The mere fact that a co-worker believes that you violated a policy is not only enough to question your credibility, but can also result in negative perceptions about your trustworthiness and integrity. Therefore, if you have been on the receiving end of internal investigations, it is solely your responsibility to redeem yourself. While it could make more sense to switch jobs, there is little proof that these professional uncertainties will remain at your previous workplace. Here’s how to get a new job after being previously involved in workplace internal investigations.
Repair Your Reputation
Start a new chapter, regardless of whether the allegations were false. Your reputation will still need to be repaired even if your boss finally discovers that you were never in the wrong. Before handing in your resignation, establish a mutual professional relationship with your employer by accepting constructive criticism. Likewise, be more responsive to your workmates by allowing them to help you work on your professional shortcomings. In case you were reported for violating any harassment or discrimination policies, make a point of following each policy to the letter until the day you leave.
Acknowledge Any Mistakes
Taking responsibility for your mistakes is important, especially if you really are guilty of alleged misconduct. Similarly, do not make any excuses for your actions, or blame employers for conducting internal investigations that may hinder successful job hunts in the future. Owning up to your mistakes should start with self-reflection. Take a good look at your workplace ethics and establish the ways in which your actions negatively affected your co-workers. After that, work on improving these personal habits to counteract the negative impacts and help keep your reputation intact.
Focus more on your skills and expertise, than on the outcome of the internal investigation. Depending on your line of career, join a professional association and volunteer to take part in an activity that can restore your professionalism. For instance, serving on a committee portrays you as a team member, whereas leading a panel during an important event shows that you are independent and self-motivated. Furthermore, re-branding yourself shifts people’s attention to your areas of specialty, rather than your poor reputation.
During an interview, it is highly likely that the subject of your poor professional reputation will come up. Redirect the conversation to other matters that show individual strength and perseverance in your career. For instance, if you have had a lengthy work history at your previous organization, explain that such longevity often comes with minor setbacks. Remind the interviewer that such obstacles are just part of every professional career that only true professionals can overcome.
Do not give up, even if you have trouble securing other jobs. Internal investigations cannot permanently inhibit your chances of finding employment elsewhere. While a career turnaround might not take place as fast as you would like, your professional reputation will not suffer for long. Therefore, you must persevere and persist through every setback.
Wallowing in self-pity and blaming others for your mistakes are both counterproductive to restoring your former professional reputation. Start to rebuild your reputation as soon as possible and remain hopeful as you embark on a job search.