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Ten career mistakes to avoid


Updated: 04 Apr 2016

Just one career mistake is all it can take to have a damaging impact on your professional ambitions. To avoid tripping up, recruiting experts Hays has put together a list of the ten most common career mistakes.

According to Susie Timlin, Global Director of People & Culture at Hays Talent Solutions, avoiding these mistakes, while keeping your focus and passion for your work, will help you to go much further in your career, whilst ensuring you get enjoyment out of your day-to-day working life.

Hays’ ten most common career mistakes to avoid are:

1. You are coasting
When you have been doing the same role for some time you begin feeling comfortable and can often stop pushing yourself. However, a little bit of effort can go a long way. Susie says, “By putting a little more effort in every day and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you may well be able to get more out of your job.”

2. You aren’t seeing the bigger picture
Understanding what the business wants to achieve is essential to identifying your place within the business, how you fit in and how your achievements contribute to its overall success. “Developing a broader understanding and appreciation of your organisation’s ultimate goals will not only provide you with a deeper sense of purpose and passion for what you do, and ultimately make you more successful.”

3. You are burning bridges
The business world can be a small place and reputation can mean everything. “Relationships, networking and word of mouth recommendations are incredibly important in business and career progression. Burn your bridges and you may find that your reputation precedes you next time you’re looking for a new job,” she says.

4. You are putting your career before your life
In order to be truly successful in your career you must also enjoy it. Getting that work-life balance right will help you toward this and will also put things in perspective. “Though work is important, without a bit of balance in your life you won’t feel truly happy, and if you don’t feel happy or healthy, you’re unlikely to fulfil your career potential,” Susie explains.

5. You are blurring the line between personal and professional
Over time you will naturally build relationships at your place of work. However, keeping these relationships strictly professional while in the workplace is a must. “By keeping clear boundaries you can ensure that you perform your best when you’re at work, are viewed in a professional light, and don’t take any baggage with you into the office.”

6. You always think the grass is greener
Before you move roles you must ask yourself why you are doing it. After all, simply believing that somewhere else is better than your current place of work could leave you disappointed. The grass isn’t always greener and feeling out of sorts with your current role will only increase the problem. “You need to ensure you are moving for the right reasons before you begin to search for an alternative role,” says Susie. “I urge you to consider these factors before making a move.”

7. You are allowing your skills to become out of date
Keeping up with technology is essential to keeping your skill base relevant. In order to continue your personal development being willing to adapt and embrace is a must. “Failing to keep on top of new innovations could see your career begin to lag, with younger, more dynamic employees snapping at your heels.”

8. You didn’t trust your gut
After working in an industry for some time you begin to develop a deep understanding of that business, so let your experience drive your instincts. “To ensure you don’t have any regrets in the future, try to trust your intuition when it comes to important business decisions,” she says.

9. You aren’t focusing on projects which will drive the most value
It is important to make sure you are concentrating on the right projects, instead of the smaller tasks which may not be adding value to the business. Making an impact at work will only increase your motivation to succeed within your role. “Try to focus on the projects that will drive your company forward, bring in revenue and help your business to grow,” advises Susie.

10. You don’t believe in yourself
Self-doubt can be dangerous - if you don’t believe in yourself your colleagues won’t either. It is important to project confidence and sound assured in the decisions you make. “Try to build your confidence by thinking back to all those things you have achieved in your career,” says Susie. “You are better than you give yourself credit for.”

To make the most of your professional career, both in terms of ambition and enjoyment, ask yourself if you are avoiding these mistakes. If not, start today and change the way you perform at work.

To view the original article, please visit Hays’ careers advice blog, Viewpoint.

Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06,66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884 or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Esabella Yeung, Marketing Executive SEA, Asia at Hays, on +65 6424 0158 or

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