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Mistakes to Avoid
You would be absolutely amazed by the choices people make, which often inhibits their career mobility and options. Below is a list of mistakes to avoid, which will hopefully provide you with career guidance.
- Job Specialization
Never accept a specialized job. In other words, the job you perform should require skills that are easily transferable to other companies and other industries.
For example: Project Engineer for the Z-100 anti-tank radar antenna system.
Years ago companies provided lifetime job security. It was OK to specialize if you had a job for life. This is no longer the case. Therefore, you must be prepared at anytime to re-market your skills.
- Exceeding Your Market Value
Most companies have a salary structure with a minimum, mid-point and maximum for each job position. The mid-point salary is true market value. Once you exceed the mid-point, you are being paid above fair market value. This also means that you are now too expensive to a prospective employer. Therefore, once you hit fair market value, you need to move up or move out to keep your salary at mid-point or below.
- Assessing Corporate Culture
Some folks will leave a company only to discover that they have entered the lion's den. They often wonder what they could have done to determine the culture of the company before accepting a job offer. The answer lies in the type of questions you ask during the interview process.
- What is your employee turnover rate?
- What is the average length of employment for your employees?
- What percentage of your employees are promoted from within?
- Tell me about your commitment to employee development.
- Tell me about your history of layoffs.
- Severance Package
Connecticut, like most states, is an employment at will state.
Simply stated, it provides employers with a lot of leverage when terminating employees. Therefore, professionals moving from one company to another need to negotiate their own security.
It is advantageous to negotiate a severance package with one month's salary for every $2OK in salary you make. If you are paid $60K a year, you should have a three-month severance package. This provides you with the ramp up time needed to re-market yourself.
- Always Increase Your Market Value
Never select a job based solely on the compensation package. Each job should be a stepping stone to career advancement.
Therefore, you should closely examine the job you are accepting to make certain that your skills inventory will increase. As your skills increase, so too does your market value.
- Negotiating Salary
Never negotiate with a focus exclusivity on salary.
Remember, that salary is just one component of a total compensation package. You should look at all components of the compensation package, including benefits, vacation, 401(K), and pension plans, as well as other intangibles like culture, location and opportunities to increase your skill base.
- College Graduates
It is common place for college graduates to focus exclusively on salary.
This is a common mistake which often leads to job frustration and job-hopping. This in turn, creates an image of indecisiveness and unreliability. College grads should focus on a variety of factors, including salary, industry growth, learning opportunities and future market value.
- Avoid Stigmas
Some careers are often stigmatized, making it difficult to transition from one career to another.
Civil service, government and non-profits are often viewed by the corporate sector as deficient training grounds in order to prepare for the challenges of a corporate career. Therefore, before entering into the civil service, government or non-profit sectors, do so, realizing that it may be a one -way decision.
- The Glass Ceiling
Women college graduates will often accept an administrative or secretarial position in order to secure employment. Once a woman accepts a so-called traditional job, they are often stigmatized as secretarial/administrative making it difficult to advance their careers at a later date.
- Waiting for the Axe to Fall
Job security is a thing of the past, so too are corporate values. Employees are often promised the moon. In many cases, they are told that they will never be let go. More often than not, they are underpaid, over-utilized, under-appreciated, and then walked out the door when least expected.
Professionals should always have an updated resume and keep an ear to the ground to explore job opportunities. Never assume anything and always look to protect your own self-interest.
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