Don’t Make These Career Mistakes

career mistakes

Table of Contents

What is a Career?

Many people think, career just means you stay in the same type of work, can be one job or many jobs.  From the job points of view, it also can mean the total of the various jobs you may hold during your lifetime. This point of views is not wrong, but let’s see on another perspective

We can see career in a much broader way. When talking about career, we should see career including the decisions we made about a job or a college major as valuable components of a career process. Career can be viewed as the accumulation of decisions that make our educational, social, economic, political or even reflect our unique personality characteristics and basic life values. 

As a Human Resources Manager you plan, direct, and coordinate the employees in your organization. You will oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff. Other than that, you will also try to make your employee career path is successful.

Career Success

So, what makes a successful career?

Quoted from Forbes,
“there is a huge difference between accomplishment and success. Many people cannot tell the difference. They earn competitive credentials, secure high-profile jobs, build sought-after careers and earn top-tier salaries and incomes. These are several examples of the standards by which many in society define career success. But these items—degrees, job titles, desirable careers and great pay—represent accomplishments. And the problem here is that accomplishments alone don’t necessarily equate to career success.”

Forbes also made an interesting point about career success.
“It’s a combination of achieving a reasonable level of financial stability while doing work you enjoy and then finding that you are also happy and fulfilled with your life and career choices as well. If you love your job but find that it doesn’t lead to financial self-sufficiency, career success is diminished, and if you get paid very well but lack joy or interest in your chosen career field, career success is diminished. True career success requires that there is alignment between the two.”

Nothing wrong with all of that, and in the end, what determine a successful career really depends on the individual. For some people, successful career is measured by financial and material accumulation. While others base career success on recognition and popularity. There are also people that belief that real career success comes only through helping others or making a contribution to society. 

Career Advice?

Few common career advice we used to hear since we were kid.

  • Work in a good company where you can stay at a long time.
  • Don’t quit a job before you have a new job
  • Don’t burn a bridge from your previous company

But the thing is, job and the careers advice nowadays have changed so much adapting to the human resource management improvement these past years.

Nowadays, our goal as a working person is not to stay in one company for decades, stuck in the same position and places working the same things over and over. Our goal nowadays is to keep learning and growing on our work. We can grow our “work muscles” by having a challenge like changing jobs after few years rather than by finding a “safe place” company to work until the end of time.

Career Mistakes

If we want to grow our “work muscles”, we’re going to have to try things. Sometimes it will work and sometimes it will give lessons instead of the result we thought we will get.  Successful person has tried things that didn’t pan out exactly the way they wanted them to. Their companies have failed. They do jobs that don’t work out. And it’s fine

As Albert Einstein once said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” The truth is this: If you aren’t making career mistakes, you are not trying. And if you are not trying, you are not succeeding. How else would you learn anything important, unless you try new things all the time? These are some of the career mistakes that you can make or you might have made before.

Salary and benefits

In a survey of nearly 2.000 workers, one-fifth of respondents never negotiate their salaries. Most of the reason is they are afraid of rejection or don’t want to appear too aggressive for the companies. This is a common mistake someone can make in their career especially if they have a good set of skills and experiences.

Another common mistake is underestimating or even don’t know their professional value. Knowing exactly what skills and talents you have, will give you a competitive edge. Keep a track of your accomplishments. Take a note of what areas are you always have high marks. You may take a course to cultivate this.

Salary negotiation can be scary. But what’s even scarier is not doing it.
Stanford negotiation professor Margaret A. Neale puts a good example. If you get a $100,000 salary and your co-worker negotiates up to $107,000, assuming you’re treated identically from then on, with the same raises and promotions, you’d have to work eight years longer to be as wealthy as them at retirement.

When You Should Negotiate Salary?

So, should you always negotiate on salary? Or is it never?

What kind of situation you should you maybe raise your hand and ask for more?
Here are few points you should take before negotiating a salary:

Negotiate When:

  • They gave you the written offer
  • You can tell what value you’re bringing to them
  • You will decline if the salary is not higher

Consider not to Negotiate When:

  • You already accepted lower number before
  • They inform you that is their best number

Aside from that, you really need to evaluate the pros and cons as you consider negotiation. Don’t forget to think about how much you really want or need the job.


When people get into their job, they tend to stop networking. It’s a mistake on your career decision. Expert says that if someone doesn’t network on regular basis, they can miss out on a bigger job opportunity. Not only that but networking also good for professional growth as it can help you gain insight from different people.

Many professionals take advantage of the numerous opportunities to network outside of their workplace, however underestimate the importance of networking at work. Networking within your company is key to developing new skills and identifying opportunities for advancement.

What is Networking?

Networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself, it’s about building relationships and connecting with others: people you know, people you don’t really know, and new people you’ve never met before. And while it may sound intimidating, it can be rewarding and fun.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re already networking every day and everywhere you go. You’re networking when you strike up a conversation with the person next to you in line, introduce yourself to other parents at your child’s school, meet a friend of a friend, catch up with a former co-worker, or stop to chat with your neighbor. Everyone you meet can help you move your job search forward.

Getting too comfortable

It’s easy to get a job within a company and then find yourself “coasting” for several years. You get comfortable, know your job responsibilities inside and out, make a decent salary, and before you know it, years have gone by.

At the beginning of a new job, that’s what you aspire to. You can’t wait to push past the awkwardness of getting to know new colleagues, the stress of not knowing what you’re doing, and the pressure to prove yourself. You just want to be able to relax. But there’s a point at which being comfortable in your job can be a bad thing and work against you in your career growth. Honestly, you should always strive to feel a little uncomfortable in your job—because that means you’re learning, growing, pushing yourself, and working toward something bigger.

These days, it’s essential to take control of your destiny. The current employment environment requires you to be diligent about ongoing education and skill-building. It also means investing in yourself so that you can position yourself as an asset. Take inventory of your skills, experiences, and talents and use that information to inform your personal brand. 

Being good at a lot of things, but not great at anything

‘Jack Of All Trades, Master Of One’ has more of a positive connotation to the conventional old phrase. In terms of recruiting and hiring, this phrase is most probably used to probe into who is better suited for an industry, a candidate who is a jack of all trades, or a master of one. Of course, the priority for who to hire depends on the type of industry, but there are a lot more aspects to focus on when a person is hired in any company. So, the most crucial question remains, which is a better hire, jack of all trades or master of one?

A lot of job opportunities these days require the candidate to know a lot of things. So, candidates learn a lot of things without focusing on one thing where they have strength the most. Expert says that if you highlight your highly specialized set of accomplishments, it will allow you to stand out from the competition.

Those are the most common career mistakes that we can make. If you already do one of those mistakes, learn from it for your professional growth.

Good luck!

Don’t miss out on the latest HR trends. 

Get insights delivered straight to your inbox.