I’ve interviewed more than eleven thousand people in my life. I’ve worked with and interacted with countless more. It never ceases to amaze me the consistency across individuals, positions, industries, and any other variable you can imagine when it comes to sabotaging careers.

The good news is I’ve highlighted what I consider the seven worst career mistakes you continue to make. Sometimes, simply knowing what the problem is can help cure it. In other instances, it’ll take more effort.

Here we go…

Not networking outside your company

Even if you’re the most popular person in your ten-thousand-person company, you need to continually connect with others outside your organization. I’d extend this to getting to know people outside your profession. Going through life as a team-of-one will get you nowhere fast. Check out How to Build Your Professional Network, and You’re Only as Strong as Your Network—4 Keys to Building Relationships.

Not taking the leap

Most people operate from a failure-avoidance position when they should be approaching it from the I’ll-make-it-happen perspective. Not taking a chance on something you love will be your biggest regret in life. See How to Figure Out Your Purpose in Life in Fewer Than 600 Words and 5 Requirements for a Successful Career Change.

Not knowing your value

This is a two-parter. It amazes me that few people truly understand what they earn. It’s a bit less astonishing that people don’t understand their value in the market. First, get a grip on your current value by checking out Know Your Financial Value Before Changing Jobs. Second, do some investigating outside your company to see what others in your profession are earning.

Not keeping up with the latest trends

Staying behind the latest curves makes you appear uniformed when interacting with people outside your organization (maybe even inside). This, of course, becomes harmful when you are job interviewing. Start reading more blogs for your profession. Keep reading mine no matter your profession. 🙂

Overestimating what you can accomplish today and underestimating what you can achieve in your lifetime

How many to-do’s can you accomplish today? Tomorrow morning, count the ones you didn’t accomplish. Were your eyes bigger than your stomach? Why do you think at any moment you can do more, but over your lifetime think you’ll achieve less? Start writing that New York Times Bestseller. Draft that screenplay. Build your company. Determine how you’ll get your message out to millions of people. Incremental, directed change today will accumulate exponentially as time goes by.

You quit your job search because you’re newly employed or happily employed or both

I assure you, your dream job will never come floating along right when you need it to. Remain open and never rest on a steady paycheck or stop networking (see above). Today’s market is not your parents’ market and it’s definitely not your grandparents’ market. We are operating in an attention-deficit-disorder world. Whether it’s your or your employer’s fault is irrelevant. Protect yourself.

You think you need a boss or mentor or anyone other than yourself to direct your career

You can outsource a lot of things in your life, but your career isn’t one of them. Own it. Take steps. Take chances. Make mistakes. Repeat. Before you know it, I’ll be reading about you, what you accomplished, and how it’s improved the world!

As always, I’d love to hear from you: What do you consider the greatest career killers?