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7 Career Mistakes To Avoid

Resource Library July 28, 2017

“The only one managing your career is you!”

Career Mistakes To AvoidYou’ve probably heard this advice many times from multiple sources. However, what these well-meaning advisors neglected to tell you is that managing your own career is hard! You spent the formative years of your life and education following a clearly prescribed plan with a clearly mapped out path to success, but as soon as you accept your first job there’s no one direction to go in. It’s up to you to decide where you want to go in your career and how you want to get there.

As recruiters, we’re happy to help you decide what success looks like for you and how we can help you get there, but we also see a lot of candidates who come to us to try and undo career mistakes they’ve already made. Many of these candidates seem to make the same kinds of serious career blunders that are easily avoidable, simply by being aware of them. We’ve compiled some of the most common mistakes we hear about from candidates so that you can avoid the same traps.

1) Falling asleep on your career

This is one of the most common mistakes we see and is also why many candidates reach out to us in the first place. You took your job because you needed it out of college even though it wasn’t what you were passionate about. It was pretty ok, so you stayed long enough to get promoted. Ten years later, it’s still just ok, but you feel like you can’t start over at this stage. Sound familiar? If so, you need to stop coasting and start managing your career right now! Giving us a call is a good start…

2) Pretending to be something you’re not

Maybe you slightly oversold your abilities on your resume or maybe you pretended to really enjoy a particular responsibility that you actually hate in order to get the job. Over time, you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up or you’ll be stuck doing a task you hate while having to pretend you love it. This is relatively easy to fix, but it’s better to just represent yourself authentically in the first place.

3) Burning bridges

This is one of the most if not the most commonly given pieces of advice out there, but we’re going to say it again because so many people ignore it! Quitting out of anger, throwing a coworker under the bus, leaving without giving notice- these are all common mistakes that candidates make. You’d be surprised how often people come back around in your professional life!

4) Making decisions solely based on money

While money is an important factor when making business related decisions, it’s not the only one to consider. This goes for both your personal salary and project-related decisions. If money is your only decisional metric, you could end up losing your dream job because of a pay cut or losing an investment for your company by ignoring a gut feeling.

5) Putting your life on the back burner

If you’re putting blood, sweat, and tears into your company at the expense of your friends, family, and personal happiness and well-being, stop and ask yourself if your company would do the same thing for you. You’re not at your best when you’re burnt out and neither is your career. No one ever looks back on their death bed and says, “I wish I’d worked more.”

6) Failing to set boundaries at work

Do you find yourself frequently asked to do things your peers are not, like stay late at work or complete extra projects? Do you feel like you can’t say no to these requests because you said yes a few times and now you don’t know how to say no without looking uncooperative? Especially when you start a new job, it’s vital to be conscious of the professional expectations you invite and that you’re clear about what your boundaries are. Otherwise, you’ll end up feeling burdened and put upon until one day you snap.

7) Not taking risks

The right thing and the easy thing are not always the same. As you increase your professional standing, the right thing is the easy thing less and less. No one wants to make a mistake in his or her career, but everyone has done it and learned from it. These learning experiences are what make you grow personally and professionally and without them, you’re dooming yourself to a life of career boredom, always wondering how things would have turned out if you’d just taken that calculated risk.

If you can avoid these career mistakes, you’ll already be ahead of much of your competition and well on your way to success. If you could use a little extra coaching, give us a call and we’ll help you figure out how to optimize your career choices and get you your dream job!


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