Career Mistakes that many Young Professionals Make (that need to stop immediately)

I’m still considered early in my career. I’m in my second salaried job and haven’t reached a management position yet. As I navigate my career path it’s becoming clearer to me the need to have more perspective. This is a long game and I can’t have a short-term game mentality. The actions I take now are either going to advance or hinder me further down the line.

I’ve seen so many young professionals like myself make mistakes that they probably don’t even know they are making. These missteps can impact the way people view you professionally and can hold you back in your industry.

 Photography: Timothy Eugene

Photography: Timothy Eugene

Posting your new business card online

I’m all about protecting your safety. I wrote a piece last year about why you shouldn’t include your address on your resume. I know it’s tempting to post your brand new business card on Facebook or Instagram after you get a new job. However, that small card holds a lot of information that you may not want public. Even if you don’t have that many followers, would you want 300+ people knowing the address of where you work or your number? If you really have the need to post it, blur out the key information.

 

Refusing to listen to information multiple times

Being a know-it-all is not a positive trait. I was recently listening to Erin Henry’s live video in her Facebook group where she talked about the repetition of skill. Never think you know something so much that you’re not willing to hear it again. I think a lot of young professionals continuously hear the same information from their parents, employers and mentors but they aren’t taking it to heart. Always be open to receiving new information that you’ve already heard.

 

Failing to master a single skill

For many reasons, twentysomethings are encouraged to be a jack of all trades. In my field, journalism, it’s pushed upon us to know a little bit of everything. For example, students are told they need to shoot video, edit video, write stories, produce, work audio, etc etc. Although I believe it’s good to have a wide net of skills because that’s always valuable, it doesn’t make you stand out. By focusing on the quantity of skills you learn instead of the actual quality, you’re never going to master anything. Spend time on developing one or two talents really well and less time trying to put your hands in every basket.

 

Trying to fit into a traditional role

Too many people are naively following a career path someone else already paved. It’s wonderful to look at successful people for inspiration but you can aspire to be in their position while forging your own career plan. I’ve just recently had an epiphany of sorts that I’m not a “traditional” journalist that pitches “traditional” stories. I want to write about strippers going on strike and schools offering accredited degrees in marijuana studies. I like publishing stories that push the envelope and make people really think. I’ve vowed to climb the career ladder on my own terms, in my own way.

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Stay driven.

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