Monthly Archives: March 2008

Top 5 Job Mistakes: Don’t Let Them Wreck Your Career!

Everybody makes mistakes – it’s a part of being human. While beating yourself up over the past isn’t helpful, learning from it is. As Winston Churchill once said, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”

Have you committed some blunders in your career that you feel are hurting your future? The tips below can help you identify professional flub ups and get you back on track professionally.

Burning Bridges
Have you had a lot of conflict in the past with your co-workers or even your boss? If so, now is the time to work on rebuilding those relationships by showing respect, patience and understanding. To smooth things over, you may also need to apologize to colleagues you’ve quarreled with in the past or at least make a concerted effort to start fresh in the relationship.

Being the Life of Every Party
While there’s nothing wrong with having a reputation for being fun, if you’re always playing the part of office comedian, it could hurt your career because colleagues won’t know when to take your seriously. Strive to show those around you that your work is important to you and that you can be trusted with sensitive issues. Keep your light-hearted side, but just make sure you display it at appropriate times.

Strolling on Easy Street
Without ambition, it’s hard to go anywhere professionally. If you’ve let your skills get rusty or just haven’t been going after top projects, chances are management has taken notice. Focus on displaying your enthusiasm for your job by volunteering for new assignments and keeping your credentials up-to-date.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Office romances can be tempting, but they’re also risky business. If you’ve dated a co-worker in the past or even just done some heavy flirting, it may have affected your colleagues’ opinions of you. To keep interoffice relationships from damaging your reputation, it’s essential to maintain your professionalism. You can do this by treating all co-workers in a polite and business-like manner and carefully weighing the consequences before dating a colleague in the future.

Dropping the Ball on a Big Project
Have you ever worked on an important project where everything went wrong? Although you may not be able to change what happened with the assignment, you can show that you’ve learned from your mistakes. Talk to your boss about your insights on the project and what you’re doing now to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

To keep professional mistakes from damaging your career, focus on learning from past errors and improving your performance each day. No one is perfect, so don’t get discouraged when you’ve made a wrong turn. Instead, aim to get back on course as quickly as you can.

What have you learned from your career blunders? Let us know in the comments section below.

Use Networking Opportunities to Your Advantage

Organizations, associations and other social groups are an excellent place to network when you’re looking for a new job. After all, the majority of job offers stem from word-of-mouth or networking. Follow these tips on how to use networking to your advantage, and you’ll be well on your way to your next job.

1. Get out there. Take the first step in establishing your own network by getting out and meeting new people. Check out local groups and organizations in your field and find out when they’re hosting their next event. Some host presentations on specific topics, which are beneficial to your professional development, and others host strictly networking gatherings. Make a point to attend the events that appeal to your interests and that will provide you with an opportunity to meet people who work in your field. These groups and organizations can range and vary from a service organization to a local engineering club.

2. Engage in conversation. Once you’re at the event, make sure to mingle with as many people as you can. Introduce yourself, shake hands and start a dialogue with each person. Ask them open-ended questions so that the conversation is not abruptly ended. You can ask about their current job, what they like and don’t like about it, and what steps someone else could take to get to their position. If the person seems genuinely interested in you and returns some of the same questions, you can begin to ask about job opportunities within their company or ones they are aware of. Then, offer your résumé and politely mention you’re looking for a job, without sounding desperate or begging for a referral.

After exchanging business cards or contact information, jot down a memorable trait about the person or part of your conversation on the back of the card. This will help you remember who you talked to and you’ll be able to picture their face in your mind the next time you pick up their card.

3. Build a relationship. The whole point of networking is building relationships. Once you’ve met someone at an event, you need to continue that relationship. Someone isn’t going to offer you a job because they saw you from across the room. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Learn more about each other’s hobbies, goals and career inspirations. Then when a job opportunity arises, that person will be willing to tell you about the open position and confidently recommend you for the job. Someone you have a relationship with is much more likely to recommend you for a position or share job opening information with you than a mere acquaintance would, so work on those relationships that you’ve already started and you’ll be one step ahead of other job seekers.

4. Don’t rush it. Building any relationship takes time and effort. It’s unlikely you’ll be recommended for a job by someone you just met. Plus, you never know who they might know. As the relationship grows, be patient. When the right opportunity comes along, your contact will be able to fully recommend you for the position. In the meantime, continue attending other events and expanding your personal network.

5. Keep in touch. After you’ve found a job, thank your contacts for their help and make sure to keep in touch with them. Your contacts can often offer advice to you when you’re in a new job and need someone to turn to. And if you’re ever in need of another job, you’ll have maintained your relationship with them and be ready to start searching again.

Your network can help you land your next job, so follow the tips above and use networking to your advantage and, remember the saying, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.”

Do you have an established network? What advice do you have for others looking to build their network?

Using Temp Jobs to Quick Start Your Career

People typically think about temporary jobs two different ways. Some like the flexibility and variety temp jobs offer, while others simply view temporary positions as fillers until they can find a permanent job. Whatever the case may be, temp jobs provide great opportunities to make money, learn new skill sets and engage with different types of employers and businesses which can help jump start your career.

If you currently have a temp job or are considering temporary work and would like to turn that temporary position into a full-time gig, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Work like you’re full-time. Even if you’re just filing papers or distributing mail, it’s important work, or you wouldn’t be there. So make sure you work hard and show your employers that you take pride in your job – no matter what it is. Your quality of work should be just as good or better than any permanent employee if you want to turn your temporary position into a permanent one.

2. Keep working long after you’re done. If you finish your work assignment before the day is done, find something else productive to do. Ask your supervisor for additional work, or offer to help co-workers with their projects. Even if it’s just busy work, showing others and your employers that you’re willing to pitch in no matter what the task will increase your chances of receiving an offer of a permanent job.

3. Dress to impress. Just because you are a temporary worker and may only be doing odd jobs around the office, make sure your attire is appropriate. Your clothing should reflect the attire of your co-workers. If you aren’t sure what the dress code is, make sure to ask before your first day at work. Showing that you value the workplace norms will go far in the eyes of your supervisors.

4. Personalize yourself. Whether you’re on a job for one day or three months, letting co-workers get to know you and learning about them will help supervisors and employees differentiate you from other temporary workers. However, make sure you socialize during appropriate times and not while you should be working. Spending too much time socializing can give employers a bad impression and will result in termination of your assignment.

If you want your temp job to lead to something more, try using these ideas. You just might land the right temp job that will quick start your career.