Managing Your Reputation

A man who has just graduated from University.  MR YES.I have written before on the subject of post-MBA employment for military veterans. These discussions include topics such as the value of internships, the movement toward workforce science and adding credentials to your MBA degree. However, when it comes to civilian employment, there is only one subject that defines everything else and that is your reputation.

In a Forbes’ article on Top Workplace Trends for 2014, Dan Schawbel underscores the importance of reputation by saying, “Hiring processes are going to start to shift as more recruiters rely on the Internet and the word reputation  will become even more important to professionals and companies alike.”

This presents a unique situation for leaders in the military. All too often in the process of transitioning to civilian life officers/NCOs and are  taught, or told, to leave the military behind. This is especially true when leaders directly leave the service for a graduate program such as an MBA degree. Some will use their backgrounds in the military to get into grad school, but they fail to use their backgrounds selectively during and after the time they earn a degree. Unfortunately, this approach also separates them from years of referrals, recommendations and results. Think about it, these are the very backbone of someone’s reputation.

Reputations are precursors to success in civilian jobs and leadership positions. And, because of their connection to your reputation, you must leverage your experiences, assignments and contacts in the military. If used properly, they can be substantial and significant. More importantly, they will get you placed into internships and entry-level jobs. And until they are replaced with more appropriate civilian-side resources, they are all you have to build your reputation.

We will talk more specifically about how to build, manage and use your reputation in future posts. For now, give your reputation the time and attention it deserves. If you don’t your reputation will fade away (i.e., due to time that has passed) or it will become less relevant and valuable when you need it the most.

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