Career confessions: career professionals share mistakes they've made


So, what is a mistake you've made in your own career and what did you learn from it?

[Michael Healy]

I've got a few! [laughs] I have applied for a job and sent the wrong documents. So, I applied for a job and I sent the correct resume and the correct cover letter but an incorrect key selection criteria statement and they were actually very kind and they came back to me and said ‘Michael, I think you attached the wrong document. Could you send the correct one?’

Luckily, I had actually written one for them so I was able to attach a new document. Unfortunately, I did it again and I saw I sent the wrong document twice. Somehow, they still decided to interview me but I actually had to withdraw my application because I decided that the job wasn't right anyway. So that was quite bad.

[Michelle Patterson]

One of the mistakes I made in my early career was to change jobs for a higher salary. I made my application and was accepted into that role it was a very quick change. But when I joined the organisation, I was really unhappy. I had gone from being a relatively large fish in a small pond to what I felt was like being a piece of plankton in the ocean.

[Lou Bromley]

I had my mobile phone going off and I'm here talking to the panel about how I can do career development workshops and I can help your students liaise with industry. My mobile went off because I had a friend wishing me luck - he got the time wrong of the interview. It was a mistake that I didn't turn my mobile off because it was incredibly loud, but I actually managed to turn it around. I made it into something about ‘and that's what you don't do in interviews, and this is the sort of thing I want to bring to the workshop I will run for you’.

I also had a complete mind blank in that same interview, but because I'd made notes, I was able to turn to those and refer to them. And the thing that I had forgotten was incredibly pertinent and relevant to them. So it's all about yeah, I've made mistakes, but you can also overcome them. And I got that job. I absolutely nailed that interview in the end.