The $5,000 Sprint:
The most common career mista
ke most people make is taking another job for a little bit more money - and no other reason. True rewards (financial and otherwise) come from being passionate about your job and your career.
Taking a new position that pays a few thousand dollars more makes you feel fresh and energized. However, that excitement will not last forever. A career is a marathon, not a sprint. Employees who take jobs for small salary increases tend to burn out. Sometimes, the burn out happens so quickly that they will welcome a job opportunity that will pay less, simply because they are tired of ignoring their interests.
The formula to happiness in your career is simple: Find a job that you like. You'll work harder, and in the long-run, you are likely to earn a higher salary.
Blind Salary Requests:
When negotiating a salary, candidates often don't know where to center their target salary range. Job seekers tend to put a higher worth on themselves than employers will. Asking for too much or too little can ruin your chances at securing the job. Therefore, job candidates should be very careful when stating their desired salary.
Understanding how much you're worth comes down to knowing the job market and understanding the basic economics behind supply and demand. Take the time to do research online, or talk to other people with similar jobs in your region.
Knowing the salary range your colleagues are within will help you know what to ask for, and will show your potential employer that you are someone to take seriously.
The Resume That Isn't Tailored to Online Job Boards:
Most people read computer screens in a way that's different from the way the read a book. Furthermore, few employers look at hard copies of resumes, but instead read them off of a computer. Keeping some Web-display tactics in mind when formatting your resume will make it more appealing to a potential employer, and give you a leg up on your competition.
Avoiding lines in your resume is one of the simplest tricks you can employ. Lines serve as a subliminal stop sign for people who are reading something on a screen. Also, keep in mind that only 30 percent of readers scroll down to the second page of a document, and even fewer get to the third page.
Use succinct and compelling writing to grab the reader's attention. Putting the most important information on the top half of the resume, and keeping a clean format throughout the document increases the chance that your resume will stand out from the others.
Failure to Grow and Learn:
Getting ahead in your field equates to constantly reading relevant books and articles, and ceaselessly teaching yourself information that will further your career. The ability to successfully use persuasion and negotiation techniques is also key to leveraging yourself as a smart, competent employee that has the drive to succeed.
Read everything that is directly and indirectly related to your field. Synthesize information and use your newfound knowledge to think outside of the box. Most employers believe it is imperative that their employees be self-motivated. Showing that you are uncomfortable with complacency is the best way to move ahead.
Most importantly, learn everything you can about interviewing, and master the related skills. Impressing the person who interviews you is half the battle, as this person will either become your most important advocate or your biggest dissenter. Showing the interviewer that you have the desire and ability to grow and learn will always work to your benefit.
The "It's All About Who You Know" Myth:
There is a myth that the sons and daughters of wealthy individuals always get to work at their parents' firms and quickly transition into an easy and comfortable lifestyle. While this may be true in some cases, successful employers know that the majority of their employees need to be passionate about their jobs for a company to attain success.
Some candidates give up trying for their dream job because they feel they don't know the right people, and become convinced they will not break into their career of choice on their own. However, it's not about who you know, but rather about marketing yourself as the best candidate for every job that you apply for.
No employer will give you a job unless they are convinced you can actively do something for their company, and contrary to popular belief, people are not handed cushy jobs. Regardless of your industry, you must have the mentality that you are the only one who is going to make something of yourself, no matter where you come from. It's all about you.