Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: reputation

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to building your reputation.

Build Your Reputation by Commenting Online

This post by Mark Swartz was originally featured on Monster’s Career Advice blog

Build Your Reputation by Commenting OnlineYou have knowledge to share and want to build your professional reputation. Except writing lengthy online posts isn’t your strong suit. So creating a blog probably isn’t right for you.

How then to share your insights and opinions in short bursts? Easy. By commenting on other people’s posts. It’s a dependable way to get your name out there.

Commenting could become an integral part of your career social media strategy. Find the right outlets and watch as your profile rises.

Reasons To Share Your Knowledge And Opinions Online

You may already have a social media routine for building your personal brand. Or you might just be getting started. Either way you should consider being a commenter.

By making brief, perceptive remarks, then attaching your name to all your posts, a variety of readers will come to associate you with interesting content. Your entries may be locatable by search engines. Plus along the way you’ll meet new online networking contacts.

Comments Should Be Concise

As a commenter, you’ll be responding to other people’s posts by adding your own take. Each entry you create could expand on the poster’s content or give your opinion on the subject.

Comments are usually short. Anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph is the norm. If you go longer than that on a regular basis, edit down (or maybe start a blog of your own).

Categories of Outlets For Commenting

There are two primary categories of outlets for posting comments. One is on blogs by other people, groups or organizations related to your field of specialty. The other is on similarly related discussion forums and message boards.

Blogs are periodical. Entries are published either every day, every couple of days, or less frequently. Normally they might attract several replies if any. The more popular blogs can get dozens of responses to new posts.

Discussion forums and message boards work another way. They allow people to create “discussion threads” based on particular topics. Sometimes no one contributes to a new thread. Or over 100 replies and a dozen sub-threads could get posted.

Where To Find Commenting Outlets

For blogs and forums/boards in your profession or industry, start with your industry or trade association. They usually provide space for commenting. However you often need to be a paid-up member of the organization to participate.

Don’t fret if you aren’t. Professional forums can be found on the big social media sites. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, host “Groups” oriented to all kinds of professionals. Google and Yahoo host varied Groups as well. Joining is free. A group may be open to the public, or require joining first.

In addition there are search engines that track blogs and online discussions. Among the more popular ones are boardreader.com and omgili.com. Use them to locate outlets that have pertinent topics.

Some Do’s And Don’ts Of Commenting

Always keep in mind that what you write reflects on your personal brand. Also ask yourself this: do you hinder of help your company’s brand? Employers may see your comments and judge you accordingly.

Don’t rush in and post before you’ve surveyed the landscape. What style are other commenters adopting? How many words are they using when they reply?

Your Insights And Opinions Matter

You needn’t be a noted thought leader to comment. What readers look for is stimulating feedback. As long as you refrain from unnecessary controversy, and are adept at using Spellcheck, you can begin.

Commenting can help you get known as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). Why should this matter to you? Because when it comes to online job networking, employers consistently seek out SME’s!

How Online Content Can Help (or Hurt) Your Job Search (Infographic)

Have you fully joined the 21st century and embraced all of the opportunities our digital world has to offer?  Most likely you’re great in some areas and not-so-great in others, which is understandable considering no human being, can possibly be an expert in everything that’s available to us today. If you’re a job seeker, one area you need to prioritize is improving your knowledge of online content.

The infographic below from .Me shows some eye-opening facts about how recruiters and HR are using the Internet for recruiting.  It also provides some dos and don’ts for keeping your online reputation intact, and leveraging online tools to boost your job search efforts. What can you improve?

How Online Content Can Help (or Hurt) Your Job Search

Poor Judgement + Social Media = Heavy Consequences

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle

Poor Judgement + Social Media = Heavy ConsequencesThank goodness that social media barely existed when I was coming up through the ranks.  Even so, there were some close calls.  Chalk it up to the hubris of youth, but I did some real bone head things 20-something years ago, and I know that I wasn’t alone in this.  But, back then, there were no phone camera’s handy or tweets available to catch/share our ill-conceived attempts at humor.

