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Avoid the Top 5 Career-Killing Mistakes People STILL Make & Get the Paycheck You Deserve
08/15/2007 - Previous | Next | Career Corner Home
Linda M. Lopeke -- Unless you are very wealthy or extremely good at winning lotteries, you can expect to be working for 40 years of your life or more. And while not everyone has what it takes to become a top executive, you do have complete control over how far you go and how much you earn in your career.

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You can crack the corporate success code! But only if you stop making career-killing mistakes.

Here are the top five career-killing mistakes people still make and then wonder why they're not advancing their careers:

Career Killing-Mistake #1: Not knowing the real purpose of your résumé.

Of all the things critical to landing a great job, having a great résumé isn't on the list because that's not its real purpose! And you cannot create a killer résumé if you don't know what that purpose actually is.

The purpose of your résumé is not to get the job. It's to be selected for the short-list of people that the employer wants to interview. This decision is made in less than 10 seconds and NOT by the hiring manager. It's usually an administrative assistant who looks at the submissions and it takes him/her at least 3 seconds to look at your name! Not understanding this means most résumés are thrown in the trash immediately.

Career-Killing Mistake #2: Not getting the answer to the most important question of all before you start answering your interviewer's questions.

The hiring decision is made in the first four minutes of a job interview. Everything that happens after this only serves to reinforce your interviewer's decision. You HAVE to get the answer to this question before time is up: Are they looking to hire MORE people like those they already have on the team/in the department, or are they looking for people who are DIFFERENT from those already on staff to inject new blood/fresh thinking into their organization? The answer to this question will determine how you respond to their questions. Otherwise, you'll just be wasting their time and yours.

Career-Killing Mistake #3: Believing the key to success is working hard and putting in long hours, then making sure your boss knows about it.

Most people believe ensuring people know how hard you are working is the #1 key to getting ahead. No -- A thousand times no! This is actually one of the fastest ways to hold yourself back in your career! In fact only 3% of people working hard ever experience success. And this career-killing mistake is not good for your health either.

Career-Killing Mistake #4: Not doing the one thing that renders all on-the-job competition irrelevant.

The one thing is taking ACTION. Taking action requires no special tools or intelligence. And 98% of your co-workers will NOT be doing it.

In any organization there are always a bazillion things that need to be done. However, 10% of the employee population will make professional commitments to getting thing one done with enthusiasm. And only 2% ever actually take action.

Management has to constantly CHASE and FOLLOW UP with the other 98% if they want to make sure things are getting done. So what this means is if you work in a department of 100 people, only 10 people will have high potential and only 2 people will be in direct competition for raises and promotions.

So, if you're not taking action you are automatically keeping yourself from getting ahead and won't be taking home the paycheck you deserve.

Career-Killing Mistake #5: Not setting up an employment file at home and not checking what the employer has in your personnel file once a year.

No one will ever care more about your career than you do. Create your own employment file and keep it at home.

Also, once a year, make an appointment with Human Resources to review your personnel file. Mistakes happen. Only you can make sure all the good things that should be in your file are actually there. Opinions (strong ones) of your worth to the employer are formed on the basis of what is found in that file. Don't let the wrong ones be made about you.

The Best Way to Avoid These Career-Killing Mistakes

These career-killing mistakes and many others people still make at work have one thing in common. They are all easily preventable. The best way to do that is to get a good mentor. Someone more experienced, who can guide your way, and keep you from making these mistakes in the first place!

Career Advancement Expert Linda M. Lopeke can help you turn your college degree or new job into a corporate career worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your professional lifetime with her SmartStart Success virtual mentoring programs. Linda dares you to take the $1,000 cash-for-college challenge and test your office smarts at http://www.smartstartcoach.com.

© 2007 Linda M. Lopeke

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.

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