Mistakes are a natural part of life and a critical part of learning. However, there are times when they can be damaging or even costly. Trying to cover up a mistake you’ve made is perhaps one of the worst things you can do. We all makes mistakes, particularly when we are starting out and have little to no experience - and most employers understand that.

You are not unusual if you’re scared of the repercussions of making mistakes. However, that being said, you can’t allow fear to rule you. Being an adult means taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, so the sooner you do so, the better off you’ll be.

As soon as you realise you’ve made a mistake, let your manager or someone in a position of authority know. Failing to do so could turn a fairly minor error into something more serious.

Use mistakes as a learning curve and an opportunity to hone your problem-solving skills: approaching your boss or manager with possible solutions will show that you are not only willing to admit when you have slipped up, but that you are thinking of ways to turn the situation around.

Trainees are not expected to have all the answers – or to get everything right first time. Don’t be afraid of asking questions when you’re unsure of something.

A common mistake many trainees make is failing to take advantage of each and every learning and development opportunity. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t need further training because you already know it all. As you will soon realise, it will be a long time before you know it all and there is no such thing as being too skilled. If you are offered an opportunity to develop your skills further, grab it. This is the time to be a sponge and absorb as much as you possibly can.

Another common mistake many trainees make is failing to find a balance. For those who have an ambitious end goal in mind, it’s all too easy to forget that work is not everything. While we all know that success doesn’t come without hard work, turning into a workaholic is counterproductive. Your career is a journey – hopefully a long one – so understand what gives you energy, perspective and feeds your soul.

Nobody likes an arrogant colleague and you should not confuse being confident with being arrogant. A healthy dose of humility will go a long way to earning you respect in the workplace.

Never forget the importance of professionalism: dress professionally; make sure that all your public social media accounts look professional and don’t contain any inappropriate information; respond to emails timeously and professionally; and pitch up for meetings on time.

Remember that you still need to pay your dues and prove your worth. The world of work is not one of instant gratification and it takes time to build up your experience. There may be a fair bit of drudge involved in your first job. Be patient. Be gracious. Work hard. It won’t be overlooked.

Don’t wait to be told what to do. Be proactive and self-motivated. But ask for help if you get stuck.

Avoid office politics at all costs. As the newbie trainee, you could be a target for co-workers wanting to stir the pot. Be polite but don’t allow yourself to get dragged into it. 

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