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5 Common Mistakes That Will Derail Your Career

5 Common Mistakes That Will Derail Your Career

By Hannah Hamilton
Monster Contributing Writer
 
Ever feel like you’re doing everything right, but just can’t seem to get ahead at work? You could be making one of these five common mistakes. Learn to recognize these bad habits and keep your ambitions on track.

Ignoring Relationships
 
You might think keeping your head down and getting your job done is enough, but that’s only part of the job. You also need to pay attention to your relationships with your co-workers.
 
“While it seems rational that people should only be judged on their performance, the reality is that interpersonal relationships matter just as much as performance in most cases,” says Mark Goldman, a CPA at MGR Accounting Recruiters.
 
Not Dressing to Impress

Whether you like it or not, your appearance matters, so you need to pay attention to your clothes, hair and accessories, and ensure they’re appropriate.
 
“At work, you don’t just represent yourself. At work, you’re a walking/talking advertisement for your company’s brand,” says Carlota Zimmerman, head of Creativity Yenta. “Therefore, if you look like you dressed in the dark, and/or during a fire, if you look like an extra in a particularly melodramatic music video, you are sending a message that you don’t take yourself, your professional goals or your company seriously.”

Blurring the Line Between Personal and Professional
 
Management is well aware employee choices are often tied to personal circumstances, but that doesn’t mean you should point out that connection -- especially when you’re negotiating.
 
“Managers usually already know that whatever you're negotiating will have a positive effect on you personally, but what they need to hear is how it will affect the company. If you're only focused on how you can help yourself, your career will suffer,” says Brie Reynolds, director of online content at FlexJobs. “Of course, so much of what happens in our personal lives affects our jobs, and vice versa, but when you're negotiating salary, or flextime, or the ability to work from home, it's important to keep your negotiation points professionally-based.”

Prioritizing Money Over Opportunity
 
When you focus on money and forget to think about having a fulfilling experience and your general happiness, you’ll end up hating your job, says Foremost Consulting Director Michael Mayher.
 
“When money becomes more important the the actual opportunity, it often results in a career setback,” he explains. That’s both because it can cause you to miss out on great opportunities and because it won’t impress the people who have the power to help you advance. “Show me the money’ is a cheesy line from a movie that won’t serve you well with a hiring official during the interview process.”
 
Operating with a Noticeable Lack of Initiative

Initiative is taking steps to make things happen instead of waiting for an invitation or opportunity to fall in your lap. It’s also “a cornerstone of career progression and advancement,” says HR4Change founder Tony Deblauwe.
 
“If you are being consistently proactive in your career, someone is bound to notice,” he explains. “They will definitely notice if you aren’t. If your boss or others are constantly giving you direction or reminding you of tasks to be completed, you will be marginalized as a low performer quickly.”

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