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How to Admit Your Mistakes

How to Admit Your Mistakes

How to Admit Your Mistakes

    OK, you screwed up. Something’s gone horribly, horribly wrong, and it’s all your fault. And now, it’s time to pay the piper.

    Maybe you lost your company’s big client. Maybe you forgot to do a critical part of that big project. Maybe you weren’t there for someone when they needed you, even when you said you would be. Whatever the situation, someone trusted you to do a job and you failed.

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    Now you’ve got to tell them.

    The instinctive reaction to a situation like this is “duck and cover” — protect yourself by any means necessary. Depending on how badly you screwed us, it could mean the end of your job, your career, your relationship, your status, or your reputation.

    “Mistakes were made.”

    Most people will try to weasel out of their mistakes. There’s a whole language of “weasel-words” people deploy to defer attention away from themselves, to downplay the seriousness of the situation, or even to deny anything went wrong at all.

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    The all-time universal champs at weaseling are government officials, and their all-time favorite way to weasel is the non-admission of guilt embodied by the phrase “mistakes were made”. It’s what Nixon said about Watergate, it’s what Reagan said about the Iron-Contra affair, it’s what Hillary Clinton said about Whitewater, it’s what Alberto Gonzalez said about his firing of federal prosecutors.

    Mistakes were made, but not by me — that’s the implication. They just kind of… happened. Nothing to worry about, really, just mistakes, you know — they were made. Move along, nothing to see here.

    “I made a mistake.”

    The problem with dodging the bullet is that the bullet is still flying, and still needs to be dealt with — if you dodge it, then it will probably hit someone else. “Whew!” Except not; if you’ve pinned your reputation on your ability to do the job, whatever the job, right, then the failure is still going to stick to you. Plus, you’ll have lost the trust of the people around you, especially the ones who ended up paying for your mistakes, whether by taking the blame or cleaning up the mess. Or, in the worst case, you’ll have distracted enough attention that the mess doesn’t get cleaned up at all.

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    On the other hand, admitting your fault puts you one step closer to dealing with it, and can often be the first step towards a successful turn-around. At the least, though, it shows that you’re someone with integrity and courage, even in the face of disastrous consequences.

    Here are a few pointers about ‘fessing up and dealing with your mistakes:

    • See things from someone else’s perspective: If you’ve made a promise and failed to keep it, put yourself in the other party’s shoes and see how things look from there. How would you feel? What would your response be if you were them? And what action would satisfy you?
    • Be sympathetic: Realize that your mistakes might affect many more people than just you, and recognize the pain you’ve caused. A little bit of sympathy can well be the opening you need to set things right.
    • Take responsibility: Don’t try to weasel out of it, and don’t look around wildly for someone else to blame. Even if your failure came about because someone let you down, you’re ultimately responsible for the projects under your authority.
    • Accept the consequences: It’s hard, I know, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and take your lumps. Few actions come without any consequences at all; be prepared to embrace whatever befalls you as a result of the mistakes you’ve made.
    • Have a plan: Taking responsibility means being prepared to clean up the mess, which means you need a plan. You should have a clear idea of what went wrong and how you can fix it — and how you can avoid it in the future.
    • Be sincere: Don’t pretend to feel sympathy or act phony so that the other person can see how deeply you care. Don’t play the martyr. Show honest emotion — the first step to rebuilding the trust lost.
    • Apologize. No, really. A lot of people go to great lengths to make up for their mistakes — or to hide them — when a simple “I’m sorry” would do the job, and cause a lot fewer hard feelings.

    None of these tips will prevent the worst from happening — you may still lose your job, your client, your partner, or your friendship. But you’ll have done so with dignity, instead of disgrace — allowing you to walk away with your head held high.

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    And by taking full responsibility for your mistakes and acting appropriately, you’ll have set yourself on a path to failing successfully — to learning what there is to learn and moving forward with grace and purpose.

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    Last Updated on June 25, 2019

    How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor

    How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor

    Wondering how to ace an interview? In this article, you will learn everything you need to nail your dream job — from resume submission to the end of the interview cycle.

    In order to land a job interview, you must start with submitting a great resume. Submitting resumes is generally done by, “apply now”, the way many apply for consideration to a job requisition. Even if not applying the tradition way, let’s say, emailing someone in your network about an opportunity- you will still need a great resume.

    So first thing first, work on your resume.

    Today in the United States, 98% of organizations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to extract information from an applicant’s resume to build a digital applicant profile that can be searched, filtered, and/or ranked.[1] So, a resume that is ATS friendly is part one for landing and acing a job interview.

    To do this, a resume must have certain formatting and keywords to get the resume through the scan and into the hands of a recruiter. Without a resume that works with and for today’s technology and requirements, an interview can be difficult to land.

    Here’s a great DIY Resume Guide (Do it Yourself Resume Guide) to help you craft an ATS and Recruiter friendly resume:[2]

    There used to be a time where a job application was enough, today, an ATS friendly resume leads all methods in landing a job interview.

