I’ve tripped myself up a fair few times over the years, professionally speaking. I’m not good at being put on the spot. For me, preparation is key. While there are some things you can’t plan for, in most cases the majority of questions or curveballs that come your way can be anticipated with a bit of research!
Faux pas I’ve made (but which didn’t seem to hurt me) include:
Disclosing – more or less – what I was making. But in the first case, they offered me a fair bit more, and in the second, well, I was already overpaid, so I couldn’t have come out any worse off. In fact, I still ended up with more than I’d hoped for.
Not being prepared for certain questions, which in hindsight, I should really have expected. I’ve probably broadcast it enough times here that while I have lots of personal goals for the next few years in life, I really have no clear plan for the career branch of that equation. But working in digital does mean you could well be doing a job in future that doesn’t currently exist. Luckily, my brain was working relatively quickly that day, and I managed to blurt out something half coherent about continuing to learn, grow and seize opportunities.
Not finishing my drink. Lesson learned: Drink up your hot beverage. Quickly. Before it gets cold and nasty.
On the other hand, I’ve had a few things going for me which have got me to my position now.
For one, reliability – I always thought this was a given, but apparently it’s a biggie – too many flaky creatives around?
It also helps to have a foot in the door. Bosses don’t like to gamble; they’re more willing to bet on someone already known and trusted. Contacts and work experience, rather than resumes, have been more important for me.
That said, I wish I had made more of the potential contacts I’ve come across over the years. And as socially awkward as I continue to feel – a curse which often makes me wonder if I’m in the right field – it’s a reminder that no matter how big my workload, I need to make more of an effort to cultivate relationships with my coworkers during the work week.
What mistakes should you have known better than to make along your career path?
those are definitely the big ones.
Those are the big ones indeed. I’ve learned that you should ALWAYS ask questions at the end too, and for “tell me about a time” questions always end it with the result, not just what happened. I hate the “turn weaknesses into strengths” advice like ‘I’m a perfectionist’ etc. – I always find genuine weaknesses when you show them that you’re actually doing something about them are way more appreciated!
It can be hard not to blurt out what you make. I run into that mistake a lot mostly because I’m too honest (blunt?)