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Mistakes Happen: Lean on Your Professional Community and Recover From a Career Misstep


Jan. 31, 2019 LinkedIn

Recognize that you are not alone. More than half (55%) of all professionals admit to having made an interview or career fumble, so don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake. Some of the most common fumbles include:

  1. Not being prepared for an interview
  2. Forgetting to respond to an email
  3. Oversleeping
  4. Forgetting to follow up after a meeting
  5. Mispronouncing a word during an interview
  6. Accidentally replying all

Offer an apology. Most (53%) agree that apologizing is the best way to recover from an interview or career fumble. If you recognize the mistake in the moment, apologize right away. Otherwise, apologize as soon as possible to those affected. In the instance of typos, especially when applying to a job or sending a follow-up note to a prospective employer, apologizing and sending a correction shows that you are accountable and able to recognize and fix mistakes as they occur. Although it may feel awkward, a sincere apology is usually well received.

Ask for advice. If you don’t know how to fix the fumble, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your professional community. Where should you turn? The majority of working professionals have sought help from someone at work — either their boss (27%) or a co-worker (46%) — while another 29% found help from a connection outside the office. In addition to helping you determine the best ways to recover, your community can help you play through the pain. You might discover that someone you know made the same fumble themselves — and lived to tell the tale!  

Commit to “fixing” the error. Once you’ve evaluated what went wrong and apologized, figure out how to ensure it doesn’t happen again and go a step further if you can. For instance, if you fumbled an interview question, email the hiring manager additional thoughts on how you should have tackled the topic. Many professionals (29%) say the best way to recover from a fumble is to educate yourself on the issue, so commit to being better prepared next time around.

Whether you’re in the market for a new job or looking to grow in your current role, leaning on your professional community can help you recover, learn and grow in your career. Have a career fumble that you’ve learned from? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. After all, we’re all #InItTogether.

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