Saturday, December 2, 2017

10 Ways Fresh Graduates Destroy Their Career

It takes a long way and the hard way to learn from mistakes in your career. Being a fresh
graduate, it is almost impossible to learn your career mistakes the easy way. Some mistakes
can even cost a lifetime of regret. Here are 10 of the bitter truths about career mistakes that
you can potentially make.

#1 Not clear of own career direction

Being a fresh graduate, you probably have the mindset of learning as much as you can,
hence, accepting any position thrown in your way. Along the way, you may have realized that
it wasn’t the right career path and end up job-hopping to find the perfect fit. It is remarkably
common for fresh graduates hopping between jobs due to not having a clear career path
planned beforehand, thus, setting out on a journey trying out jobs to find “the one”.

According to Business Insider, job-hopping is akin to going out on dates until finding the
right one to stay with. However, it might send a negative signal to future employers and
hinder them from hiring you if they are of the perception that you are going to jump ship
shortly after hiring you. It is important that you have to be clear of your career
direction to reduce the tendency of hopping between jobs.

#2 Do not know your own weaknesses

As fresh graduates, you would want to appear confident and capable by emphasizing on your
strengths and what you can execute to the best of your ability to impress your
employer. Nevertheless, you may have been too focused on your strengths, which is good,
but too much so as to failing to realize your weaknesses. No one is perfect. Understanding
your flaws and making an effort to work on those weaknesses will get you ahead of others. Avoiding
and putting off your weaknesses isn’t going to do you well especially when you get a job and
realized that you are lacking in the skill sets required to perform the tasks assigned, which is a
form of weakness that will ruin your career if no fixing is done!

#3 Do not know the difference between hard work and performance

Most of you may have heard the saying, “work hard and things will work out”. Imagine
working long hours and pouring your effort relentlessly on completing a task, and in the end,
it becomes a fruitless effort. Hard work does not necessarily translate to high performance.
Performance is the execution of functions or tasks in an effective and efficient manner with
the right skill sets and sufficient resources. Working hard in the wrong direction would put your efforts in vain, and may as well compromise your career progree. You have to beinlear on the
specific area you should work on to translate your efforts into performance.

#4 Do not have extensive professional networking

Nowadays, having an extensive network is crucial in both looking for job opportunities and
climbing up the career ladder. Communicating and establishing relationships with people is
almost unavoidable for every profession somehow requires you to acquaint with new people.
Having an extensive network allows you to connect with other professionals in your field of
work and better yet, you can take advantage of it by learning from their experiences and
apply that knowledge to achieve your career goals. Another perk to having an extensive
network would be you can even be kept updated from time to time of the good job
opportunities or employment openings for a better offer, which gives you an opportunity to
advance in your career.

#5 Do not have a reliable mentor

A good mentor can give you valuable advice and guidance for you to kick start and advance
your career. As fresh graduates, you may know little to none of the know-hows and how
things work in the corporate world due to lack of experience and end up making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, but having a good mentor can help you to resolve and learn from it fast! Mentors are usually really experienced and well-versed in doing what they do. Having a reliable mentor is really beneficial for your career such as in terms of connecting you to influential people or even expose you to vast job opportunities! Be sure to distinguish between boss and a mentor. A mentor can be anyone other than your boss.

#6 Not aware of the current employment market

With thousands of university students graduating every year, it goes without saying that the
employment market is becoming increasingly competitive than ever. One must be able to
adapt to the demands of the current employment market in order compete among the other
graduates. By gaining an insight of the current employment market, not only will you seem
credible and knowledgeable to your future employers, you can take advantage of that knowledge by equipping yourself with the in-demand skills. This will make you an appealing candidate for the job or for promotion as well! Of course, you must be able to fully utilize your skills and add value to the job itself.

#7 Do not understand the company’s business

Understanding the company's business is the essential surviving skill in the company itself. How much your company is making annually? Who are your company's clients? What are the short plan and long plan of the company? Is the outlook of your company's industry a positive one or a negative one?

The questions above will give you a better understanding of what is happening and also put you in the management shoes.

#8 Not aligned with the company’s vision and mission

Let's say your dad is a lung specialist and your mom is a member of an NGO which helps smokers to quit their habit. Both of your parents work hard to advocate healthy living and help others to have a quality life. And then came a job offer which you are to report to work at a tobacco company. Will you accept the job offer?

Your life principle has to align to the company's vision and mission. Some companies sell unhealthy products (sugar, weapon, drugs, alcohol, and the list goes on) and we have to accept the fact that they've been in operation in a long time. It is, therefore, up to you own conscience whether to work for the purpose of the company's existence. If your principle in life contradicts the company's establishment, you will find yourself struggling to get through each day and you won't be able to enjoy your work as much.

#9 Do not follow company’s policy

Not following the company’s policy is a big red flag! Rules are meant to be followed,
especially if it’s stated in your contract. Going against company policies will put a bad taste
on your career opportunities as well as being at risk of breaching the employment contract.
From your reputation to your career, it will all be ruined. Nothing good will befall on you if
you are rebellious against the company’s policies, what not ruining your chances of
promotion and fall from the career ladder. When in doubt, always ask whether it is right for you to do something.

#10 No experience in managing politics

More often than not, fresh graduates may lack of experience in managing politics. Workplace
politics exist in every organization so it’s no surprise when it comes down to drama, choosing
sides, and what not. Those with good political skills are able to influence others to achieve
goals for the benefit of oneself or organization and appear competent among peers for being
able to act accordingly and adjust to diverse situations. Of course, interpersonal skills go hand
in hand with managing politics as it deals with people. Lacking in experience in managing
politics may jeopardize your career as you may have problems in interpersonal relationships
and working in a team, henceforth, unable to rally any support from colleagues and appear
incompetent which will, in turn, ruin your career.

Three rules to keep you safe from office politics - always do the right thing, pick your team and always choose to be introvert when confronted with office politics.

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