Career Advice I'd Give My Younger Self
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Given the chance, who wouldn’t turn back the clock to give themselves some career advice? Whether it’s putting more focus on building a solid network or holding out for more money, we all have things we wish we’d done differently.

We can’t go back in time. But we can learn from other people’s mistakes—like these six from mid-career pros, who share what they wish they’d known earlier, and how it might have changed their professional trajectories.

Dana“Don’t slack on pre-interview research.”
Dana Ryan, 33, PR manager in Langhorne, Penn.

“I’m not really the coulda-woulda-shoulda type, but I cringe when I think back to one glaring career mistake. When I was interviewing for my first job, I was a little overconfident. The position was with a major film studio, and I had great internships at big-name networks on my resume. I figured that’d be enough to impress the interviewer.

Wrong! I got a wake-up call when one of the first things she asked was my favorite movie they’d produced, and I blanked. The only thing I’d researched was the company’s address. Doing some light digging on their website would have helped me answer that question with ease. Instead, I completely embarrassed myself.

Ever since, I always over-prepare for interviews.”

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Chaz Pitts-Kyser“Negotiate!”
Chaz Pitts-Kyser, 38, career management expert in Alexandria, Va.

“After receiving my first job offer, I was ecstatic. (They picked me!) I blindly accepted, failing to compare the salary to what similar professionals in my field were making in order to make a counteroffer.

I later realized what a mistake this was, as prospective employers often base their offers on your current salary. If you start out working for peanuts, you’ll always be playing catchup.

It wasn’t until about seven years later that I finally started earning what I felt I deserved. But had I not lowballed myself early on, I probably would have crossed the threshold much sooner.”

January 23, 2017

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