College graduates have had at least 17 years of teachers telling them if they are right or wrong on an assignment. One of the real differences in a career is that you no longer have someone checking your work. While your boss will review your work, the assumption is that your work is accurate.
So how do you check your own work? Here are some general guidelines that would be helpful.
- Independently verify the information you receive from at least two different sources. One of the mistakes that many young graduates make is to accept information they obtain without challenging it if it is really valid.
- Think about your approach. Does it make sense? Is there any other way you could approach the situation?
- Once you have developed your approach, review it with someone who has experience. What you don’t want to do is to ask the person how to approach the assignment given to you, but instead react to your plan.
- Do a double check on every step in your approach.
- Conduct a sensitivity analysis on your solution. A sensitivity analysis essentially explores how the answer would change should there be a change in one of the inputs you used.
- Ask yourself: “does the answer seem reasonable?” You should generally have an idea of what is reasonable.
- Test out your solution informally on others. Get their thoughts on whether the solution seems reasonable.
The one big difference between college and career in checking your work is that you will have more time to review your own work. But time alone won’t help unless you are very conscientious about what you are doing. Carelessness can doom a career..