Get A Graduate Job - What to do if you make a mistake at work

Securing a graduate role may be your first entry into a full-time position. As you begin to take your first steps on the career ladder, you’ll be learning the ropes from day one. This will bring plenty of challenges and really test your skills, but what should you do if you make a mistake at work? 

Once again our team of graduate experts have got you covered with some simple steps to make it a little easier if you do make a mistake…

Recognise your error

Take a deep breath, it’ll all be okay… now it’s time to acknowledge your mistake. Give yourself time to evaluate the situation and start thinking of ways to rectify it. You’ll be best served to own the problem rather than creating excuses. Honesty is the best answer but be prepared to serve up some solutions. 

Step back and keep things in perspective 

Making a mistake at work can leave you upset, angry or demotivated but it’s important to keep your emotions at bay and stay focused. Equally, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Unless your role involves a life or death situation such as being a pilot or surgeon, most mistakes can be rectified. 

Whatever your profession, try to take something away from the mistake and work on the ways you can improve. Our advice is to use this moment in your career wisely, ultimately developing your resilience while pushing yourself to achieve positive outcomes in the future. 

Apology accepted 

Apologise for your mistake, but make it swift and remember to state you’re on course to correct it. Once again this comes down to acknowledging the error. Try to keep your apology short and sweet, no frills, and definitely no excuses. 

Depending on the seriousness of the mistake, chances are by the time you’ve plucked up the courage to apologise, the team will have moved on engrossed in their own goals and tasks. Lastly, it’s important not to overdo it – once you’ve said your peace, move on and get cracking with fixing the problem.

Quick wins

Your mistake may not have gone down too well, so what better way to get back in the good books than showcasing the fantastic skills that got you the job in the first place. You might want to spend a few days being the first in the office and last out to impress your employers with your dedication, while excelling in your next project or task will do wonders for ensuring your mistake was only a blip. These are small wins that can rebuild your employer’s confidence in your abilities. 

Learn from your mistake

Making an error in the workplace, especially as a new graduate, may seem like the end of the world… in reality, it’s not. If you ask any CEO of a major company, the chances are they’ve made at least one mistake on their way up the career ladder. What makes a difference is learning from your mistakes. If you can showcase your abilities by performing strongly in the next task that comes your way, it will do wonders for your confidence.

It’s common to make a mistake in the workplace, especially when you are learning. What counts is your ability to rectify and acknowledge the issue. If you’ve made a mistake or you’re worried about making one, seek out some of these steps to get back on the right track.

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