Problems with your reputation? Take a deep breath and follow these steps.

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Personal branding to benefit your career continues to be a growing topic of conversation. It’s a powerful tool for standing out among co-workers, getting a promotion, scoring interviews and getting hired.

But what happens when your personal brand takes a dive? Whether you made a big mistake, became known for the wrong thing, acquired a reputation for being difficult to work with or whatever else – hope is (usually) not lost. Take a deep breath and follow these steps.

Be honest. If you made a mistake, own up to it instead of hiding it or spinning it. Passing the blame to others will continue to harm your reputation, while being honest and brave in admitting errors can help repair it. And be honest with yourself, too. It’s tough to rebound from a mistake you won’t admit you made.

Don’t sit idle. Whatever you do, don’t just hope the problem goes away, and worse, don’t just give up on building a personal brand all together. Some of the same strategies used to build up a personal brand could be used to repair it — like starting an industry blog or becoming known as an expert in your office. As others associate more positive things with your name, there will be less room for the negative.

But give it some time – let the dust settle. Jumping into overdrive after your personal brand takes a dive can be seen as overcompensation, which could again hurt your reputation. Take a little time to regroup, begin building your personal brand and then hit the ground running.

Shift your intention. Being known as difficult to work with is one of the most common ways a person’s reputation is damaged. But this simple mind-set shift can make a big difference. For example, instead of focusing on being right or being the best, strive to be helpful, share knowledge or bring your team together.

Don’t let others define you. If your personal brand has been damaged because of someone else’s words or rumors, don’t let it deter you from continuing to build your personal brand. Remember that you know your true identity, expertise and value better than a workplace bully.

Move on. Keep your head up and continue working each day to improve your skill set and be great at your job. Hard work paired with the tactics above will speak volumes for your personal brand.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at