This is a guest post by career writer Monica Gomez. Interested in sharing your perspectives with our community? Love to hear them. Email your ideas here.
We all attempt to do our best on the job, but sometimes, things fall through the cracks. Even though everyone makes mistakes, a few small tricks can make the difference between crashing your career and continuing on a successful career path.
Here are six ideas to keep you on track.
How to Save Your Career: 6 Little Tricks
1. Double Check Your Work
When it comes to reports, presentations, or even just memos, you always want to be on the ball. Spelling errors, inappropriate terminology, or even just placing a comma in the wrong location can leave a bad impression.
For example, if you submit a formal report with the word “then” instead of “than,” this may suggest to the recipient that you don’t care enough about the project to get it right.
While small errors can happen to anyone, it’s a problem that can be handled with a little extra time and effort. Taking the time to review what spellcheck has missed, or even having someone else read over your report if possible, will help catch the small errors and ensures you’re delivering the best work for every project.
2. Share the Glory
While it’s easy to bask in the glory of a win, never focus on personal successes without also acknowledging the individuals who offered a helping hand, advice, or information that was vital to the project. Give credit to your coworkers who assisted with a project, even if you were leading the team or did the majority of the work.
For example, if you’re praised for the quality of a slideshow presentation, be sure mention the individuals who helped you complete the task in the final slide, or acknowledge them verbally while presenting or when commended for your work. Giving credit to others and thanking them for their hard work will show that you are willing to work with a team, and are focused on the success of the company as a whole.
[Editor’s note: sharing the glory doesn’t mean not taking credit in your own accomplishment. Both are worthy. See our video on How to Brag (Yes, Brag) for more.]
3. Communicate with Coworkers
Communication is a key part of building up a solid career. It is important to talk to coworkers and managers on a regular basis because sitting at a desk can result in being overlooked in the workplace. According to a recent article in US News & World Report, one of the most common on-the-job mistakes is keeping to yourself and avoiding conversation with coworkers—even conversation that isn’t work-related.
In addition, poor communication is a key reason that misunderstandings can develop in the workplace. For example, if you submitted a project without handing it in directly to your supervisor, then she may assume that it was submitted by a different individual and your contribution may be overlooked.
Get up and talk to coworkers and managers throughout the day. Ask questions if you are not sure about the best way to handle a project or ask for help when you find a particular task challenging. Communication is an important part of growing and thriving in the workplace. As an added bonus, getting to know your colleagues makes for a better work environment, and shows that you are a team player.
4. Turn Off the Phone
A cell phone may be useful when it comes to communicating and staying in touch with friends and loved ones, but it can also be a distraction at work. For example, your friends might send a text message or call your phone while you are in a meeting, which can leave a bad impression on your coworkers and your manager.
Turn off the phone when you are in meetings or working on a project. If there is a specific reason to keep the phone turned on, then put it on silent so that it is not a distraction to your coworkers. In case of an emergency, give the office number to your child’s school or babysitter, or enable a special text alert or ringtone for a particular number.
[Ed. note: For more like this, see our article and tip sheet on how to click less and connect more.]
5. Continue Your Education
Even if you have a degree, you can still learn and grow over time. Continuing education is an important part of your growth and potential.
Don’t assume you have nothing more to learn. Instead, develop a plan for additional education and training. For example, earn a professional designation by passing a test in a related field, or explore advanced classes in a field of interest (many of which can be found online and at low cost). Continuing your education helps keep you up-to-date with the changes in the industry.
It’s easy to get distracted, but that can be a disservice to your own growth and the company’s expectations. For example, being distracted can result in missing the instructions for an important project. Distracted thinking leaves a bad impression: others can tell that you are only going through the motions of working, or that you are not focusing on your work throughout the day.
Come to the office or your place of work with the idea that you will focus on what you must accomplish that day. Put your entire focus into your work throughout the day, and take breaks in order to feel refreshed and not overwhelmed. It will have a positive impact on your work ethic and it makes a positive impression on your employer.
Learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others can provide the opportunity to take new steps in your career. By taking a few extra minutes to check your work and maintaining a professional demeanor, you can make a positive impression in the workplace.
Monica Gomez is a freelance career and career advancement writer. She is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. You can follow Monica on Twitter @gomezmonica53.
YOUR TURN: What are the tricks that have saved YOUR career? Share in the comments below. And thanks!