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5 Common Mistakes that Hurt Your Career Goals

Finding a new job and standing out from the crowd is hard enough. Don’t make things more difficult by sabotaging your career goals with these five common mistakes.

1. Going with the flow – even if it’s in the wrong direction

Going with the flow sounds great, but it might lead you down the wrong path. Making intentional, strategic decisions about your career is critical for long-term success. “Where do you see yourself in the next five years” isn’t just a common interview question; thinking through this question is a necessary step for achieving the kind of career you want. Consider where you want to be in the next three to five years, and work backward from there to identify what you need to do now.

2. Frequent job-hopping for the wrong reasons

Job-hopping can be both a pro and a con for hiring managers, depending on what type of positions you’re looking for and how you can explain the moves. For example, if you’re a contractor, your resume will naturally be full of short-term jobs, demonstrating adaptability and growth. If you’re changing jobs often because you’re bored or looking for more money, though, that’s a red flag for hiring managers who are looking for people to invest in their company long-term. Make sure you’re changing jobs for legitimate reasons that you can explain in an interview.

3. Talking poorly about a former employer

Ultimately, badmouthing your former job reflects poorly on you—so no matter what, don’t speak badly about your former employer in an interview. If something happened there that prompted you to leave, spin it in a way that explains your departure without trashing the employer. For example, phrases like “the expectations weren’t matching up” or “I decided I needed to go in a different direction” let the interviewer know that something was amiss without throwing your former employer under the bus.

4. Failing to be honest with your recruiter

Having a positive relationship with a recruiter at a solid staffing firm can go a long way toward advancing your career. Be accurate in how you represent yourself and your experience so they can match you with the best position based on this information. Being transparent about what you’re looking for sets the stage for a great recruiter/candidate relationship and can open lots of doors.

5. Neglecting your network

Whether you’re happy in your current role or not, it’s important to continue nurturing your professional network for long-term career advancement. Platforms like LinkedIn make it easy to stay in touch with colleagues by alerting you to birthdays, promotions, and work anniversaries. Small touches like these go a long way toward maintaining the connections that will bolster your career in the future – whether that be by making recommendations for you or connecting you to a great new position.

Regardless of where you are in your career, these mistakes have the potential to derail your progress. Stay on-track and remember to reach out to a staffing firm (like ours!) if you need help finding that next great position.


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