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					4 Common Mistakes Young People Make
When Changing Jobs
With the economy starting to turn a corner, and hiring in some industries and regions picking up,
you might be contemplating making the jump to a new job. But any career move comes with
risks you need to be aware of before you make a change.

Here are some common mistakes young professionals make when switching jobs – and how you
can avoid them:

1. Chasing the money

Sure, money’s an important factor, but it’s not the only factor.

A friend of mine in Portland, OR, a marketing manager, jumped at a new job opportunity a few
years ago because it gave him more than a 50 percent raise.

“The money was great – while it lasted,” he said. But a year and a half later, the company he
moved to was acquired and he found himself out of a job. “In retrospect, I should have seen it
coming,” he said. “They were setting themselves up to be acquired. But I was blinded by the
dollar signs.”

If he had it to do over again, he would have spent more time asking questions about the
company’s plans for future growth and where they were headed.

2. Buying too quickly into a brand

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to work for a big brand name. Just make sure you do your
homework and move for the right reasons.

Some people seek out work with well-known brands because they think it will look great on their
resumes. But once they start working there, they sometimes discover the public image of the
company doesn’t translate into a quality employee experience.

It’s a good practice to talk with people who work at any company you’re thinking about
going to work for – even if it’s a big name. You need to think about whether the company
culture is a good fit for you, not just whether you’d like to have a big brand name on your
resume.

3. Moving up just to move up
Twice in my career, I’ve made the mistake of going after a promotion just because it was a step
up. I didn’t really think through how these moves fit with my career goals, and in both cases I
was miserable in the role.

What those experiences taught me is that without having a clear vision for your life and
career, you won’t have much to guide you in those decisions.

Get clear on what you want your life and work to look like first. Then start looking for the next
thing in your career. And have the strength to pass on anything that doesn’t fit your vision.

4. Burning bridges

If you’ve toiled away through the recession at a job you don’t like, it might be tempting to quit in
dramatic fashion. Tell off your domineering boss. Let all the people you didn’t get along with
know what you really think of them.

Despite what movies and TV might have led you to believe, this will not make you seem heroic
to your (now former) colleagues. In most cases, it will just make everyone feel awkward –
including you.

Early in my career I watched as one co-worker who had just been hired by a competitor told off
our boss and then stormed out of the office. About a year later, he changed jobs again. This time,
he was working for a supplier who wanted our business. He had to tell his new boss about what
had happened and ask to be taken off the account team.

Needless to say, that revelation didn’t score him any points with his new employer. You never
know who you’ll have to work with down the line, which is why you never want to burn any
bridges.

The key to all of these tips is being strategic. Before you hop to a new job, get clear on what
you want in your life and your career. Then, if you pursue an opportunity that looks like a fit, do
your homework on the company to make sure it’s headed in the right direction and the culture is
a good fit for you. And if you do end up taking a new job, please, for everyone’s sake, give your
two weeks notice and leave in good standing.

				
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