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While addressing a major career mistake, Bill Gates explained that “small differences can magnify themselves”. This does not only hold true for prominent entrepreneurs but also for any professional trying to make the most of their careers. Small career mistakes can have major repercussions in the future but have no fear because a bit of planning is all it takes to avoid them. Here are some common career pitfalls and how you can address them:
1. Insufficient networking
One of the biggest mistakes that can hinder career growth is not investing time and effort in professional networking regardless of your field. Building, nurturing, and capitalizing on relevant professional relationships can allow you to get a competitive advantage by boosting your personal brand, facilitating learning, and enabling mutual support. The best, easiest, and fastest way to network these days may be through LinkedIn, as it can allow professionals to connect with recruiters, hiring managers, and other key professionals relevant to their careers. Another great way to develop valuable relationships is traditional networking during events held by your employer, educational institutions you have attended, and other professional organizations you are affiliated with.
2. Lack of lifelong learning
Career growth is usually strongly correlated with personal growth. While on-the-job learning is a key part of professional growth, a continuous development plan can make your efforts more focused by enabling you to understand existing skills gaps and how to bridge them. Additionally, upskilling and reskilling through online courses and other certifications can make you stand out and drive continuous improvement.
3. Lack of career investment
While professionals can manage their careers on their own, savvy, ambitious, and determined talent use career services to maximize their success when required. From identifying your strengths and aptitude to landing your dream job, to getting promoted, a career consultant can be an invaluable partner to have in your corner. Investing in support that can help you get on the right track and expedite your success can save you time and money, providing an excellent RoI.
4. Poor work-life balance
Not maintaining the required work-life balance can result in major issues in your professional and personal life. It is proven that a lack of balance between work and home can take a serious toll on one’s mental and physical health. You can eliminate these issues by drawing strong work-life boundaries, especially these days when a high percentage of professionals work from home. Some key tips and tricks to use include taking regular breaks, exercising daily, and practicing creative hobbies, which you can use to relieve work-related stress.
5. Career progression
People used to think that a successful career graph must be linear, but this is not the case anymore. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, uses the metaphor ‘Jungle Gym’ to describe career advancement. Progression may not always mean moving higher up in the hierarchy, sometimes it may also involve ‘moving around’ based on your needs. One of the biggest career mistakes to avoid is to judge an opportunity by its title and seniority level. Keep an open mind and select your next steps based on your personal criteria in line with your desired lifestyle.