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Avoid these things if you want to get ahead at work

Sport is likely the only place a sweaty handshake is okay. (Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty)

Sport is likely the only place a sweaty handshake is acceptable. (Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty)

You might have shelves lined with books explaining how to get ahead at work or how to answer tricky interview questions to land your dream job. But what about the things you shouldn’t do?

There might not be a shelf full on the etiquette of shaking hands, or what you should never say in a job interview, or how to stop whining and rise up the corporate ladder, but several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in this week on exactly those things — what not to do if you want to get ahead.

Here’s what some of them had to say.

James Caan, chief executive officer at Hamilton Bradshaw Group

We all know that “setting yourself apart from the crowd is vital when you are looking for that new job,” wrote Caan in his post What Not to Say in a Job Interview. But do we know what we should never say?

There are “very common… phrases which you should try to avoid” wrote Caan. Among them:

“’I don’t know. The best way of dealing with the tough questions is to do your homework. The importance of research cannot be understated — you should know about the company, and be prepared for anything you will be asked about your own CV,” explained Caan. “Of course if there is a question which you are not expected to know the answer to, or if you are genuinely stuck, don't make things up or try to bluff your way through. Move back into your comfort zone, relate the question back to something you do know and take on board any new information you are given.”

“’I dislike my current company.’ You never want to turn the tone of the interview negative, even if you may be having a bad experience at your current job,” Caan wrote. “All this does is make you seem like somebody who is difficult to manage.”

Bernard Marr, chief executive officer at Advanced Performance Institute

What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone new through work? That’s right — shake hands. The handshake is critical in business.  “Getting it wrong can create awkward moments and distract from making a good first impression,” wrote Marr in his post Six Ways NOT to Shake Hands.

Among the worst-offending handshake mistakes, Marr cited:

“The sweaty slip. Some people have a natural tendency to get sweaty hands and many get them when they are nervous, that’s just normal,” he wrote. “It can make shaking hands tricky in stressful situations such as job interviews. However, I think there is no excuse for a wet handshake.”

“The limp fish. Not gripping the other person’s hand firmly enough and then shaking from your wrist is a big mistake,” Marr wrote. The message it sends, he wrote: “‘I am not confident’ or ‘I am a push-over’.”

“The avoider. “Someone that doesn’t make eye contact when they shake your hand or someone that pulls away too quickly… signals to me that they are either under-confident, very shy, or they don’t really want to meet me or shake my hand,” cautioned Marr.

Scott Case, co-founder and chief executive officer at Main Street Genome

In many careers, the 10-year mark can be a moment when a common theme emerges:  “You’re in your early to mid-30’s. You have a good job, a nice life at home, but something is missing. Nothing is wrong, but nothing is awesome,” wrote Case in his post Stop Whining.

“You are ‘good enough’ at work… but you are not progressing,” wrote Case. “Why aren’t you moving forward? Why aren’t you doing what you want to do?”

There are four excuses Case hears regularly. Among the whining to leave behind:

“’I’m too busy.’ Guess what, we’re all busy,” Case wrote. “In the end, you will regret all of the opportunities you passed on. If a chance is presented, then change your schedule and make the time. It’s that simple.”

“’I’m lazy.’ I’ve never had anyone give me this excuse, but for some people it’s an underlying issue,” explained Case. “It’s time to stop being so lazy. Nothing is going to fall into your lap. Create opportunity for yourself.”

“’It’s not the right time.’ There will never be a right time. There is never a good time to get married, quit your job, buy a house, or start a company. Everyone is given the same amount of time in a day, but the manner in which you choose to spend this time is entirely up to you,” wrote Case. “Now is as good a time as any.”

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