5 Career Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

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You're losing out on time, money, and exciting opportunities.

Every leader knows that mistakes come with the territory. Having seen (and made) a few (hundred) in my day, I’ve learned that it really doesn’t matter who made the mistake. What really counts is how that person tries to fix them. And even more telling, is that they learn how not to make the same mistake again. 

Fixing the problem that you created can be a humbling experience. However, it also builds character and expertise. Some of the best corporate cultures I’ve seen are the ones that empower their staff to not only make mistakes but give them autonomy to fix them.

While we’ve all been guilty of a few mishaps at the workplace to some varying degree, there’s a much bigger threat to our careers. These are the ones that we don’t know we’re making — and they’re stunting our growth. 

Here are five common mistakes you didn’t know you were making that are holding you back from that next level in your career. 

1. You’ve stopped networking.

Fresh out of college and new to their careers, many young professionals are eager to join as many networking events as possible. From conferences to coffee meetings, they’re always looking for new connections. However, by the time they’re a year or two into their careers, they lose the momentum. 

One of the most important things I learned on my career journey is that successful people are constantly networking. It offers value no matter what your title or salary may be. As a leader or entrepreneur, it’s one of the most vital tools for obtaining new talent and potential partnerships. It also fosters business development and builds relationships with key industry players.

2. You’ve fallen behind.

Technology advances at an incredible pace. Industries are constantly reinventing themselves and using new ways of doing things in order to stay relevant.

I can’t emphasize how important it is to keep on top of what’s happening in your industry. This goes not just for leaders, but also for their teams. You must continuously seek new learning opportunities and acquire the necessary skills. Otherwise, you’ll get left behind.

3. You haven’t posted since 2015. 

No one is asking you to snap selfies all day, but keeping your social media presence in check is always a good idea. It may have been months since you’ve logged in to LinkedIn, but you still want to keep your profiles up to date and reflective of your current role.

And while we’re at it, please do a social media audit and delete those pictures from your bachelor party. Even if you have a private account, you never know who’s connected to whom. 

Social media can be a great tool for recruiting as well as aligning with people in your industry. It offers the unique opportunity to engage with a community of like-minded individuals in your respective field.

4. You missed a deadline…again. 

Consistently not meeting deadlines is like consistently breaking promises. Though there may be ample reasons why a report wasn’t turned into a client on time, you can’t make it a habit.

Sure, things come up. And when they do, communicate with them ahead of time. Let them know when they can expect to see the report so there’s no confusion or frustration.

5. You’re too scared to ask for a raise. 

Negotiating salary or a promotion is a daunting conversation, one that scares off many people from having it in the first place. Don’t forget that leaders are expected to have these kinds of conversations. The only one that will feel awkward about it is you.

If you can prove how and why you deserve a raise or a corner office, then go ahead and ask for a meeting to explain your case. Propose to reevaluate every six months to monitor your process. If you’re hitting your targets, then negotiate the terms of your contract.

When it comes to work, nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter. If you want something, you have to ask for it. 



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