If you want to be a success in your job, or get a better job/promotion, there are some definite career mistakes to avoid. What may look like the simplest of errors can actually leave an impression on someone that effectively blots your copy book and may stop you moving into a new position or up the next rung of the ladder. Here are some of the most obvious career mistakes to avoid.
1. Applying for Everything
Read through the job requirements. One of the career mistakes to avoid is applying for everything on the off-chance you pick up a job. Even if you do somehow manage to get into one of these roles, you could find yourself doing a job you’re completely unprepared for.
One of the biggest career slip-ups you can make is a typo. And, making a simple typo on an application for a job is the worst sin of all. It shows to a manager you could not care less about this job. It only takes a few minutes to edit your work. So do it!
3. No Social Media Presence
Get active and start making connections. You don’t want someone to find themselves wondering who you are. Show you’re professional by opening a social media account and being responsible. Being responsible online means keeping extreme opinions to yourself and not letting the world in on things you really should be keeping to yourself and your social circle. By all means, have a professional and a social profile, but know the differences and keep to them.
4. Not Know Your Manners
Another of the career traps to avoid is failing to show proper etiquette in an interview. Show up on time, dress appropriately, speak politely, and send a thank you note afterwards. Those are four things every good interview should consist of. It seems pointlessly finicky, but it could mean the difference between employment and unemployment.
5. LinkedIn Laziness
LinkedIn is a website for displaying achievements and keeping updated on industry trends. Bring your account out of retirement and update it. Headhunters often scour the ranks of LinkedIn to find qualified candidates to invite to an interview.
6. Dress Right
Despite the fact that so many different looks are “acceptable” in the workplace, you can still be discriminated against for not having the right image. Whether it’s for an interview or your daily work wardrobe, make sure it fits the job. There are ways to express your personal style yet still look the consummate professional. A blue Mohawk and nose piercing doesn’t instill a sense of confidence if you’re a tax accountant but is perfectly acceptable for working in a more arty place.
Not doing your homework before an interview or not keeping up with the latest goings on in your industry sector will either not get you the new job or hold you back in your current one. You want to impress at every interview. The way to ingrain your character into the mind of the interviewer is to demonstrate your passion for the industry you’re working in. Appear informed by staying on top of the latest trends and happenings. Don’t go out of your way to quote them, but quietly slip them in for maximum effect.
8. Asking the Wrong Questions at Interviews
Asking the wrong questions is one of the classic career mistakes to avoid. The wrong questions always center on what the company can provide you with, such as salary, allowance, and vacation time. Inquire into corporate culture and growth opportunities. Your goal is to portray yourself as someone who gives, not takes.
9. Demand More
Don’t be one of those who make the mistake of putting up and shutting up. It’s not ‘rocking the boat’ to ask for more from your company. If you’re carrying the department on your back, it’s only right to have more. Put in a request for a salary increase. It doesn’t mean you should walk out if you don’t get it, but it’s a wake-up call to consider whether you would be better served working elsewhere.
10. Heroic Statue
You always work overtime and you never join your colleagues for lunch. You are the hero who tirelessly puts her head down and drives the company forward. Whilst you’ll get some kudos for that, it doesn’t enhance your personal relationships nor increase your job satisfaction. And you might just need one of these people to get you a job or promotion one day. Not investing time in interpersonal relationships at work is one of the career mistakes top performers don’t make.
11. Stopping the Search
Quitting the job search just because you’ve found a job is the wrong way to go about things. It’s one of the major career mistakes to avoid as you always want to make yourself accessible. Continue updating your LinkedIn profile and portfolio to entice headhunters offering better jobs than you have now.
12. Complaining All the Time
Nobody likes a complainer. And nobody wants to have such a toxic attitude in the work environment. This career slip-up can cost you your professional relationships, and news spreads fast. Who is going to give a good reference to such a person? If you must complain, do it quietly and send any complaints through the proper work channels. Even better – be proactive and suggest a change to remove the cause of the complaint!
13. Working While Sick
It’s tempting to stoically continue working in a time of sickness but really, all you’re doing is increasing the risk of an infected office – and no one gets brownie points for causing more people to take time off. Don’t become the person who starts off a major bug in the office by coming into work. Stay at home and recuperate. If you must work, take it home with you and send things in remotely.
14. Not Learning
Always enhance your education. One of the most often overlooked mistakes in career progression is resting on your laurels. If you ever hope to advance forward, you have to make it clear you want it. Perking up when there’s a new opening isn’t enough. Upper management looks to the people who are always searching for self-improvement.
15. Ignoring Feelings
We’re told to suppress our emotional urges. That just means stay calm. What it doesn’t mean is ignoring what other people think and feel. Customers and clients act on feeling, so you should too. Bear in mind what others want and try to take into account their feelings. It can give you the advantage in anything from office politics to closing a sale. One of the best pieces of advice relating to career mistakes to avoid I ever received was “be careful on whom you tread on your way up, because you never know whom you will meet on the way down.”
16. Saving Vacations
Not taking advantage of days off every so often can lead to burnout. Rather than hoarding it for a couple of longer vacations, spread it out. It will make you feel more refreshed and prevent you from making any silly mistakes.
17. Becoming a Clock Watcher
The clock watcher arrives precisely on time and leaves precisely when the official working day ends. It sends the message you don’t care about the company. You’re going through the motions and just want to get home. This is a major career slip-up as it’s not going to be you who is in line for a promotion.
18. Offering the Bare Minimum
Cutting corners is amongst the biggest career mistakes to avoid. Not doing the right amount of research, losing a crucial sale because of a lackadaisical attitude or failing to do a spell check are all red flags to your employer. You will be paid your salary for doing the basics of your job but that won’t win promotion or recognition.
19. Staying Relaxed
Getting into a groove is a nice thing. It’s also an enemy in disguise. It’s one of the job mistakes to avoid because once someone motivated and enthusiastic arrives, it’s going to make you look bad. When the higher-ups realize they’ve brought in someone far better, why should they keep someone who’s content to just roll along and not put in the extra effort?
20. Letting Others Control Your Destiny
Your manager is there to manage the work, not to manage your career. They can mentor you, encourage you and help you along the way, but they do not control your career and nor should you let them. Take responsibility for your own progression, enlisting their help as appropriate.
You don’t have to necessarily be a risk taker or a serious high-flier to make decent progress in the world of work. Knowing the basic career mistakes to avoid will help you do a good job and have a job you enjoy. Have you fallen afoul of any of these mistakes or maybe you have some extra advice to chip in?