Are You Making These Top 3 Career Mistakes?

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We all make career mistakes. From fumbling on your resume to failing to impress an interviewer, mistakes are an inevitable part of your career path. These mistakes also help us get better, become stronger, and understand what not to do for the next go-round.

Some career mistakes are harder to spot. While you may understand the need for an iron-clad Facebook page or finding those hidden contacts, there are some warning signs you may be overlooking. Check them out below:

Mistake #1: Only wanting to work domestically

According to a recent study, only 18 percent of Millennials intend to work overseas in the next five years. Due to the connectivity of the Internet, many people feel like they can learn about a new country or become proficient in a language from the comfort of their own home.

While this is clearly possible, zero desire to work overseas not only hinders your growth potential, it can also limit you from working with diverse workforces and understanding alternative perspectives. These experiences can contribute to your growth, not only as a professional, but also in your personal life.

Tip: Look for work in organizations that have global offices, clients, or international placement programs. While working in a different country may not be on your list for now, having the option is always a plus.

Mistake #2: Taking a low-paying job

A recent analysis in The Boston Globe found that, in 2012, 44 percent of Americans aged 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree were in jobs not requiring that level of education. In fact, college graduates ended up in more low-wage and part-time positions because it has become harder to find education-level appropriate jobs.

In some cases, taking a low-paying job is necessary. Other instances should be flagged as warning signs, such as an employer low-balling a salary or failing to get paid as an intern. When your skillsets and education level equate to much more than you’re being offered, it’s time to ask for a change.

Tip: Look at websites like or talk with your mentor to gauge how much you should be making. If it’s below what you’re being offered, talk to the potential employer or your current boss to see if they can provide you with something more fitting.

Mistake #3: Not dealing with career stress

Stress can be a huge burden on your work performance, whether you’re looking for a job or already employed. Women in particular are faced with more career stress, according to researchers Haya Stier of Tel Aviv University and Meir Yaish of the University of Haifa in Israel. Not only do they feel more stressed than men, they also don’t see as many opportunities for advancement, experience lack of flexibility, and face questionable job security.

No matter where you are in your professional life, career stress can lead to mistakes and severely influence your work performance. Understanding where your stress comes from, whether it’s a bad boss or influx in job duties, can be the key to eliminating it before it gets out of hand.

Tip: No one will ever know you have career stress if you don’t talk about it. Old professors, colleagues, mentors, and even in-house professionals can help if they understand how it may be affecting your career.

While career mistakes do happen, you can do something about it if you look into these warning signs sooner rather than later. Doing so will make you into a better professional and lead you to the success you really deserve.

What do you think? What are some other career warning signs?

Photo courtesy of Freddie Peña; Flickr

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.