Get VIP invites to recruiting events with popular employers! Sign up here.

First Time on Brazen?

Spice Up Your Inbox!

Get invites to exclusive career events, networking opportunities and top career advice.



4 Common Mistakes Young Professionals Make When Changing Jobs

Pin It  

jump to next opportunity

Looking for a job that’s made just for you? Learn how to network your way into a job you love in our free one-hour video with the Classy Career Girl and Brazen’s networking experts.

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.

Dylan Alford is publisher of RecentGradsOnly.com. To sign up for a seven-part email series with the best career advice from RecentGradsOnly.com, click here.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://twitter.com/CMTreehouses Cheeky Monkey

    .

  • Kelly

    Good tips. I know I’ve definitely made some of these mistakes in my earlier years. A few years has shown me the lack of wisdom in those decisions. =)

  • Trishnd

    sometimes it’s hard to leave in good standing when the employer create a hostile environment.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Love your post, Dylan! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Well done! What you shared are very realistic and are definitely common among young professionals switching and searching for the perfect job they love. I believe what they are really missing is something to do about finding their passion. Passion PULLS us forward. It leads us, drives us, and inspires us. Passion makes us feel alive! Find your passion, and you’ll definitely enjoy what you are doing. Thanks for this great reminder Dylan and looking forward to read more of your articles. :)

  • http://www.tourist-destinations.com/ Tourist

    “money’s an important factor, but it’s not the only factor”
    I agree 100% with your statement. If there is no freedom in your job, forget the money. If you are stressed all the time, you will most likely take that stress at home, and those who didn’t do anything wrong will suffer because someone is on your head all day at work, My advice is: Try to find a job where you will be more relaxed, money are not all in life. As Dalai Lama ( i think it was him ) said: People are strange. They give their health for money, after that they give their money for health ( it was something like that).

  • http://www.ichetuckneeriver.com/ Luke

    That’s right, don’t just work for any ‘big brand’ company, it’s much better to ‘work with’ and ‘grow with’ a small company and unleash your full potential.

  • http://www.agame.fm/ a game

    Gute Tipps. Ich weiß, ich habe definitiv einige dieser Fehler in meinem früheren Jahren gemacht. Vor ein paar Jahren hat mir gezeigt, den Mangel an Weisheit in diesen Entscheidungen

  • http://winarticles.net/ Technology

    Very well explained, I can find myself in that “professionals” postures.

  • http://businessanalystcertification365.com/ Business Analyst Certification

    I absolutely agree with you that get clear on what we want our life and work to look like first. Then start looking for the next thing in our career. And have the strength to pass on anything that doesn’t fit our vision. When we can love our work, then success will come easily.

  • Jim Wong

    Great article! We agree with these tips. Specifically, when you begin exploring a change in employer you should consider what role would you be a good fit for going to a new company ( hit the ground running – contribute), does the culture fit my personality and work style ( including direct mangers/peers)?, does the career path options fit your goals ( short term and long term) ? and finally does the compensation fit your expectations. We encourage our candidates to rank the importance of these or weight them. Once you have identified the important criteria in your next career move you can then make a more informed decision when selecting your next opportunity

  • Pingback: Link love (Powered by chives and fortuitous occurrences) | Musings of an Abstract Aucklander()

  • Pingback: 4 Common Mistakes Young Professionals Make When Changing Jobs | The Wall Street Job Report()

  • Pingback: Common Mistakes Young Professionals Make When Changing Jobs | The Savvy Intern by YouTern()