"10 Biggest Career Mistakes Women Make"

Blog Post created by kimberly.wilson Advocate on Jun 24, 2016

After reading Katie Mehnert post on Why Women Don't Ask I found it funny that I ran across this list of 10 career mistakes women make and it complements/validates that article perfectly.


1. "Not Negotiating for a Higher Salary"


This is an area that women question themselves on.  They think the salary they are being offered is good or they are worried if they ask for more they will rock the boat.  This in turn continues to happen throughout many women's careers and they get farther behind their peers, creating a salary gap. Do research on what a salary should look like for your position, years of experience and company size.  What is the worst that can happen? You can ask and they say no.  However you showed the negotiator you are informed, a risk taker and confident.


2. "Not Knowing Your Value"


It is important for women to stay on top of what value their expertise brings to a company or client.   This is an area that requires research not just an arbitrary belief of value. Also, we tend to forget what we contribute to our various roles make sure you document in a journal what you have accomplished. 


3. "Downplaying Accomplishments"


Many women feel like they are bragging when they discuss their accomplishments, but it is important for supervisors to know.  I have noticed through my resume services that women have a hard time taking ownership of the work they do.  In other words when a women contributes on a team they don't think that their work was critical to the process. They use words like contributed, helped and offered.  Whereas men who contribute use words like designed, created and partnered. When we work on a team we have to remember that our contribution was important to the process and if we weren't there the work would be missing a critical element.


As stated above, it is very important to keep a journal or an accomplishment book to use when discussing performance and writing a resume.  It is best to meet with a boss regularly to talk about progress, contributions and results you brought to the work. In these meetings you can discuss the things that went well and not assume your boss knows.


4. "Ignoring Industry Trends"


We all know industries can shift quickly.  It is important to stay ahead of the curve on the "happenings" in your industry.  Women tend to feel they are too busy to add this to their schedule.  Sites like Pink Petro help to keep people informed and connect people.  Going to events and reading relevant information about the industry can take you steps ahead when things are changing. Many innovations come from individuals who see the trend before it happens, but you can only get there by staying up on current trends.


5. "Working Behind the Scenes"


When you do something quietly at your desk your manager is not aware.  Increase your visibility by speaking up at meetings and getting involved in activities that put you in front of your boss. If people don't know you and cannot see you are capable of taking on more responsibility they won't think of you for promotions, more bonus, etc.  It is best to reflect a few times a week and walk in your boss' shoes. Think "if I were my boss what would I have seen this week?" Realize your boss cannot see everything going on at all times and think about the times he or she saw or communicated with you.


6. "Not Following a Roadmap for Success"


It is very important to determine where you want to go, what you want out of your career, what your company needs and how you can help the company succeed through your contributions.  Helping others in your team is also very important. Working with your team contributes to your success and theirs.  It will accelerate the process for everyone if you are working together with the company's vision in mind. When you set a plan you can measure your progress and you can celebrate what you have done, as well as learn from things you "didn't know you didn't know."



7. "Overlooking Relationships with Potential Sponsors"


Sponsors have been discussed many times in Pink Petro.  A sponsor is someone who believes in you and can help you to open doors, make introductions and really sees a lot of potential in you.  Don't overlook relationships with potential sponsors and if you see potential in someone definitely support and sponsor them.


8. "Skipping the Cocktail Hour"


As women we have so many responsibilities that we think we don't have time to go to the cocktail hour or we think it may send the wrong message.  It is amazing how many business discussions take place at these events.  People are more relaxed and discuss business in a less conservative or informal way.  You don't want to miss out on the opportunity to mingle with all levels of the company and it is no fun to come to the work the next day hearing about things that were discussed where you could not contribute.  Typically these events bring people closer together.


9. "Not Admitting When You Don’t Know Something"


Women tend to feel they have to know everything and keep everything together.  When someone does not admit they don't know something they can take themselves on an uphill path.  By admitting you don't know something it is okay.  People are judged by the results not the process.  Admitting you are not sure about something shows authenticity and builds trust. It also saves time.


10. "Spreading Yourself Too Thin"


We can't do it all.  It is best to look at what you need to get done, set goals, set a plan and be realistic on the time it will take to accomplish.  Celebrate wins and don't beat yourself up if it is not all done.  When things don't get done reflect on why and determine if it is a task that can get delegated.  Remember that delegating things that keep you in the weeds raises you to accomplish bigger and better things.


Source: Alaina Tweddale,, June 24, 2016