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Mistakes Happen – But How Should You Handle an On-The-Job Mistake?

Everybody makes mistakes.  Mistakes are opportunities for us to learn and expand our skills and abilities.  When you make a mistake on the job, however, more than just your own learning is on the line.

What should you do if you “goof” on the job?  Follow these steps:

  1. Fix it if you can. Many small mistakes on the job can be easily fixed. If you can correct your mistake, do so as quickly as possible – and without waiting for someone else to notice or point out the error. By addressing it as soon as you can, you demonstrate your willingness to take responsibility and make things right. Even if the initial mistake gets noticed later, you’ll be able to say that you’ve already taken steps X, Y, and Z to correct it.
  2. If you can’t fix it, seek help. You may not be able to fix all mistakes on your own. For instance, the mistake may be too big, or it may require skills or access that you do not have. In this case, seek help as soon as you can: “I think I’ve made a mistake. Can you help me fix it?” A more experienced co-worker may be able to help you set the problem straight without further incident.
  3. Don’t try to hide it. Whether you can fix the mistake on your own or not, don’t give in to panic and attempt to cover it up. The mistake will become visible sooner or later, as will your attempt to hide it – and you’ll pay the price.  Instead, be straightforward about it: “I made this mistake.  What should I do?”
  4. Ask, “What can I do to prevent this mistake in the future?” In addition to admitting the mistake and seeking help to correct it, don’t forget to ask what you can do to avoid making the same mistake in the future. Be willing to make every mistake once – but refuse to make any mistake twice.

At ExecuTeam, our recruiters can help you soar through each step of the job search, from crafting an outstanding resume, to giving your best possible interview answers, to analyzing a job offer. Contact us today to learn more about our employment opportunities in the Gulf Coast region.

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