3 career mistakes to avoid

by By Michelle Chin (mchin@sph.com.sg)
published on 21 June 2016

Are you guilty of committing these career-related missteps? If so, take action to rectify them.

1. Job hopping without addressing the crux of the problem  

If you tend to change jobs frequently, identify the underlying reasons.

Can you communicate well with your co-workers? Can you manage stress and tight deadlines effectively?

Ms Zofia Sharman, the associate director of a recruitment company, said that it is vital to recognise and address the root of the issue of reasons for leaving jobs.

Sweeping problems under the carpet and changing your job constantly more often than not highlights a lack of commitment, which could also be reflected in other areas of life outside of work. A thorough understanding of yourself plays a key part in every career move.

For instance, if you find yourself quitting because you are unable to handle the job demands despite working long hours, it could be time to re-evaluate your working style.

Do you spend too much time harbouring negative thoughts and agonising over things beyond your control?

You might instead channel your energy into areas you can control, like increasing your productivity level or improving the quality of your work. Spending effort on what you can control propels you forward and invigorates you.

Do you lack organisational skills and are unable to plan your time well? 

Mr Adrian Tan, a career coach with more than 10 years of experience, recommended dropping unnecessary tasks to give additional attention to more important ones.

Put aside 10 minutes to 15 minutes at the start of each workday to plan your day and week ahead. List down all the tasks you have to complete, and tackle those that are more urgent or important first. Be flexible and adapt to cope with competing deadlines and rapidly changing priorities.

2. Inflating your resume during interviews

Ms Sharman advised against the common pitfall of over-promising what you can do or  over selling the skills you have during interviews.

She said : "Understanding what you are really able to do at your level, and accepting the value in all that you bring including your personal qualities is very important.

"It is also a useful way to keep yourself level-headed and ‘real’ for your potential future employer."

Re-evaluate if your skill sets, strengths, passion and values are in line with the job you applied for.

People feel more fulfilled when their careers offer them meaningful opportunities to utilise their skills and prospects to shine in their chosen areas of expertise. 

3. Not pacing yourself and suffering from frequent burnouts

Do you often feel physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted due to the demands of your job?

This fatigue may also cause you to lose interest in other areas of your life, such as social and family interaction.

Set aside time for relaxation. Give yourself  a break from work.

Set appropriate boundaries and refrain from checking e-mails or answering calls during your downtime. For example, Sunday can be a time to rest and recharge.

Have an active life outside of work. Attending interest or hobby groups can help to make life more fulfilling and leave you feeling recharged.

Keeping to a regular exercise routine helps to release the physical tension and stiffness resulting from sitting at your desk for long hours.