Are you jeopardizing your career without even knowing it? Employers watch their employees' everyday and are making mental notes about them, evaluating their every move. The following pointers are intended to give you an insight into certain career killers that can be detrimental to the future of your career:
Poor Communication Skills: Nobody likes receiving an e-mail full of typos or attending a presentation by a person who drones on and on monotonously without the slightest bit of inflection or intonation. Having effective communication skills in terms of writing and speaking is a key factor in making an impact. People judge you on this basis and it reflects confidence when one can speak/write clearly and get a message across. To spruce up on your speaking skills, practice talking in front of a mirror and for those of you prone to spelling errors, it wouldn't hurt to use the "spell check" option on your computer or to even take a few minutes extra to review that memo before hitting the send button.
Procrastination: An unknown author once said, "If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done." No wonder nobody knows his name! Putting off work until later and then cramming it all into a couple of hours is a sure shot career killer. You run the risk of delivering shoddy, unimpressive work and getting a nasty review from your boss. If you've managed to procrastinate your way through the years, remind yourself that you won't always be so lucky and might end up paying dearly. Your safest bet is to finish tasks and assignments as soon as you get them.
Not stepping out of your comfort zone: Sticking to the job description outlined in your appointment letter will leave you on the same rung of the career ladder for a long time. Employers like people who want to take on more than they are given. It shows their enthusiasm and interest to learn something new. Sure you'll earn you're share of bread and butter by playing it safe, but going beyond your call of duty will definitely give you an edge over you're peers. This is especially true for youngsters who've just joined the work force and need to prove themselves. They should be ready to start from scratch and lose any sense of entitlement that they might have. Besides, if you start at the bottom, the only place you can go is up.
Bad Manners: Rudeness to the mailroom clerk is a major turn off for employers. Never hesitate to use "please", "thank you" and "Excuse me" and other courtesy words. They are indicators of good upbringing and more importantly, people will like and respect you because you respect them.
Poor appearance: We live in a world where appearance, sadly, counts for a lot. The image you portray determines, to an extent, your progress in your career. If you turn out sloppy and underdressed at your job you will make it harder for yourself to get ahead, as opposed to dressing to impress which will help employers visualize you in a position of power and authority. Keep in mind to dress according to the office norm. Don't show up in a three piece suit if decent casual clothing is acceptable. The key is to have a pleasant, neat and clean appearance. For more insights on corporate dressing read AssureConsulting.com's article, "Dressing for Success"
Office politics: This is a tricky one which needs to be handled with tact. While indulging in office gossip is often frowned upon, keeping away from the grapevine can also be detrimental to one's career. This point is best elucidated by job coach and columnist for Kiplinger.com, Marty Nemko who says, "every workplace has an intricate system of power, and you can -- and should -- work it ethically to your best advantage. It's also crucial to identify your workplace's hidden pockets of power. On paper, a certain person may be in charge, but you need to know who else in the office has influence so you can be sure to impress the right people."
Not a team player: This is another tricky situation. One has to find a balance between being a part of team and at the same time getting their individual contributions and efforts toward the team recognized. This isn't always easy as, some times, in an effort to make your work and skills stand out your team mates might view you as being selfish. You have to be able to further your own interests as well as those of your team. Then you will be recognized and rewarded.
Lack of emotional control: Personal problems are a part of life and employers can understand issues like family discord, divorce etc. But that is no excuse for you to let your emotions run wild at the workplace. Your boss expects you to keep your personal problems personal and to take care of them. Always stay in control and avoid public disagreements, raising your voice or having an emotional breakdown in the office. Being too emotional sends out the message that you are unstable, unreliable and cant handle pressure.
Not Networking: If you want your career to progress it is essential that you maintain contacts of people that can help you get ahead. Keeping in touch with people can help you with your next career move as only 10 per cent of all jobs are advertised and the rest are made known through contacts and word of mouth. It is also important to stay in touch with people who can give you good references and recommendations.