6 Ways You May Be Self-Sabotaging Your Career Prospects

Posted by Paladin on December 20, 2018

It may be hard to believe, but when they’re looking to advance their careers, job seekers can sometimes be their own worst enemies.

Every word, facial expression and tweet — along with your job history, personal brand and mood — stands to have an influence on your career prospects. So before you embark on the process, take a close look at yourself. These six self-sabotaging behaviors could be holding you back.

Reckless Social Media Posts

There are countless stories of people getting fired because of offensive tweets, from celebrities like Rosanne Barr to the social media strategist who mistakenly posted explicit language to Chrysler’s brand account. The takeaway? What you do and say on social media can have a serious impact on your career.

Think twice about what you post on social sites, as there’s a good chance potential employers are watching. They’ll surely look back at your feed to see what you’ve shared, liked and commented about in the past.

Failing to Build a Personal Brand

At the same time, maintaining a social media presence is a plus. Sharing articles you’ve written, images of your design work and other creative assets will help you build your personal brand.

Create a personal website, check your profile picture and bio across your public accounts for consistency, and only share content that reflects your interests, values and point of view. If you really want to get a sense of what recruiters will find when they search for you online, set up a Google Alert. Mentions of your name will be emailed to you on a daily, weekly or as-it-happens basis.

Your Job-Hopping History

Starting at a new company is an opportunity to present your best self. But even though you’re starting fresh, your work history could return to haunt you. A string of abrupt departures or a job-hopping past could be perceived as an indication that you’re unreliable.

To overcome negative opinions about such habits, you’ll need to explain why you switched jobs so often. For example, you were searching for a company that aligned with your personal values, morals and goals. Make a point of emphasizing your commitment to your next role and your loyalty to your new employer. Structure your resume in a way that puts your skills before your job history, so that’s what hiring managers notice first.

In interviews, it’s a good idea not to bring up your job-hopping. Rather, wait until the question is asked, be honest about your work decisions and be respectful when describing your relationship with the organizations you worked with in the past.

Having a Negative Attitude

Everyone has bad days, but when you’re actively seeking a new position your attitude can make or break your progress. With little to go on, potential employers strive to gain as much insight into your personality as they possibly can. How you present yourself in your interviews will be viewed as a direct reflection of your character.

It isn’t always easy to walk the line between modesty and self-deprecation. Anxiety can sometimes read as indifference or pompousness. But take care to present a demeanor that’s confident and positive to prevent hiring managers from getting the wrong idea. A cloudy disposition can really undermine your value and skills.

A Lack of Professionalism

When you’re working at an ad agency or firm that’s filled with creatives, a laid-back attitude is common. While other companies save jeans for Fridays, you and your colleagues likely wear casual clothes every day. The way you communicate with each other, and even your boss, may be akin to chatting with a friend.

That’s all well and good, but it’s important to remember there’s a fine line between work and play — especially when you’re interviewing for a job. Flippant remarks and idle gossip can wreak havoc on your professional reputation; the authors of a recent study on gossip in the workplace noted “gossip is often acknowledged as the primary instrument for communicating and spreading negativity,” and advised managers to “take active steps” to control it. It’s fine to have fun, but be sure to maintain your professionalism while you’re at it.

Minimal Networking

If you aren’t working every possible angle to find your next job, you’re missing out. Next to partnering with a recruiter, networking is the most effective way to connect with hiring managers and learn about current and future opportunities.

The goal isn’t to meet as many people as you can, but to meet influential people in your field. Leveraging Twitter, reaching out to past colleagues and mentors, and attending networking events associated with your alma mater or the creative community can support you in your job search.

Finding a new job is enough of a challenge without self-sabotage. Keep these tips in mind as you journey toward your best opportunity yet.

For more guidance, check out our website and connect with a recruiter today!


Posted in: Job Seekers

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