Why does career derailment happen? Most of the time, it’s the same sort of thing that derails an executive job search; something you thought was unimportant trips you up and leaves you behind in the race. Some of the problem is in the details of what you did, and some of it is your attitude.
Little Details Can Be Big Mistakes
Being disorganized can result in missing something important, and we all do it to some extent. But when the important thing you missed costs you an interview or a promotion, it hurts. Here are a few places where this happens:
- Application mistakes can get your submission rejected by a computer before a person sees it.
- Resume mistakes give the impression that you are careless.
- References can get you the job or get you out of the running if your references aren’t appropriate.
- Disheveled, dirty clothing makes you look like you can’t even do laundry right.
- Online behavior lives forever and can return to haunt you.
Attitudes Can Be Hinderances
When you look at a news story about someone’s career derailment, pay attention to how attitude factored into their fall. Attitudes change your workplace and have a direct relationship to the way you get along with co-workers. When you make mistakes — and we all will make mistakes sometimes — the relationships you have with the people you work with often change the consequences of those mistakes.
In an executive job search, the way you relate to people is incredibly important because an executive position requires the ability to collaborate and build a team. People who are insensitive, manipulative, and easily angered don’t make good leaders. People who are considerate, encouraging, and stay focused on the mission instead of the problems do.
The way you work with people now is seen as an indicator of the way you will work with people in the new position.
Hope Is Not Lost
One last point that can be made about avoiding a career derailment: learn from your mistakes and do what you can to fix them. This gives you an answer when it comes up in an interview and shows you have one of the most important assets for being a successful executive: the ability to turn a negative into a positive. Overlooking details and ignoring bad attitudes can keep you out of an executive position, but fixing the problems can boost your chances of getting there.