to see you do it. These are the actions that really define us. When you can consistently demonstrate that you live and work with uncompromising integrity, your professional reputation is bound to soar.

Paula Abdul: Make sure to always have a backup plan
Paula Abdul: Make sure to always have a backup plan

3. Keep learning

Intellectually curious and ambitious professionals never stop learning new skills. These days, it's crucial. The world is changing so quickly, thanks to advances in technology, that it takes real effort to keep current. So, if you really want to improve your professional rep, commit to an ongoing learning process. Take classes online or in person. Go to conferences. Read books. And, have conversations with others about what you've learned. You'll be more engaged and more knowledgeable, and you'll be demonstrating a real commitment to your field that others are sure to notice.

4. Continue to network

Your professional network should continue to grow with each passing year. Nurture new connections that you make along the way, and keep up with old contacts, too. You never know what the future might hold.

Networking can feel kind of icky, but it doesn't have to be that way. Just be your genuine, but still professional, self and try to enjoy the process of connecting with others. Be sure to find the fun in it. You're not doing this just to improve your reputation. That's just one of the many benefits of cultivating a strong professional network.

5. Manage your online presence

These days, every single one of us has a public image. We all have a platform from which to assert and declare ourselves to the world. This online public presence is something that needs to be constantly tended and intentionally cultivated. So, stay aware of what you're putting out there. Keep private stuff private. And never forget that anyone can and will check you out online.

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This article originally appeared on PayScale.

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