We all make mistakes. Career Planning is no different. We make mistakes and then we learn from them. Here, in this article, we have listed a few common career mistakes that must be avoided at all cost.

When planning your career growth you are bound to take some chances.

You would change career track, change jobs and take breaks to learn new skills.

However, there are some mistakes that can cause irreversible damage to your career.

It is these career mistakes that we are going to highlight in this post.

Let’s begin!

8 Common Career Mistakes that you Must Avoid

1. Not Having a Clear Career Goal

Do you have a clear career goal?

We don’t mean a broad career goal like you want to be successful. Or you want to be General Manager or a CEO.

Yes, you are aware of goal setting and you do have a generic goal like becoming successful consultant, an ace marketer, top software architect, an Artificial Intelligence Expert, A recognised scientist and so on.

That’s not a specific career goal.

If you have not yet made a clear goal then this is one of the biggest career mistakes to avoid.

Your career goal must be specific, measurable and achievable. 

You should be able to devise a career plan around your goal.

Goal setting is the first thing that is required for a successful career.

Career would regularly pose challenges and without clarity of goal, you would struggle to adjust and compete at your best capabilities.

To live to your potential in career, you must stop for a while now as you are looking to reboot your career.

And remind yourself of your goals and visualise it more clearly.

If you still have generic goals, make them more specific.

Set up your career goal based on the below parameters.

  • Must be specific – Example can be like becoming a Sales Director in a Top International Hotel Chain.
  • Your career goal must have a timeline- Example can be like ‘I aim to be a Data scientist in 5 years from now’.
  • The aim must be realistic- You should do some benchmarking and research to check if your aim is realistic. Like if it takes 12 years on an average for an Intern to become a Principal Consultant, you must not aim to become one in 3 years. That would be unrealistic.
  • Reassessment is crucial- It is important to stop at pit stops just like formula car racers do. It is not only to refuel your career interests but also to reanalyse your plans.
  • Get some support- You can’t avoid the bias while goal setting. It is always good to have a mentor support you in your career goal setting and tracking.

A lot of people believe the goal-setting process cumbersome.

Thus they never actually set goals and go with the flow. This can be disastrous.

Think about moving forward without a sense of direction. You are bound to get lost. Isn’t it?

Same is true for your career. Avoid this mistake at all cost while planning your career goals.

Try to start small.

There are a lot of resources on the world wide web to make this process simple for you.

Like the Career goal setting worksheets. 

A simple search on Google and you will be spoilt for options.

You would get something like the screenshot image below when you search images.

Similarly, you can also perform searches with keywords like ‘Goal setting route map’; ‘Career goal setting templates’ etc.

Pick one of the templates and get started in giving a shape to your career.

This process of goal setting actually helps you in understanding your interests, strengths and opportunities.

2. Thinking only monetary benefits during a job change

Salary is a crucial factor for a job change but that’s not everything.

Think about this.

What is your biggest career mistake?

Can you recall anything related to monetary decisions? Thinking just remuneration can land you into a career rut. 

If you focus only on money, the company in return might not give you exciting learning opportunities. Or you might not have a great work-life balance. So, take a holistic approach while changing jobs. 

Think in terms of factors below which should be your priority at times over money.

  • Work-life balance
  • Learning and career growth opportunities
  • Alignment with career goals
  • The reputation of the company- the brand
  • Size of the team
  • Training and skilling opportunities

and so on.

3. Not hitting reboot in your career – Staying trapped

A lot of people make a key career mistake of getting stuck in a zone in their career. This at times is uncomfortable.

But there is little they can change.

At some point in our career, we might be looking for a change but we simply can’t take action.

Sounds familiar?

We all get stuck in career. It is at this time that we must learn the art of hitting reboot in career.

Whenever life throws you out of balance, you need to refigure your priorities and move ahead to conquer life and achieve greater success.

In case you are looking to reboot your career for a more fulfilling professional life, here are 8 questions that you should ask yourself to help yourself in rebooting your career.

So, before you make your next career move, these are the things you should consider.

These questions would help clear the toxicity and clutter of your professional life which you might have gathered during your professional journey so far. 

8 Questions You need to Ask Yourself For Rebooting Your Career
  • Do you have a Clear Career Goal?
  • Do you know the things that you are most passionate about?
  • Are you giving yourself enough credit for your efforts?
  • Are you aware of your Strengths and Weaknesses?
  • Do you know key accomplishments in your career so far?
  • Have you learnt the art of giving and accepting?
  • Do you continuously upgrade your skills?
  • Have you embraced innovation and creativity?

These were some of the questions that you must ask yourself for a great career.

Build your career as an architect or an artist.

Don’t make the most important career mistake of not focusing on your career enough.

Follow the below steps to care for your career. It’s a key part of your life after all.

  • Start with a dream.
  • Then set your goals and keep improvising at regular intervals.
  • Create a roadmap to the destination.
  • Write your plans so that they appear out and loud.
  • Create a list of your strengths.
  • Be compassionate and full of gratitude.
  • Mentor others and get mentored.
  • Reach out to others for help.
  • Give your self due credit and treat yourself well always. You are all you have got.
  • Let it go.
  • Count your blessing and hit reboot to your career!

4. Not taking out time to upgrading career skills

Please don’t make this mistake as a professional. The Current COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot about security.

