Fatal Mistakes New Hires Do in Their First Jobs

Congratulations on your first job! As exciting as it could be, starting a new job and stepping into the professional world of work can be tricky and daunting, especially when you are still finding your sea legs in a new position.

As a newcomer, you might find it hard to adapt to a new role and environment. In fact, according to an article in Training Industry Quarterly, it takes at least 1 to 2 years before an employee is fully productive and able to get used to their new position. That means, during your first month, you might make mistakes that could be fatal to your professional reputation.

To avoid this, it is crucial for you to stay informed with common fatal mistakes a new hire makes in their first month.

X Falling in love with the company more than the job

We all have that exciting feeling when signing a job contract in a dream company. However, you should not be carried away with that happiness. During the first month, try to enjoy and do as much as a job you can and take credit for it. The company you are working might offer so much comfort, nap pods, healthy diets, or other perks that make you fall in love with them. But, remember, self-development does not come from comfort, in fact, they are built from a pile of barriers and challenges.

The point is, you should not focus on comfort if you want to gain career progression.

X Always follow instructions

As a newcomer, you might find it difficult to voice your opinion and ideas, however, you should speak them up anyway. While your manager might know a lot about the field of industry, always saying yes to his instruction indicates that you have a lack of innovation, which could be bad for your self-image. Besides, your manager does not “know-it-all”, he might end up assigning you to an unclear task or give unclear instructions, which could negatively affect your wellbeing. Thus, voicing your own expectation is needed. 

X Not asking for help and feedback

Being “the new guy” does not come easy. Asking for help and feedback could probably two of the most difficult things to do in a strange land of working place. You might think that asking for help can be perceived as incompetence and incapable individual that might result negatively in your new professional career.

You have to throw that thought away, nevertheless, because not asking for help or feedback could result in negative thoughts. You are still new and might lack knowledge about your new role, thus, not asking for help or feedback can stress you out. In addition, your peers and managers might also think that you don’t need help, are very antisocial, and do not open for collaboration.

X Treating work project like school assignments

You can do your university assignments on its due date but doing the same to work project is a fatal mistake. During your university life, doing a mistake in your assignment will result in a bad grade. While in the workplace, making mistakes can be seen as a fatal and incompetent behaviour. You should also acknowledge that a work project is much harder than “school assignments” as it might require more time to accomplish. Besides, the end results can sometimes ambiguous and you often need to find a solution yourself. Relying on co-worker or manager might not be really helpful as they have their own duty so they might not have time to focus on helping you in your job.

X Doing project lazily 

This is your first month of probation and the employer closely watches your every move. So, never show a sign of laziness when doing your task. The tasks might be hard to complete which decrease your motivation to finish it. But remember, if they find out you are not competent and reliable today, you might no longer work there the next day.

X Isolating yourself

As the new guy, it is normal to feel uncertain about how you will fit in the environment. You might also find yourself uneasy to ask or talk to people and find yourself alone in the corner of the office or being too focused only on your tasks all the time. Please don’t do that.  

Isolating yourself is a sign of unwelcome behaviour. If you can’t openly express yourself due to uncertain feeling, you should as best as possible be “the tough and bold kid” – talk and be sociable as you can and make sure you don’t eat alone.

X Ignoring the corporate culture

The dress code, the dynamics and politics of a company is important. It shows the unique cultural code and sometimes, is used as a brand representation of an organisation. Thus, ignoring this part could lead to unacceptance of one’s behaviour. Ignoring the company’s cultural code can also make you stand out in a negative way. For example, former employees might think that you are given special treatment so they start to backbiting you or talking bad about you.

X Work too hard and beyond limitations

We were taught to go beyond our limits if we want to succeed. But a “limit” also has a limitation. If you want to be seen as a new diligent guy, that’s fine. But be mindful with your own health and condition. Asking for 5 days of sick leave in your first-month job does not seem “professional”.

Therefore, albeit it is your months of trial, you should set boundaries and expectations for yourself. You should also ask clear expectations from manager to avoid miscommunication.  

Read also: Key Skills Needed to Survive the 21st Century

If there’s anything stronger than your resume to secure an interview call, it is your cover letter that creates an impression on the minds of the employer. A brilliant resume might showcase to your future employer, that you possess the required educational background and promising potential. However the truth is a resume in itself is not enough.

