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Career Mistakes

10 Career Mistakes to Avoid

1. Resigning from your current role without knowing what you want to do. Take time to do some career planning before resigning from your current role. Talk with a mentor or see a Career Coach. Remember most people spend more time planning their holidays then planning their career.

2. Start applying for roles in a totally different career without investigating the role or industry. Take some time to learn about the industry and the role, what strengths do you have that can be applied in the new career and what are the skills that you are going to have to learn to become successful. If possible, talk within people who already work in this field.

3. Jump from job to job over a short period of time. You might be able to get away with this once or twice, but employers become wary of “job hoppers”. The greatest predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, so if employers see a candidate with a “job hopping” history, they become very wary.

4. Holiday jobs. People often go on a holiday to somewhere like the Gold Coast and then decide that it would be a nice place to live. It might be fun and relaxed for a holiday but if you have to work and live there, it is no different to any other place where you live. Often there are not the career opportunities that there are in a major city. Investigate career opportunities before making any decisions.

5. Change jobs just for money. We all need money to live and having a good salary can allow us to lead a better lifestyle but if you are not enjoying your current job, more money is not going to make you any happier. So, if another company comes along and offers you more money to do a similar role, other than a new company, what else is going to change? You are better to look at a change of career rather than a change of job.

6. Accepting a counter offer. 95% of all people who accept a counter offer to stay with their current employer are back on the job market within 6 months. Normally money is only one factor of why someone is looking to change jobs, so if your current employer offers you more money to stay, the other factors will stay the same. Over a long period of time, I have regularly seen people who have accepted a counter offer start looking for a new role within 6 months.

7. Chase the “latest” career. A lot of careers look glamorous from the outside, but like all careers, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Buyer of International Fashion or a Personal Trainer to a film star, all roles require hard work and there are always “boring bits”. When Internet retailing first appeared in the late 1990’s, people were predicting the end of “bricks and mortar” retailing, yet the most successful retailers are those with an Omni-channel presence. So, take care before you jump into the “latest” new career fad.

8. Relationship Break-up. If you have had a major relationship break-up, don’t decide that you will totally change your life by changing your job too. It might sound like a great idea at the time but when you start to get over the “break-up”, you might regret making a hasty decision. Take some time to decide if this is what you really want to do, even run it past a trusted advisor such as a Careers Coach rather than your best friend.

9. Doing a Geographical. Sometimes when things are not going well in our lives, the thought of a move to another city like London, Paris or New York sounds great. We tell ourselves that our current employer doesn’t appreciate us, if we go overseas, we will get that great job and living in an international city will be glamorous too. Get some advice first. If you have a good relationship with your boss, ask him/her where he/she sees your career path taking you within your current company and what steps you need to take to develop your career. Again, if you don’t have a mentor within the company it is worth paying for some external advice, it is your career, don’t throw it away. Getting professional advice from a Career Coach is cheaper than buying a pair of Jimmy Choos and will probably last a lot longer.

10. You can make a mistake. People often think that if they make a mistake with their career, they are doomed. Not true, we all make mistakes, I once joined a company against my instinct, and it didn’t work out. I knew in the first week that I had made a mistake. What did I do, I immediately decided to rectify the mistake by starting the job search and within 6 months I acquired in new role with a great company where I stayed for over 5 years. If you have made a mistake don’t be afraid to admit it when you are searching for your next job, everyone is human and lots of us have made a mistake.


About the Author: Geoff Whytcross has 35 years experience in the human resources industry in Australia and the US. He has interviewed approximately 25,000 people in his career and one of the key things that he has learned is that if people don’t fit the company culture, they will rarely be successful at that company.

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