Building and Protecting a Professional Reputation

Not all professionals are created equal. One of the most obvious career differentiators available to professionals today is the ability to stand out in a competitive marketplace by calling attention to experience credentials. Another factor that can differentiate you is your professional reputation. Often the two go hand-in-hand, and there is no better place to expose this opportunity than the web.

Have you ever been considering doing business with somebody and decided to look them up in Google or Yahoo!? If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of millions of searches are performed each year based on name alone. Typically the way this works it that you type in “John Doe” into Google, then start looking for results on that person. However, as utilizing search in the due diligence process has increased, potential partners, customers, and even vendors are searching for more in-depth information. In other words, having no web-based identity or reputation is almost worse than have a few pages floating around out there.

Beyond merely entering a name in the search field, many people are also using more advanced tools, such as tracking people with Google News alerts, to stay on top of a search subjects’ identity. We all know that you need to be careful what kind of pictures and content you put in sites like Facebook and MySpace, but it’s equally important that you can find, understand, and manage what other people have to say about you online; this information also influences how people doing research on you perceive you professionally.

Now that you’re ready to start controlling your reputation, I have some good news for you. BusinessCard2 has just released a recommendation system that allows friends, current and former colleagues, clients, and vendors to provide feedback on their experiences with you. We supply this information to the search engine robots to make those recommendations available for indexing in the search engines. What is so novel about this is that you can manage the recommendations from your BusinessCard2 account, thus having a point of control for your professional reputation.

The more positive information and constructive feedback, such as recommendations, that exist online, the better your chances of pounding home the fact that others have had positive experiences with you should influence new searchers’ attitudes toward you. In other words, one negative comment online can get buried by 30 positive comments.

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