When It Comes To Your Career, Listen To Your Mother

mothers day flowersIn honor of moms everywhere, we wanted to share with you how common “mom-isms” can translate to your professional life. Do any of these sound familiar?

“Because I’ve got eyes in the back of my head.”
This may have been been said to you when you were doing something you shouldn’t have been. Siblings were probably involved. We’re not here to judge – that was the past. This “momism” is a good reminder that even when you think no one is looking, they really are. In an interview, never let down your guard. Be on your best behavior at all times. Game face on! Be polite, professional and nice to everyone, from the doorman to the receptionist. Interviewers often ask other employees (at all levels) for their impressions of a candidate.  Just pretend your mom is watching. This advice holds true once you get the job too.

“Stop making that face or it’ll freeze in that position.”
We’re not suggesting that you’re about to make a silly face in an interview, but do you even know what you look like answering interview questions? Mock interviews can be very useful. Recruit a friend and practice. Make sure you are aware of and correct poor non-verbal behavior (tapping the desk, squinting, nervous tics, etc.) so you don’t risk not getting that second interview.

“Don’t ask me why – the answer is NO.”
This mom catchphrase was usually uttered when you wanted to do something inappropriate, ridiculous or dangerous. Or, when your mom was just tired of the endless questions and requests. Either way, it’s good advice if you’re thinking about breaking certain career related rules. For instance, are you a new grad that wants to submit a 3 page resume? NO. A one or two page resume is appropriate. Think you can just bypass submitting your information online because it involves extra steps? NO. Most companies that have a web based applicant tracking system (ATS) require that you apply online. Follow the rules. They matter.

“Watch your language!”
This holds true for what you say at work, in an interview, in emails and on social media. Everything you say (verbal or written) is a reflection of who you are.  Use keywords on your cover letter and resume and language appropriate for your field. Talk professionally, avoid slang and office gossip. Make mom proud.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
This is great advice when it comes to evaluating job listings. For new grads, don’t dismiss entry level openings when you’re trying to get your foot in the door. For mid level job seekers and career changers, be open to opportunities.  Don’t overlook organizations because they may be smaller, lesser known or not as glamorous as the big names. There are many hidden gems and growth opportunities where you least expect them. Be nonjudgmental and keep an open mind.

“It’s no use crying over spilled milk.”
Mistakes and rejection are a part of life, and that includes your career. You won’t get an interview for every resume you send out. You may not get that promotion or raise. Don’t give up.  Analyze what happened and try again! Some things are in your control and others aren’t. The important thing is to keep moving forward in your career and your life. You can do it!

“Are you really going out dressed like that?
Sound familiar? This question transcends the decades. No matter what the fashions of the day are, it never hurts to re-evaluate your attire. Ask a trusted friend what they REALLY think of your look. Always dress in professional clothes for an interview, even if it’s for a place where casual wear is accepted. Better to err on the conservative side, than risk not getting an interview call back.

“If you don’t clean your plate, you won’t get any dessert.”
Sweet rewards, like sweet desserts, are within your reach. Getting that job, promotion or raise requires a game plan and extra effort. Few people love writing resumes or going through the interview process, but it’s a necessary task to get where you want to be. Never give up.

“Some day you will thank me for this.”
We do, and that day is today. Thanks mom, and Happy Mother’s Day!

P.S. Have any “mom-isms” you want to share? Comment and let us know.  Thanks for reading!

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

© OldcastleCareers, 2014. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to OldcastleCareers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Filed under Careers, Cover Letters, Interviewing, Job Search

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