You know how hard you have worked to reach where you are. It has taken a lot of grit, determination and struggle to scale your position up the career ladder and craft a stellar reputation as well. And this is not the end as you still want to move up much higher.

But beware as your path is littered with several potential career landmines that can sabotage all your hard work and success. These are small, barely obvious mistakes which you may not even recognise, but even a few careless missteps can sound the death knell on your otherwise promising career.

Here’s a look at some of the top career killers that need to be avoided:

Sloppy behaviour: You cannot afford to slacken even after achieving a measure of success, as your behaviour, attitude and appearance will always be under scrutiny throughout your career lifetime. The choice is yours - how you present yourself, behave and dress can either set you apart from the crowd or paint you as an indifferent and careless slacker. So, concentrate on appearing serious, responsible and influential.

Putting off work: Break the habit of putting off things till the last-minute, especially the difficult or boring tasks. Habitual procrastination will not only make your work shoddy, but unexpected events may crop up at the last minute foiling your eleventh-hour plans for rushing the work. Such poor and inefficient performance will definitely put your career on the slow track. Instead, always take on tasks as they are presented and execute them well.

Limiting to JD: While it is imperative to concentrate on fulfilling your job responsibilities, restricting yourself to the same mundane tasks can also hinder your growth. Stop being satisfied with your job description and be on the lookout for new opportunities to demonstrate your untapped talents and initiative.

Not getting noticed: Working with your nose stuck to the grindstone can also work against you. You have to toot your own horn to shine the light on your contributions and achievements. Show that you are a valuable asset to the organisation but ensure that you go about the self-promotion in a very subtle way.

Shying from teamwork: This is the era of teamwork. If you prefer to work alone or are only concerned with yourself, you will only end up falling by the wayside. So, try to be an effective team player, but simultaneously ensure that your individual efforts and abilities do not get completely obscured in the team success.

Feeling ‘entitled’ to success: Expecting instant gratification with immediate promotions and growth can actually dampen your future career prospects. So, remember that harbouring a sense of entitlement that you ‘deserve’ to get what you want ‘right now” is self-defeating. Achieving career growth calls for sustained hard work and you have to pay your dues before you can move up anywhere.

Settling with skills set: Nobody can afford to sit on their laurels as there is a constant risk of being replaced. You have no choice but to keep your skills current and update them regularly.

Also, recognise and improve your shortcomings with requisite training. Using new ideas and approaches will also help enhance your effectiveness.

Failing to network: The importance of building and maintaining a network of contacts cannot be overemphasised.

You can never achieve success if no one inside or outside the organisation knows you. So, make it a point to hobnob with the higher-ups, build a healthy rapport and also keep in constant touch with your contacts. You never know when the association will come in handy.

Apart from these, even absenteeism, lack of punctuality, lying or failing to give credit where it is due can do real damage to your career success. This list of possible career blunders is almost unending. But even concentrating on these most important ones will enable you to keep your career on track!

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