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Face up to errors

Published on Friday, 11 Apr 2014
Nick Wheatley

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to presenting your work history. There is often a tendency for people to cover up mistakes and shy away from discussing career wrong turns or projects that have not gone to plan. However, for most employers, someone who can be open and address these head on will come across as more capable of dealing with challenges.

The key thing to remember when talking about your work experience is that not everything always goes to plan. Being able to analyse your decisions and explain why they were made is just as important as the actual course of action taken. If a decision doesn't work out - be it a work project or choosing a job - understanding why and being able to explain what you have learnt from this will impress a recruiter or hiring manager. Self-analysis is an attractive quality in an employee. Ask yourself: "Why did that go wrong? How can I avoid making the same mistake next time?"

Covering up mistakes by omitting them is tantamount to lying about your experience. These things always have a way of coming out.

Employers will take references and utilise their networks to help build a picture of a candidate's ability. If these references raise questions, and holes start appearing in your career story, it creates a very bad impression.

By avoiding talking about your mistakes, you risk damaging your reputation. You'll also be discounted from the interview processes you are in. You are also missing out on one of the best tools you have to sell yourself to a prospective employer by not taking the opportunity to explain how your mistakes have made you grow.

Nick Wheatley, manager for IT and corporate functions – Hong Kong, ConnectedGroup

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