No job is secure.

The whole of the hospitality and tourism industry is devastated due to COVID pandemic. Same is true for various other industries.

Millions have lost jobs.

It is thus extremely important to continuously upgrade skills.

It might be a suitable time.

Those who didn’t upgrade themselves in the past are set to struggle more during recessions.

Skills are a crucial part of your perfectly curated resume. So, upgrading yourself with contemporary career skills is always crucial.

Learning new skills, getting trained for new skills, learning new software, mastering various management techniques all add up to make you a better prospect for your dream job.

It is important to be in that upgradation mode.

After all, It’s not only your iPhone that needs an upgrade.

Ask yourself this question and remember instances when you performed something that enhanced your skills. Make a note of it.

5. Not aligning your Career with your Passion and Interests

Have you tried to align your career with the things you are most passionate about?

A lot of people trade their interests for short term career gains.

This is one of the deadliest career mistakes.

People are welcomed to work for what they are passionate about.

So, if you made a mistake and are in the wrong profession, you can certainly change that. Companies would love it if you do so and are passionate about what they require.

Have you created a vision board for your Career? Even if it looks childish, it’s still worth its effort.

If you have not created one your answers would be- Ah, who cares? I already know what I am supposed to do. This thing is too childish and so on.

Try creating a dream board where you have achieved what you desire in your career. 

Try to include steps towards your desired result for a mind-blowing career.

Now, to be able to create a perfect career vision board, you must be aware of what you are passionate about.

Do you love stars? Or is it gastronomy that delights you?

Are you passionate about reading books? Do you love coding and creating software?

There can be numerous things you might be passionate about.

  • Write at least 10 things you are passionate about. 
  • Now select 5 out of them that can help you achieve your career goals.
  • Now pick your best 3 out of those 5.
  • Include them in your vision board
  • Set career goals that are aligned with these 3 selected things you are passionate about.

A lot of multinational companies are actually coming up with restart programmes for individuals looking to reboot career with more options, a better work-life balance, better learning and other opportunities they are passionate about. 

An example of this is the Dell restart programme.

Have a look at their infographic that explains more about how they care about your passion.

It is not only with Dell (and we certainly are not endorsing any company here), it’s with a lot of other multinational companies as well.

6. Not Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses

If you make this career mistake you are sure to regret later.

You must be clear about your strengths and weaknesses to be able to set clear goals and make a calculated next move in your career.

You might have added some strength at your previous job or you might have developed a new weakness that you would not mind confessing to yourself.

Strengths and weaknesses are dynamic and thus assessing them at regular intervals in career timeline help you big times while planning a career reboot. 

If you have not done a self SWOT analysis (of your professional life), it’s time to do it now and you will certainly find a few answers to this question.

In order to decide perfect next step in your career, you need to know your key accomplishments. That should find a place in your perfectly drafted resume for your prospective job options.

Try to ponder over the career achievements for a moment. Write those down. Try to remember all those accolades, promotions, bonuses, rewards and more.

This is an important step to get to the next job that you love and that is going to be satisfying.

Thinking about accomplishments get you out of any negativity loop and help you make your next career move in the direction of your accomplishments.

7. Not Failing Fast – Being afraid to fail

Everyone has to face failure at some point in time. It’s time to count on your blessings and thus deal only with your accomplishments.

Take failure as an accomplishment as well as a learning opportunity.

Take this as a crucial career advise.

Learn from your failure and then let it go. Don’t keep the failure linger on.

That is going to be toxic and can hurt your career in the long run.

A lot of people misunderstand the concept of emotional intelligence at work. Try to be emotionally intelligent to use failures to your advantage.

Charity begins at home and Compassion starts with yourself.

Be compassionate for all the slogging you have done at work over the years. You might have failed but you also learnt new skills.

Failure allows you some time to stop for a moment to introspect. To think about all that you have achieved so far.

Give yourself credit for all those small and big wins that you achieved while working over the years.

This act of kindness and gratitude towards yourself is set to help you in your career and coming out of failures.

It does not only boost your morale but also help you perform better at work.

8. Missing on Career Networking Opportunities

This is a career mistake you must avoid at all cost.

You learn the art of giving while mentoring and helping others.

Whether it is on LinkedIn, face to face, someone in your office or a family friend; always try to support others. 

This, in turn, helps you enhance your personal brand and you open yourself to receiving, getting mentored and coached.

This circle of giving and accepting is an endless one and an extremely satisfying and rewarding.

So, ask yourself these questions. 

  • Have I mentored someone?
  • Have I been offered support in the past years at work?
  • Is there someone I can help with making the next career move?
  • Can someone help me get the desired contact for my potential career move?

You will be amazed to know once you answer this question that you have a huge network already.

You don’t need to make a new network from scratch.

Ask for help and you will be amazed to see that there would be plenty of hands ready to support.

Start now!


We hope that our article on career mistakes would help you in crafting an amazing career.

Finally, please don’t make the most common career mistake to take the power of innovation and creativity lightly.

One of our other articles covers some tips to be innovative at work for more productivity.

In the current knowledge economy, fuel is continuous innovation. It is crucial to be creative in your approach.

Think of ways that can enhance your creativity.

Creativity helps get the maximum out of us. That’s the secret sauce of a perfect success recipe in your career.

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