It’s the holidays – the season of giving! And if you’re interested in a successful career, you need to make a spirit of gratitude your norm. Here are 7 ways being ungrateful can hurt your career:
- Neglecting to prepare: It’s fairly easy for your contact or an interviewer to recognize if you’ve prepared for the meeting. Coming to a coffee meeting expecting your contact to do the work (e.g., “What do you think I should do?“) or believing you can “wing it” in the interview is a message to others that you’re not worth advocating for.
- Acting entitled: You may have several letters behind your name, fantastic companies on your resume, and a stellar network, but no one deserves a senior title, high pay or the corner office. In a job search, you must show others how you apply your expertise to solve their pain points, and also how you’re a fit for their culture. An awesome skill set coupled with a poor attitude isn’t an attractive combo.
- Using your contacts: Many job seekers employ the “one and done” method of networking, which is why it doesn’t work. Meeting with someone just to get to the next person versus building mutually beneficial relationships through repeated, meaningful contact isn’t networking – it’s using people. And, it’s really obvious to your contacts, so if that’s your networking strategy, there’s room for improvement.
- Skipping the follow-up: When networking, people who invest time in you want to know how things turned out, and to be thanked for helping (even if you accept a role they weren’t directly involved in). When interviewing, 75% of Hirers stated that receiving a thank you note (email is fine!) was a factor in their decision. Don’t leave people hanging – they may not be there next time you need help.
- Failing to reciprocate: It seems obvious that if someone helps you, you should reciprocate when the opportunity arises. But, even if you’re not in a position to have something to offer to those who’ve helped you, that doesn’t mean you can’t make time to help others who ask. In networking, karma is king. After all, assisting others is exactly what you’ve asked of your network. What if they’d said “no” to you? Practice good networking karma!
- Categorizing others: Being rude to the Receptionist only to muster up a warm greeting for the Vice President won’t win you any points. Exceptional leaders realize all people count and that big titles or mahogany desks don’t equate to true leadership. Successful people treat everyone with respect and recognize there’s something to learn from everyone who crosses their paths. Don’t be a jerk – it’ll come back to bite you.
- Being late: Showing up late communicates that your time is more important than everyone else’s. While there may be extenuating circumstances on occasion that prevent you from being timely, if it’s a pattern, evaluate the cause and fix it. If you tend to misjudge traffic, then consistently incorporate a 20 minute buffer. If you cringe at time wasted by showing up early, bring work so you can use that 10 minutes productively, yet still be present at the scheduled time.
Cultivate a habit of gratitude in your career and you will no doubt reap the benefits.