How to Avoid Simple Career Mistakes

In an interview we did with personal branding expert Dan Schawbel for our blog, he said that he’d recently “received the worst PR pitch…ever seen. Instead of saying ‘Dan, would you be interested in interviewing the CEO of XYZ,’ they made it very impersonal and said ‘Hi [FIRST_NAME|Colleague].’ What this does is notify me that I’m on their list without permission, that they didn’t take the time to speak to me personally and that they are careless.”

Everyone makes mistakes but when you’re trying to impress people in the workplace, you want to do your best to avoid those that are simple to sidestep.  Here are a few tips to dodge common errors that can derail your career goals:

1. Check your work (twice!): In our book, Be Your Own Best Publicist, we share multiple stories of people who made careless mistakes that cost them a potential job. One anecdote we didn’t include in the book is about a young woman who interviewed well in person and put a lot of effort into her writing/editing test, which was printed out in color and hand-delivered to Jessica’s office. Only problem: She forgot to proofread her work, along with the “press release” she wrote to go along with it, the headline of which read, “[Her name] Hired as Publicity Maganger of Heast Magazines.” She obviously hadn’t spell-checked because as far as we know, the words “maganger” (we assume she meant “manager”) and “Heast” (instead of Hearst, the company where Jessica runs PR) are not found in the dictionary. Lesson: Before you send an important letter, presentation or memo, ask someone else to proofread it. If you can’t get another person to review your work, set it aside for a while and then look at it with fresh eyes. You’ll be amazed at what you might catch on the second round. Reading it aloud also helps you catch mistakes in grammar and style.

[Read more…]