Too often we see people making the same career mistakes, over and over. The pattern is repeated regularly. Whether a career is derailed or it is just a minor hiccup, the fact remains that the issue could have been avoided.
So what are some of the most common career mistakes we see?
When people stop learning and stretching
Early on in my accounting career I got a strong talking to by our Finance Director. Having left university I’d settled into corporate life and did not take up a range of learning opportunities available. I was one of those who said ‘I’ll never need to study again’. How wrong I was – as he made very clear to me!
An openness to learning is now recognised as one of the most important attitudes you can have. Experts tell us to look for opportunities to learn and to keep challenging ourselves.
Not immersing yourself in the vision, mission, strategic intent of the organisation
If your organisation has a vision, mission or strategic plan, then it is a huge mistake if you only focus on the day-to-day activities and duties of your role.
Giving less than 100%
My dad was constantly reminding me early in my career that you should always give more than the organisation expects. For example, he was a stickler for arriving at work at least 15 minutes early and staying at least 15 minutes later than was expected.
He would say that people who completed the bare minimum each day were sabotaging their career. While not an accountant, my dad believed that by doing more and taking on extra challenges, you would be building an asset – yourself; and that the income would follow.
Turning down networking opportunities
Most events provide an opportunity to meet someone and establish a mutually beneficial relationship. Yet how often do we turn down these invitations? Obviously you don’t need to be an event junkie, but have you been isolating yourself?
So many people I meet explain that some of the best career support they’ve received and learning opportunities they’ve enjoyed have come from dialogue with colleagues met at an event.
Most people seem to understand the concept of not ‘burning bridges’ when departing an organisation. However, this risk is much more likely to occur within your current organisation.
Any time you treat a colleague with a lack of respect, you run the risk of damaging a relationship.
Damaged relationships take time to repair and can derail your productivity and wellbeing. In terms of career progression, a burned bridge can easily lead to the loss of potential opportunities.
The golden rule is always relevant: treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself.
It also appears that much burning of bridges these days is done via emails and social media.
Letting your resume gather dust
I’m often surprised how long it takes a person to ‘freshen up’ their resume. They’ll need to go digging back into old records to locate details of professional development activities; or take considerable time to recall what they consider key achievements in a particular role.
A resume should be a living, breathing, evolving document. It should be kept handy and updated in a systematic way.
People are increasingly using online tools such as LinkedIn to keep this information readily available.
These six factors will not surprise anyone. They’re basics. Yet we see careers impacted, over and over again, by these same mistakes. Which of the 6 is your Achilles heel? Tackle that one first.
Read related post ‘Is it time to polish up your resume’ – click here