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When you have to walk through land mines that others have laid it is understandable, but when you have laid the mines yourself, then there is a bigger problem. Land mines are meant to be a surprise for the enemy. Instead, self laid land mines are a surprise for... Well, the person that laid them. Is that you? Digging up those land mines you've laid will help you in several ways:

  • You'll be able to keep your job search in control. There are so many things you cannot control already such as, decisions by the employer, salary, personality differences and more. Why not think through potential issues and reconcile them?
  • The truth will set you free. No need to look over your shoulder.
  • You want the hiring process and background checks as seamless as possible. If you know there is a skeleton in your employment closet, and it's found out, expect to be disqualified.
It's more than getting out of your own way. People in general lay land mines in their relationships. Job seekers do similar damage to their careers and job search resulting in long and unnecessary durations of unemployment that he or she could control.

Dangerous Job Search Land Mines To Avoid

See if you laid any of these land mines:

1. You Nearly Completed Paper Work

Although a job search is often tedious and grueling, it requires attention to detail and accuracy. Leaving blank spaces on applications or inconsistencies in dates and places is a problem. Whenever the employer has a cause for suspicion, they will likely investigate. The verdict: You're lying.

2. You Didn't Screen References

Are you sure that the people you have listed as references can speak to your competencies? You must know there are areas that your references can speak for you. If they can't, it will be viewed negatively.

3. You Underestimated The Depth Of Background Checks

I had a client who lied to me about her job situation but didn't know I knew at the time. I recommended her to a friend who interviewed her, impressed by her, but the FBI background check was problematic. Not that they were able to verify what was wrong other than many other things that were unverifiable. This grey line is a land mine if too many holes are unfilled or unconfirmed.

4. You Quit? No, You Were Fired!

This is an old school game where no one really wins. Companies in recent years have passed on verifying this kind of information to protect themselves against defamation lawsuits. You can call your former employer to confirm what they will say about your departure. By law, there are no restrictions in saying you were fired especially in cases of time theft or falsifying information.

5. You Didn't Sell Yourself

If you don't shine the light on your best attributes, then who will? If you are unsure of your best features, then look at your old performance reviews. Starting there will trigger other areas that you excel.

6. You Used The "Me, Me, Me" Networking Technique

No one responds to your requests for help because you offer no value. Are you the same person that keeps saying that my network sucks? You don't give, share, or interact!

7. You Appeared Unteachable

No one mentors you. You lack training. No training or education courses in the last 10 years. You don't discuss new books, seminars, or workshops.

8. You Didn't Listen Well. (Or At All.)

Many people who don't listen well are guilty of misunderstanding the questions being asked. The problem is the intent to receive what they want out of a conversation.

9) You Told A White Lie (It's A Lie!)

A potential client told me, "My title is Assistant Manager, but it's like a Co-Manager position." How many times have we heard that line? Let me tell you how many bumped up his or her position on the resume. Too many? The right questions will reveal your true knowledge about the position. You won't fool many if anyone by misrepresenting your experience. We all have things that we regret, but why have things that can be researched. Have you Googled yourself lately? You should because there are mistakes that you made in the past that can be diminished or controlled. It is easier to rest and to answer questions when you realize there are issues you know will haunt you. Coaches and mentors can really help with how you appear and come across during the interview process. Did I leave out anything? What employment skeletons did you have to confront? Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.