By Ashley Collins, AgCareers.com Education and Marketing Manager
Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish I would have known then, what I know now?” Many people tell themselves that when they realize that a mistake in the past has cost them their dream job. In the competitive employment market, you can’t afford to make mistakes that could prevent you from getting a job offer.
Bad Credit—Credit cards can be easily obtained and can just as easily damage your chances of getting a job if misused. Depending on the position, some companies offer corporate credit cards. Companies don’t want employees who can’t manage their personal finances, having the ability to damage the company finances. Additionally, if you’re not able to manage your own debt, employers may find you more likely to take office or company supplies to make some extra cash to compensate for things you can’t buy yourself. One other example that can hurt your credit is not paying your bills on time. There are a lot of ways that people can exceed their cell phone plans and end up with excess charges that they can’t pay.
Driving while intoxicated—Not just driving while intoxicated, but driving under the influence, underage drinking charges, etc. can all be detrimental to your job search. Many companies provide employees with a company vehicle. Employees who have a poor driving record, with these types of charges, can be a tremendous risk to the company, not to mention a liability on their insurance policies. For that reason alone, many employers have a zero tolerance for these types of offenses. Candidates who otherwise fit the job description perfectly and have successfully made it through all other screening factors, may quickly be rejected during the driving background check.
Some professions require candidates to pass tests for licensure or certificates. The boards who oversee those tests often will not grant them to individuals who do not represent good moral character or fail to pass background checks.
Poor Social Networking Practices— Many people use Facebook, but it can’t be said enough that employers are looking! Keeping your profiles clean and stop others from identifying you in pictures on their accounts that could cause an employer to view you in a not-so-positive light. Twitter is another culprit that has recently cost candidates job offers. I heard about a student who tweeted about a job interview and how great she felt it went, and thought she’d be a shoe-in for the position. The employer had been monitoring her online behaviors, and after reading the submission, they thought the candidate was too sure of herself and wouldn’t be a good fit for the position. Everything on the internet can be archived, which means it is also searchable. Your online profiles might be just for friends now, but later on it could cost you a job offer.
Misusing Your Network—Pay attention to who is in the room. A common mistake made in conversation, whether that is face-to-face or electronically, can be bad mouthing previous employers. This mistake can also be made in the interview. We’ve all had or know someone who’s had a weak supervisor or someone they didn’t work well with. Regardless of the situation, think twice before sharing your opinions. What you say will reflect more on yourself than the person or company you’re talking about.
Finding a job can be difficult enough without worrying about those one-time mistakes that can haunt you for a lifetime. While this is a short list, each item can have long term consequences.