Among other equally qualified and talented candidates, why should the company choose you instead? What could make them believe that you are the best fit for the job role? Relax! A well-written cover letter is the answer to these questions.

If the process of job searching can be pictured literally to draw comparisons with ‘hunting’ experience, then you do need resilient weapons to bring the game home. If a resume can be said to be an arrow, then cover letter is the bow that will help the arrow to hit the target right.

This creative example applies in job seeking too, wherein a cover letter is meant to complement the resume. But can’t you just rely on a resume? Not all of it. It’s important to remember that, the arrow released from the bow will work more effectively than those arrows that are thrown away with empty hands.

Going by the parable, we can say that cover letter is a complementary tool to confirm and empower what’s being stated in the resume. It is an efficient way to demonstrate your skills and experiences. Therefore, the writing process of a cover letter should not be taken lightly.

In just a few paragraphs, you should be able to explain your qualifications and experiences in the right professional tone and retain the hiring manager’s attention to be thereafter called for an interview. No wonder, writing a perfect cover letter requires extra efforts and commitment.

Then the real question is, how should you write a compelling and meaningful cover letter, instead of a cliché one? To help you stay off the damaging cover letter pitfalls, here are 9 things you should never state:

  1.       Wrong or false information

Well, this might be obvious. But actually, to find candidates telling lies in their resume is not something uncommon. Don’t risk your reputation by putting wrong or false information in the cover letter as well. Always pay attention to minute details, usage of words and phrases, and double check if you have written the name, address, job title, and other information correctly.

  1.       Spelling or grammatical errors

Your friend might just shrug his shoulder when you make typos during a friendly chat. However, if such typo errors are found in your cover letter, it will impact your chances of getting called for an interview, not sure if hired later either. Therefore, after penning down your cover letter, check for  grammatical and spelling mistakes or punctuation errors. To avoid making silly mistakes, you can perhaps ask your friend to proofread the cover letter as well.

  1.       Cliché language

There are hundreds of resumes and cover letters piling up on employer’s desk everyday for a certain job role. If you bore them in your cover letter using cliché and generic language, then you fail to position yourself differently and unique than anyone else. This could make the recruiter to simply lose interest in your candidature. Therefore, showcase your efforts by crafting the cover letter carefully to eliminate usage of cliché phrases, and by replacing them with unique expressions that reflect your true personality.

  1.       Revealing your weaknesses

A cover letter is all about telling what you can offer, if selected for the position. So, do not mention any skills and qualifications that you do not possess at this point in time, because it will only reveal your weaknesses instead. Focus on how you can make most of this opportunity to retain the hiring manager’s attention, impress the potential employer with your skills and knowledge to be shortlisted and called for interview rounds.

  1.       Negative remarks

Maybe you left your last job in awkward situations and not really amicable terms with your past employer. However, this does not mean that you can talk negatively about them, criticise or badmouth the former organisation. Such attitude is not only unethical, but your potential employer could also perceive it as a sign of attitude or performance issues.

  1.       Personal information

Cover letter is about you on what you can offer to the company and how. Therefore, it is crucial to always appear professional in a cover letter. You should not mention any personal information that has nothing to do with the job or the company. If you want to talk about your personal issues or challenges, you can wait until you get selected for a personal round of interview.

  1.       Overselling yourself

Yes, it is important to emphasise your pluses rather than minuses. But there’s a thin line of difference to be followed as your sell your skills to the future employer – do not sound conceited, egoistic, closed minded or over proud of your achievements. While you need to highlight your accomplishments positively, make sure to not make it sound exaggerated.

  1.       Excessive flattery

Do not sugar-coat your cover letter with excessive praise and flattery, just for the sake of gaining attention. People can easily tell the difference between genuine remarks and the empty sweet talks.

  1.       Talking about salary

While we all know that every hiring process will come down to the money-talk. There is always a time right for discussing salary and compensations later, but not to state the same far ahead of time on your cover letter. This is one big mistake. Unless you are asked to mention and clearly state your salary expectations in the cover letter, you should rather keep such discussions until you are called for a personal interview.

Cover letter can help you unlock doors to the best job opportunity and get your candidature shortlisted for the interview. Going beyond traditional resume, a cover letter allows you the opportunity to highlight your strengths and key selling points. Therefore, craft it right in a good, professional tone to empower your resume, and make the interview feel it’s worth the time and energy invested to meet you in person for an interview.