Here is a list of five big career mistakes that you can make with your career!
First big mistake: regular maintenance is key. Give your career a regular tune-up.
A career is not something that you take care of, only when you’re in trouble, and when your back is against a wall… Careers should be taken care of on an ongoing basis. A birthday is a sacred day: gift yourself with a scrub of your resume and all your marketing tools (resume, Bio, email signature, voice mail message, references, recommendations, business card, summary profile…) If you do this, you’ll be good to go for the next 12 months! You ARE an organic person; let your career evolve along with you! Take advantage of your birthday for reinvention!
Second big mistake: plan your approach(es) thoroughly
Most job seekers don’t take the time to script and rehearse their approaches to hiring managers. Just prepare a simple script before a phone call (10 mins), drafting an email (2-3 short paragraphs) or reaching out over LinkedIn (short messages only; keep your outreach social in nature — read: warm, fuzzy). Script preparation includes: a short introduction (your full name) with context (why or how you came to be reaching out); 2-3 point form list of what you can bring to the table professionally (skills, knowledge, media reach); a clear ask (what is it that you hope to achieve by this outreach); and next steps (which, if you’re smart, you’ll take charge of…). The result: you’re in charge, not them!
Third big mistake: Have I mentioned “research companies?” OY!
A great way to end up in a lousy job is to NOT do research on the company before you apply and/or accept a job offer. There are countless platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook … where you can get the inside scoop on a company, either through news releases, or, from comments former staff make. Make it your job to find out their financial health, their corporate social responsibility, and their on-boarding, team building efforts, salary increases/bonuses, before you join! We have a great tool for that in our Career Toolkit!
Fourth big mistake: Outshine the competition by making your “Business Case”
Job seekers don’t thoroughly think through their reasons for applying to jobs. It’s important to do the math up front, on any given company. More importantly, doing the math up front is really smart and makes you way more competitive. Answer these four questions for any job you are applying to … Why would they hire you in particular? Why would they hire you now? What role do you want to play for them, specifically? And why do you want to work with this company in particular? If you make a point of articulating the answers to those four questions in a screening call, in an elevator pitch, in an interview, and/or a mini-version in your thank you note, you are sure to get a hiring manager’s attention. Cause 80% of people just aren’t doing their homework!
Last big mistake: Invest in yourself: both time and money!
Most job seekers are not taught, or encouraged, to regularly and consistently invest in themselves and their own development. Therefore, we recommend you invest money as well as time in your precious career! Professional development is becoming increasingly important. With the state of most company’s financials these days, there’s no way they’re going to pay to train you! In other words, professional development becomes a “do-it-yourself” proposition. Stack those small “c” credentials onto your resume whenever you can. Take side courses, webinars, seminars, and read your business trades … do everything you can to increase your skills and knowledge. Employers will recognize individuals who are better “rounded”, than others who simply have not made the time or taken the opportunity to broaden their skills and knowledge.
Paying attention to the five big career mistakes, will therefore ensure you greater career control, and success!