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Career Mistakes

Failing to network

One evening, while filling my car with petrol, I was approached by a local authority adviser who addressed me with the words, "I'm not sure your application for that post at X school is wise at this stage."

In fact, this person with influence over my career had mistaken me for someone else. I told the story to colleagues many times as a rather hurt criticism of the adviser before someone pointed out my own mistake.

What is the right thing to do?

The people who have a say in your career are rarely perfect. I should have made sure this one knew me: asked his advice, gone to his meetings and smilingly greeted him at every possible opportunity. Never be afraid, incidentally, to introduce yourself by name: "Hello again. It's Smith, from St Geronimo's. We met at your special educational needs course last month."

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