Are You Avoiding These Common but Hidden Career Pitfalls?

Regardless of the career path you have chosen, there are universal things to avoid that will set back your job trajectory. Gossiping about your boss or missing deadlines are two obvious things that will only hurt your reputation and performance review. Everyone knows this, right? But what about those hidden pitfalls? The things that we think we’re handling properly but actually accomplish the opposite. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here are three traps to avoid when navigating your career so that you can avoid a setback, or even worse, termination.

facebookTwitter-LogoLinkedIn-Logo1. Social Media – If you’ve spent any time on Facebook recently, then you’re probably familiar with teachers showing teens how easy it is to have an unflattering photo or social media post go viral. It’s enough to make anyone, even adult professionals, want to swear off social media altogether, because the last thing you want is a recruiter or a colleague stumbling across something you tweeted after a couple glasses of wine in front of your computer. Before you unplug completely and begin living the life of a social media hermit, keep this in mind: no social media interaction makes for poor career promotion.

What does that mean exactly? Recruiters and future employers, maybe even management who is considering you for a promotion, will no doubt Google you to fill out what they already know from your resume. You don’t want them pulling up embarrassing photos which is just as bad as them not finding anything at all. The ideal situation is for them to discover your dynamic internet presence. That means posting examples of your portfolio on Facebook or tweeting about the new project you’re managing. Find an interesting article related to your industry? Share it on LinkedIn with your personal insights. Your presence on social media can be a powerful promotional tool if you use it wisely.

2. Availability – The general consensus is that the more you’re available to work, the more often you’ll be promoted. Your boss appreciates face time in the office, and if you’re not at your desk, then the general expectation is to be connected through email and cell phone. However, always being available sometimes looks like you’re afraid to delegate which would reflect poorly on your performance if you’re aspiring to a management position. It can also promote a feeling that you’re an expert and don’t believe that anyone else is qualified to accomplish the task. Not to mention how stressed it makes you when you mistakenly believe that you can’t say no.

Career specialists suggest giving the “conditional” yes. This means saying that you would love to help someone finish their project, but you have to tend to your own first. If they still need help once you’ve met your deadline, then you’d be happy to lend them a hand. This shows your willingness to be a team player while also sticking to your own goals and responsibilities.

3. Promoting Side Jobs – In this economy, many of us have had to take side jobs to make ends meet. The rule of thumb used to be that you didn’t want to show a break in employment on your resume. However, it will actually hurt you to list your job stocking shelves on the nightshift when you’re applying for an executive position in sales. Don’t list the making-ends-meet job unless you can make a winning correlation between your position managing the mini-mart and how that honed your management skills for the corporate office. If the gap on your resume comes up in your interview, explain that you were devoting your full attention to finding the right job in a challenging economy.