18 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Getting a New Job

A new job is a new beginning that should be celebrated. You must, however, also recognize that there’s more to a job than getting your work done. Stay with us while we look at 18 common mistakes you might make when starting a new job.

Not Negotiating the Job Offer

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Starting a new job without negotiating your offer can leave money on the table and set a lower baseline for your future earnings and benefits. According to a statistic from Career Builder, “73% of employers in the United States expect candidates to negotiate salary on an initial job offer.” If you get cornered when your interviewer asks your salary expectation, simply respond with, “What’s your budget?”

Ignoring Company Culture

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Understanding a company’s culture is crucial. If you don’t blend in, it can lead to dissatisfaction and hinder your success in your new role. You should consider researching the company’s values and mission before joining to make sure it matches your expectations.

Failing to Set Clear Career Goals

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Do not ignore your goals when starting a new job, or even worse, do not mindlessly work without setting some. A study by Zippia found that only 17% of people set goals, and those who write down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them. Entering a new job without clear career goals will lead to stagnation and missed opportunities for advancement and personal growth.

Overlooking the Importance of Networking

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Building a strong network from the start is vital for your career progression. Keith Ferrazzi famously said, “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Networking can put you at the top of lists for opportunities within and outside the company. Do your best to engage in company activities to get a chance to know your colleagues outside of work.

Not Asking Questions

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Asking questions is key to understanding your role and how you fit into the team and the company at large. Use questions to get clarification about responsibilities, expectations, performance, and more. Asking questions also makes it clear to your superiors that you care about your role and career progression.

Underestimating the Learning Curve

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Every job has a learning curve, and underestimating it can hinder your performance and adaptability in the new role. Allocate some time every week to work on activities that teach you new skills or improve your current ones.

Ignoring Work-Life Balance

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Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for long-term success and well-being in any new job. Around 60% of Americans who report having poor work-life balance blame a lack of boundaries between work and home life. Don’t take on more work than you can handle, and always communicate if your workload is too much.

Not Updating Professional Skills

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It’s important to stay updated on professional skills and industry trends. This is especially crucial for fast-moving industries like fashion and marketing. You should also make use of the opportunities given by your company to learn, as these are free and can usually be done on company time.

Overlooking Feedback

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Overlooking feedback can prevent you from recognizing areas for improvement and growth opportunities. Think of negative feedback as constructive criticism, instead of an attack on your abilities. If you don’t feel like you’re getting proper feedback, actively seek it out from your manager and colleagues.

Failing to Adapt to Company Processes

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Adapt to your company’s processes to make your and your colleagues’ work easier. Learn things like your company’s preferred communication style, ways of working, management style, and more.

Not Clarifying Expectations

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Clarifying expectations with your manager keeps both of you aligned on your role’s objectives and success metrics. It can be dangerous to assume responsibilities, as you may mislead yourself. Always set measurable performance metrics to ensure that you can objectively tell whether you are excelling or falling behind.

Mismanaging Time and Priorities

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Effective time management and prioritization are key to handling your workload and delivering results efficiently. If you don’t make it clear what’s most important to you, you may end up spending more time on things that don’t matter as much.

Neglecting Company Politics

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While often overlooked, understanding and navigating company politics is one of the most important factors for career advancement. Even though it is not the best use of your time, ignoring it will only leave you left behind, especially when it comes to promotions and perks.

Not Leveraging Mentorship Opportunities

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The right mentorship can accelerate your learning and help you navigate challenges. In some cases, your mentor can connect you to opportunities for career advancement. It can be challenging to find a good mentor, but you can start with the higher-ups at your company or other industry leaders.

Avoiding Risk-Taking

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Sticking only to what you know is a good way to stay in the same place for years. You should instead take calculated risks that can lead to growth opportunities. Additionally, taking risks can highlight your initiative to your superiors when you step out of your comfort zone.

Not Being Proactive About Contributions

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Being proactive in your contributions shows commitment to your job. It can also build your creativity and potential for leadership roles. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Always offer up your ideas and solutions to show your colleagues that you want to contribute to team efforts.

Misinterpreting the Dress Code

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Try to follow the company’s dress code to make a good impression and fit in with the company culture. Look at some pictures on the company website to get a feel for what other employees wear to work. If you are not sure, wear something formal on your first day to be safe.

Failing to Communicate Effectively

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Lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings between colleagues. Keep your colleagues and managers aware of what you are up to at all times. Always try to respond to emails to show your coworkers that you respect their time.

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