Common Workplace Mistakes that Could Stunt Your Career

mistakes_June2013_WebIf you’re looking to advance your career, make sure you aren’t letting simple things stop you from making a good impression.

Dressing Unprofessionally
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” For men and women, professional dress can be an easy thing to let slip. What you may not realize is that for managers and HR professionals, addressing your personal style is often a sticky situation. They’ve probably put off the awkward conversation about it as long as possible. Because leaders don’t want to offend their employees, they may only address the issue when it becomes absolutely necessary, which means the damage to your professional reputation may have already been done.

Your image is often the only impression co-workers and senior leaders outside your department have of you. You don’t want your wrinkly, stained clothing or unkempt hair to be how they think of you instead of your hard work and expertise. Take time to consider what your personal style is saying about you before you have to do damage control.

Being Late  
There is something to be said for being on time. It can make you the “go to” person for certain tasks or opportunities simply because you are known for being punctual. For example, you may get to greet customers arriving for a sales presentation or be a critical asset in covering phone calls. However, if you are the person that thinks it’s okay to show up five minutes after the meeting has started, you could be breaking down trust with your co-workers and managers. If you can’t show up on time regularly, your ability to manage additional projects or take on new responsibilities could be questioned.

Being Unprepared
If you’re asked to attend a meeting or complete a task, realize that you’ve just been given the opportunity to shine. Make sure you ask the right questions to understand the project at hand so you can contribute appropriately and efficiently. If a particular topic requires you to run reports or check inventory supplies, do that prior to the meeting so you can come ready to share and get to work. If you need to get bids or survey customers to complete a project, factor that into your timeline so you’ll be able to meet your deadlines. Your co-workers and leaders are counting on you, so make sure to take time to prepare.

Have you ever been surprised about an observation regarding your work style? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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