When your boss reviews your work, typically he’ll suggest some improvements and correct some errors. It’s the errors that are really dangerous to your career. There are two kinds of errors. First, there’s the harmless kind, where you make a mistake that just about anyone in your shoes would make. You are new on the job, for example, and still learning the ropes. There are lots of other acceptable ways in which you might screw up.
The second type of error is the career-killing sort. If your boss finds easily preventable errors in your work, you will be lucky to keep your job and definitely won’t be promoted if you repeat them regularly. What’s an easily preventable error? That’s an error that –
- you could have detected yourself by checking your own work or
- you’ve been trained not to make and to watch for or
- is due to haste, inattention and carelessness.
When you make easily preventable errors, you’re telling your boss that you need babysitting. Trust me, he doesn’t want to be your babysitter! If you really want a promotion, you will need to show your boss the opposite, that you are ready to babysit others.
Show your boss you don’t need babysitting by checking your work carefully before delivering it:
- Proofread by reading out loud – you will catch many more mistakes, if not all of them. Next, scan your writing backwards. Yes I mean that – start with the last word on the page and work your way from right to left, bottom to top. Both of these techniques prevent your brain from running on autopilot, which is how you miss mistakes.
- Have a coworker or friend review your work. Sometimes you are too close to a project and know too much about it to step back and see it the way it will be perceived by others.
- Give it a real-world test. Run through the process from beginning to end without skipping any steps or making any assumptions.
Make checking your work a habit and you’ll build trust with your boss that will eventually get you promoted.
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