The 5 most common career mistakes 

Sometimes what you're being asked is unreasonable or simply not appropriate.

Sometimes what you're being asked is unreasonable or simply not appropriate. (Photo: CEOWorld)

We ask bosses and career experts how you can avoid a total work meltdown. These are the 5 most common career mistakes.

Mistake #1: being a ‘yes’ woman We’re constantly encouraged to put our hand up for more opportunities at work, but there’s a fine line between doing this and taking on too much. Sally-Anne Blanshard, director of career coaching business Nourish, says if the pile of work on your desk resembles Mt Everest, you need to add ‘no’ to your vocabulary, stat. “Learning to say ‘no’ without biting your lip is one of the first career skills to adopt. Sometimes what you’re being asked is unreasonable or simply not appropriate. Give it a go – the results may surprise you,” she says.

Another career mistake is not applying because of experience

Mistake #2: waiting for opportunities Your dream job is open but they’re asking for people with three years’ experience and you’re just on two. Do you apply? Absolutely, says Karen Adamedes, CEO of Career Chick Chat and author of Hot Tips For Career Chicks: Unlocking The CODE To Success. “Women often make the mistake of not applying for roles they’re capable of doing – instead they work hard and wait to be recognised and rewarded. If you don’t apply, you can’t get it,” she points out. Assess your skills and ask yourself if you’re capable of doing the job. If the answer is yes, what are you waiting for?

Mistake #3: not having a career plan “Where do you see yourself in five years?” There’s a reason this question is often asked in job interviews – having a plan of action is a great way to show you’re ambitious and that you want to succeed. “If you have an erratic approach to career progression you’ll get erratic results,” explains Blanshard.

MISTAKE #4: not negotiating $$$ is a huge career mistake. While we’re not encouraging you to burst into your boss’ office to demand a pay rise (although it would make for excellent office gossip), assertively asking them to evaluate your salary package isn’t going to get you fired. “Negotiating for yourself often gives your manager good insight into the confidence you have in yourself. The money discussion is a key opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and experience,” says Adamedes. But make sure you’re up to date with all your tasks and really feel you deserve, not just want, more moolah.

Prove your commitment to your job

MISTAKE #5: confusing staying later with working harder Kellie Rigg, boss and organizational psychologist at Randstad HR consulting, says that as a boss, she doesn’t automatically think those who stay late are harder workers than those who leave on time. “I find it important not to focus on how many hours an employee is in the office but to ensure that they’re using their time at work effectively. If someone’s constantly staying late it may be a sign they have difficulty in time management.” Rigg explains. Rather than staying late, focus on working hard during business hours to prove your commitment to your job.

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