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    Now, let’s talk about acing that interview.

    A job interview is part 2 of the job application process. An interview is where applicants that have met the minimum requirements are selected to discuss the job opportunity with the employer or hiring manager.

    Interviews are generally conducted via telephone, in person, and or applications/technology such as Skype. When the interview is landed, these 10 tips will help you ace the job interview:

    1. Going for a Job Opportunity That Speaks to Your Passion

    Having a passion for the job/ industry is extremely important. Doing something that aligns with inner passion is important for quality of life.

    People that have passion for the job that they are interviewing for generally have better interview experiences. When we talk about what we love, it is seen in our faces, our body language, and heard in our tone. Here’re 10 Reasons Why Following Your Passion Is More Important Than Money.

    In short, consideration of talents, discovering the things that make you happy and sad, and what you love losing yourself in.

    2. Study the Job Description: Essential Job Functions and Qualification Requirements

    Doing this will allow you the opportunity to develop examples of past and present experience that relate to the essential job functions and required qualifications.

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    Examples of experience is always a plus for interviewers, painting a full picture goes a long way. Even when not asked for an example, it is always a plus to tie answers to interview questions to examples from your experience.

    If there is a portfolio (work samples: images, writing samples, published work, videos, awards, etc.) of work- that’s even better!

    3. Research the Company and the Interviewer(s)

    Being an employee means entering into a relationship with an employer. In many areas of life, research is done prior to committing; researching a company prior to an interview is no different.

    It is important to determine if the company is a good fit and therefore makes it easier to answer “why do you want to work here?” It helps better verbalize how past experience, skills, and values align with the company’s mission, and it shows the interviewer that you are interested in more than just a job.

    4. Think Positive and Tap into Confidence

    Positivity exudes confidence and both are necessary, so the employers knows that trust can be given.

    Thoughts lead to action, therefore, operating from a positive perspective will reveal confidence. The goal of the interview is to land the job offer; employers need to believe that you believe in yourself so that they can believe you. Here are a few tips for positive thinking.

    5. Have Copies of the Resume Used to Apply for the Job

    It’s always good to be ready for extra interviewers in the room; many interviews today are panel interviews/ multi-person interviews.

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    Though a resume was likely submitted with the application, it is always a good idea to come with extra copies in anticipation of the potential need. If there was no resume submission, it is crucial that you provide a copy during the interview; doing this shows the employer preparedness and resolution to challenges.

    6. Plan for Behavior Based Interview Questions

    Most companies use pre-selected questions, often times having a list of behavior-based questions. Usually these questions start with: “provide an example of”, “tell me about a time when”, and/or “describe a time/situation when”.

    Having examples of problems solved and strategies used, initiatives led, contributions to teams and departments, will help ace a job interview. Painting a picture to help employers see skills, qualifications, and experience is extremely important during a job interview.

    7. Make a List of Selling Points

    It’s important to be proactive about the selling points that you want to make in an interview. This is where a portfolio works great! It is a great idea to make a list of selling points that reaffirms and demonstrates skills, qualifications, and experience.

    Consider: awards, programs/ processes launched that led to cost savings and/or profitability, training/education, etc.

    8. Showcase a Mixture of Personality and Professionalism

    Companies like to make sure that interviewees are a good match for the company culture. Having a good balance of personality and professionalism during a job interview is key.

    Personality can be shown when discussing hobbies, community service or extracurricular activities in answers to behavior-based questions, when describing your passion, and when discussing selling points.

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    9. Have Your Questions Ready- Interviewing Isn’t One-Sided

    Interviews are two-sided, like all relationships (an employee and employer agreement is a type of relationship). Before entering in many relationships, we all have a set of questions that we need answers to, prior to making the decision to commit.

    Beyond doing this for self (because asking questions helps reduce doubt and uncertainty), it also shows the employer that there is interest in the company and its future and, shows that you are informed.

    Here are a few considerations: “Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”, “Why is this position open?”, and “What qualifications/ skills are important to succeed in this role?” You can also take a look at this guide for more idea: 7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    10. Follow-up with a Thank You Note

    Interviewers love gratitude. Sending a “thank you for taking the time to discuss the job opening with me”, is very important to acing an interview.

    Interviewers discuss one job opening with many applicants. A thank you note can serve as gratitude and the final chance to showcase selling points. This is also the opportunity to address any concerns that the interviewer may have had in the interview.

    Summing It up

    Consider a job interview a house. the foundation for acing a job interview is passion. The frame is a resume that lands the interview. The plumbing and electrical are showing up with confidence, providing a list of selling points, having examples of your experience and qualifications, and engaging the interviewer. The roof is showing gratitude with a thank you note.

    More Tips About Job Interviews

    Featured photo credit: Nik MacMillan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Jobscan: What is an Applicant Tracking System?
    [2] Veronica Castillo: New Job- DIY Resume

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