Whether you’re a first-time job seeker or a seasoned professional, it’s not always easy landing the next step in your career. While the market can be difficult and the job search process can be frustrating, it’s worth taking a look to see if you’re getting in your own way. Many people subconsciously self-sabotage their own career efforts without realizing it.

Whether because of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, a fear of uncertainty, or many more inherent reasons, sometimes, we can’t help but sabotage our own efforts. Learn how to recognize the signs you’re hampering yourself and learn how to fight back!

“Firstly, cut yo’self some slack! Like I said, you don’t need to have it all worked out. BUT, know this, until you do clarify what your aim is, it will be very difficult for you to move forward.” –Pop Your Career

Ignoring your first impression

Even if you’re putting a lot of research and effort into your job search, you may still stumble at the end by forgetting the little things. It can be easy to try to “wing it” when you get to the interview stage but don’t forget to keep putting effort into your first impression.

You may think your skills and experience can carry you through an interview, but this is hubris. You are more than a set of skills, and an interview is just as much about being a good cultural fit as it is about having the skills for the job. Don’t sabotage yourself by forgetting this and failing to make a good first impression.

“Within moments of meeting, the other person immediately forms a judgment of you. You want to make them feel comfortable and like you.” –Jack Kelly, Forbes

Not setting the right boundaries

It’s important to learn how to say “no” to prevent burnout, prevent yourself from being taken advantage of, and have the energy to focus on the right priorities. Some people have trouble setting boundaries, and it’s a lifelong lesson learning how to set them. But the inverse is also true. Setting too strong of boundaries and saying no too often can be self-sabotage.

Fast Company’s Roxanne Calder says that boundaries aren’t static and must be reevaluated. If you’re saying no too frequently, you’re closing yourself off from potential opportunities, chances for growth, or team connections. Some self-saboteurs might get so used to saying “no” that they forget how to say “yes.”

Not giving yourself enough credit

Some people are more naturally confident than others, but anyone can fall victim to self-doubt or imposter syndrome. All of us may be fighting in silent battles that make it difficult to feel like we’ve earned anything. These feelings can sabotage us by discrediting our accomplishments.

Remote Staff’s John Carlo Pagsolingan says that while humility is admirable, discrediting yourself will make you underestimate yourself, avoid praise, and cause you to miss out on future opportunities. To avoid this, try keeping a log of your accomplishments and remind yourself how you accomplished them. Not only will this provide you with better clarity into your accomplishments but you’ll have tangible wins you can discuss in your next interview or promotion opportunity.

Not going for what you deserve

Some may recognize that the job they are in isn’t the right fit for them but seem content to keep toiling away. This is a form of self-sabotage, being too afraid to rock the boat, take a risk, and find something they deserve. There’s seemingly always a good reason not to take the risk. But until you do, you’ll be sacrificing your future happiness.

Roxanne Calder highlights the amount of questions you can ask yourself that will talk you out of new opportunities. Someone else needs you, the market isn’t great, the devil you know is better than the one you don’t, etc. These doubting questions make it hard to take the next leap. Meanwhile, Forbes’ Jack Kelly mentions salary negotiations as another area where people will self-sabotage. Either by not doing research or being afraid to ask for what they deserve, many people will sell themselves short and accept lesser offers when taking a new role.

Wrap up

By self-scouting and being honest with yourself and your career goals, you might realize you’ve been self-sabotaging your efforts to get the career you seek. These behaviors are hard to correct without being aware of them. But once you are aware, you can take active steps toward the life you desire.

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