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Executive Recruitment/Headhunting and President of Spectra International--Voted #1 Executive Search Firm in Arizona. I am actively involved in social media marketing strategies, growing and developing our Virtual Recruiting Team and blogging about search technology and social media job search. I am also involved in a blog for outdoor art and gardens and working on my own Julia & Julie project of 365 Days of Outdoor Art and Garden Photos.
Sybil...Headhunter | sybilg
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How to Fix Your Negative Branding Mistakes

Oct 5th 2010 at 11:38 AM

Before listing the suggestions for fixing your negative brand, let's begin with 3 basic ground rules that we should agree upon: 

  1. Even though you may consider your Facebook and Twitter accounts as your 'personal' sites and your LinkedIn resume/profile as your 'professional' site, your next employer will not make that distinction. They will check anything and everything that is available to the public.
  2. You must protect and enhance your 'personal brand' as it is being created on your blogs, posts and social network accounts.
  3. You should never post anything on your 'personal' sites that you wouldn't want your boss (husband, wife, mother) to see.  

Let's just assume that you may not have always followed these rules while on your social networking sites. Hey, you probably didn't even realize that you were developing your personal brand!

Negative Branding Examples

OK, let's just say that maybe you are a little concerned about some of your photos or posts. Maybe some of your rants, tweets or responses were a little over the top in language, attitude or bluntness? Or, maybe you forgot about those posts you made right after you had been partying a little too much. Or, the Monday morning post when you told the world how much you hated your job and your boss? These are just a few of the negative things that might put your future job application in the 'reject' vs. 'interview now' stack.

Fixing a Negative Brand

Before you can fix your negative brand reputation, you have to know what is out there. So, 'Google' your name and see what your future (or current) boss will see. If you feel that all of the links present a positive and professional image and your social media sites are positive, you get to skip the rest of the article (unless you want to find out what some of your friends will be doing). If you do find one or more negative issues, here are some suggestions on how to fix them: 

  1. Check out your profile photos on Facebook or similar social media sites. Upload new ones if they do not present your personal/ professional brand in the way you want to be perceived.
  2. Check out the friends, family and acquaintances you are following. If you find any unsavory or questionable characters, delete or 'unfollow' them.
  3. Check out ALL of your posted photos and albums. If you find yourself in photos that might cast a negative light, delete them.
  4. Check your selection of books, games, quotes or websites on your 'like' or 'favorites' list. What about your 'dislike' list? It doesn't take much of a detective to put together an impression of you based on these items. All of these together tell a story of who you are and what you are like - all of which could be dead wrong. Make changes in these items to characterize a more positive image.
  5. Check any articles or content you may have written on subjects that may be damaging to your personal brand. If they are posted where they can be edited, fix them or delete them. If you cannot delete all of them, then write new articles and posts that present the personal brand you do want to represent you today. The newer posts will be ranked higher by Google than your older posts.
  6. Use caution when tweeting. Fortunately, tweets do not stay around as long on Google so you may not have to worry about cleaning them up. If there are negative tweets out there, though, just make sure that you tweet a few positive ones that will clear up any questions. And, for the future, put a post-it note on your monitor as a reminder to continue creating a positive story of you.
  7. Ask your friends not to 'tag' you in their pictures. Now that you are aware of how your personal brand may be viewed by your future employers, ask your friends NOT tag you in their photos. This may avoid a problem if picked up by a hiring manager or recruiter in the future.
  8. Rebrand yourself on your professional site (LinkedIn). Upgrade your content and increase your professionalism. Instead of just listing the standard resume-type information, try posting an article or discussion memo of the current trends or issues in your industry or specialty area. You should also add keywords and phrases that will lead searchers to your home page.
  9. Create a social media resume. This is one of the best ways of presenting your personal brand, thus removing those last remnants of negativity.

 Personal reputation branding is just as important for individuals as it is for corporations. Make sure that you fix your negative branding mistakes by creating a 'personal brand' that matches who you are and how you would like to be perceived.

Want to know more about social media resumes? Receive employment tips from Spectra Headhunters at and free executive recruiter job listings at

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Please to comment
Oct 13th 2015 at 11:37 PM by healthyminimarket
Thanx for this Amazing and useful information
Mar 10th 2014 at 8:25 PM by atomicmedia1
This post/comment has been removed due to violations of our terms of use.
Nov 12th 2012 at 10:38 AM by phylma
While surfing around I came upon your article. Excellent advise. You've listed some very helpful tips that I plan on making use of!
Jan 1st 2012 at 12:26 PM by nathanservicesinc
You've done good here Sybil; just for that I'm going to put you on my advisory committee...
Nov 7th 2011 at 5:32 AM by iahulbak
Great article. Thanks for all the useful tips!
Mar 29th 2011 at 4:58 PM by 4SFI
I like this useful article.
Feb 28th 2011 at 11:08 PM by FDKINT
Thanks for the heads up.Good article!
Nov 27th 2010 at 7:53 PM by dawnconklin
Very nice, thank you for sharing Sybil! I don't think a lot of people realize how much others can find out about you online if they really want to.
Nov 4th 2010 at 8:46 PM by bjfoot
This article is truly exceptional. Great info and tips. Thank You!
Oct 12th 2010 at 11:58 PM by fredds
Fantastic tips. Should come in very handy to many people - I included.
Oct 9th 2010 at 6:29 AM by cmsolution
Good article

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