5 Bad Habits That Hurt Your Career

Too many people think that getting a degree and landing a first job is all it takes to build a career. If anything, that's where the hard work starts. No one is just going to hand you a promotion or significant pay raise. Building a successful and rewarding career is an ongoing process with a few easy to overlook mistakes that can keep you from achieving your full potential. Here are 5 common bad habits that hurt your career.

Not Networking

It's fairly common knowledge that networking can help your career. Despite this, many of us neglect this important aspect of career success. Making connections at work, both in your industry and in others, can help open doors when it's time to job hunt.

To network in a professional way avoid the urge to add all of your coworkers to Facebook. You don't want to scare off a potential employer with your political humor and strange memes. Instead, focus networking to job related sites and industry groups. When the time comes to look for a new job a solid list of contacts can help to shorten the search time for a new role. Quite often, these contacts can also give you an insider view of the hiring practices and culture within a company you might be considering.

Not Having a Future Plan

Most of us have a dream job in mind. That could be a certain position, a specific company, or just a goal to work at home. Whatever your aspiration, you can't reach it without having a plan to acheive it. Sit down and take a hard look at what you want out of your career. You don't need to have a crystal ball or 100% understanding of everything to make a future plan. After all, life throws us curve balls and things can change.

But you should still have an idea of what you would like to achieve and by identifying a goal, you can then make a list of steps or things you can do to edge closer to your goals. It could be that you need additional training or degrees, relocation to be closer to a dream job, or something as simple as a change in attitude to put things on the right track.

Not Staying Up to Date

We all know how fast the job market changes and to stay employable you have to adapt. That means learning new things so that you can offer valuable skills to your current employer and future employers. More than ever, many industries are requiring certification of specific skills and if you don't have the qualifications required, the clock will be ticking on your job prospects.

Continuing your education by pursuing another, or advanced, degree can help open new doors but the idea of heading back to school can be overwhelming and isn't possible for everyone. It's not even always the right choice either. Sometimes all you need is to brush up on the latest information of a particular field. That's why small steps like taking an online class or earning a certificate can solidify the skills you have, or fill in the information gaps that could be limiting your success. Check with your employer to see if they will help cover the costs of any training related to your field.

Negative Thoughts

It doesn't matter what you do to advance your career if you sabotage your own success with negative thoughts. This detrimental thinking could be as simple as viewing everything in a negative light, or being resistant to change from fear of the unknown. Thinking like this will sap your energy and over time, negative thinking will cloud your decision making process.

Without a doubt, loved ones and coworkers will pick up on your negative attitude. This could jeopardize the hard work you have put in to your relationships and career. That is why we all need to refocus and reflect inwards from time to time. It helps to clear our minds and reorient our thinking so that we can get rid of these negative thoughts. A great time to do this is when considering career aspirations.

One approach that has been helpful to a few people we know is called mindfulness based therapy. If negative thoughts are a concern of yours, learn more about how to deal with them.

Staying in a Position Too Long

Perseverance and dedication are admirable traits, but those traits are not always rewarded by a boss when it comes time for promotions and raises. Take a long hard look at the position you have and decide if it fits your career goals. If you find that your job duties and responsibilities have not changed in a long time it may mean it's time to move on.

The only way to advance your career and hopefully make more money is to challenge yourself. Many companies offer internal job postings that could be a stepping stone to career advancement. If you apply and struggle to get promoted from within, it might be time to move on and find a better opportunity elsewhere.