One such incident had me writing an academy award type acceptance speech for a sales contest that I had won.  My company had just installed a mainframe version of email and I sent it out to my entire office. Except that it wasn’t to my entire office, I inadvertently sent it out to my entire company… over 2,000 employees across 6 countries and 4 continents.  Whups.

I didn’t get fired for this although I was in a great deal of hot water when my boss received a call from the President of the company (his manager’s manager’s manager’s manager).  I like to think that I helped my company pioneer an “Acceptable Use Policy” for our new email system.  😉

So, fast forward to today.  Not only are cameras included on every phone, but people are extremely in-tune with political correctness.  Everyone loves a sensational story and some people make it a point to take others down whenever possible.  In this environment, we all must be hyper vigilant about what we say and do.  There are currently no shortage of stories about people being punished and/or losing their jobs due to bad decisions or stupid, stupid behavior.  A most recent example is Deborah Drever, the newly elected MLA from Calgary who is facing repercussions from her online postings.  But the list is long – Jian Ghomeshi, Rob Ford and Shawn Simoes all have been vilified (and perhaps rightly so) in social media.  Two of the three lost their jobs as a response (and, again, perhaps rightly so).

My point is that there are significant consequences when poor judgement is demonstrated. People can and do lose their jobs over this, especially when social media is involved.  A very good article has been written by MacLeans on this topic. It shows that there is little to no boundaries between our personal and professional lives anymore. David O’Brien also recently posted about how this topic is very relevant to independent contractors.

Now, more than ever, it is important to understand that at any given time the whole world might be watching. And your employer will be watching as well.  What may be captured can have both immediate consequences as well as those that will dog you for the rest of your life.  We all need to maintain a higher degree of professionalism in this, our personal and business lives are now inextricably mixed.

IT Contractors and the “Court of Social Media”

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice-President, Government Services at Eagle

After last week’s highly visible, and viscerally reprehensible, incident of a Hydro One employee’s  obscene harassment of a female television reporter  was caught on tape in all it’s shameful glory and ultimately led to him losing his job, it’s a good time to pause and consider the ramifications for contractors when working with clients. The incident and the results are now notorious and, while one would think common sense and decency would prevail, we need to take some time to understand what has changed and what is at stake.

Court of Social MediaThe swiftness with which the individual was identified through social media was only matched by the speed with which his employer, Hydro One, dismissed him. While there were whimpers of “does the punishment fit the crime,” there was near unanimity on the side of the employer.  If there was any controversy, it was left for the employment lawyers, many of whom indicated that today, with the advent of social media, there are blurry lines between an individual’s personal time off and company or work time. The court of social media often plays a big role in swiftly identifying individuals and, in many cases, leading the charge in retribution.

It now goes without saying that it does not take long to identify one’s employer or, in the case of independent contractors, their business. LinkedIn and often other social media sites like Facebook can offer that information in seconds. It would follow, then, that there is no apparent reasonable expectation that you in some way do not always represent your employer or your business or your agency. Contractors especially need to protect their reputations as in independent contracting it is very much your currency.

Many organizations today have Employee Codes of Conduct but additionally, now contractors, consultants and suppliers also sign these commitments. While the specifics often reference business relationships, there is both an explicit expectation of good behavior (crime, anti-corruption, privacy, etc.) and there is also an implicit expectation one will represent their client in a positive and ethical acceptable societal standard. While the specific incident referenced above took place in full view of TV cameras, we must all be aware that the things we say and do on internet sites also affect our business, as the digital age has created space for some of the ugliest of human behavior, anonymous and otherwise.

Along with their own business and their clients, independent contractors are also representing their agencies, who put a great deal of work and time into ensuring their standards ,relationships and indeed their core values are upheld with their client, as ethical and quality suppliers are paramount.

In summary, independent contractors must protect their own personal and business reputations that they have worked long and hard to establish. After all, it can only take minutes of bad judgement and behavior to destroy.