• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • How to Manage Your Brand After a Bad Experience

    Bad Experience photo from ShutterstockWe’re constantly reminded the importance of ending a job on good terms. You never want to burn bridges because your industry is smaller than you realize, and you may come across those people again. But what happens if you do have a falling-out with your managers or coworkers? If the damage is already done, what then?

    If you have a bad experience at a job or internship, your personal brand is not necessarily ruined forever. The steps you take next can save your professional reputation.

    Put out the flames.

    If you can still save the relationships, start there. Be the bigger person and apologize right away. Even if the problem wasn’t entirely your fault, this is the best way to make amends. If you wait too long, it won’t seem genuine anymore. try to repair the damage before it’s too late.

    Separate yourself.

    If the damage is severe, it’s important to remove all evidence tying you to the company. Take the job out of your social media bios and other places online. If you weren’t employed there for a very long time, you may even want to remove the job from your resume altogether. However, this isn’t always possible. Just keep the places linking you with the job to a minimum.

    Don’t bring up the details.

    It’s incredibly important to never volunteer the details of the bad experience to anyone (other than maybe your closest support system). Unless you’re asked in an interview why you left the job, don’t bring it up. It is especially important to never ever talk badly about your past employer or coworkers, especially to a potential boss. Doing so just makes you look bad. What’s done is done, so if you can avoid it, don’t bring up the details to anyone.

    Do some volunteering.

    If the bad experience at work led to you being unemployed, a good way to lift your spirits and your brand is to spend some time volunteering. Someone who volunteers their time for a good cause always looks good to potential employers. You can use the opportunity to keep your skills fresh. Plus, it will definitely feel good to do something positive for the community after having been through such a bad experience.

    Having a bad experience at work can be incredibly stressful, but you don’t want it to negatively influence the rest of your career. It’s important to do whatever you can to rise above what happened and continue to maintain your brand.

    What are some other tips for managing your brand after a bad experience?

    Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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