We all love advice; from family, friends, colleagues and even online (like right now). I’m a big believer in seeking wisdom, especially from those who have gone before me. However, when it comes to career advice, some of the classic lines we hear are not always so black and white.
1. Do it because it will look good on your resume
Getting a foot in the door of your desired industry is always a plus, but what you really should be focusing on is looking for the job and company that will develop your skills and help you grow.
2. Dress to impress
Don’t get me wrong, I whole-heartedly believe you need to dress smart, professional and appropriate to your industry. But you also need to be yourself. You need to put your best foot forward, not try to present yourself as someone you are not or dress over the top in order to get noticed.
3. It’s not about money – do what you’re passionate about
As the ‘do what you’re passionate about’ debate continues, one thing that’s undeniable is that living costs money. Sure, chase your dreams, seek out opportunities you’re passionate about; but don’t throw caution completely to the wind, quit, and end up so burnt out that you hate what you once loved and have a debt larger than that lotto truck could fill. Be smart. You need to earn a living. Find a way to do both until the thing you love can make you enough money on its own.
4. Job searching is a numbers game
My mother always told me to put myself out there and get my resume in as many people’s face as I could. I have since realised that this advice is not strictly true.
You are far better off taking the energy needed to apply for every job you find and investing it into researching a company, its culture and then tailoring your application to highlight the skills you have with the ones they need. If you happen to get a call back, you want to remember exactly which company it was and why you’re right for the job. Not “sorry I’ve applied for a lot of jobs recently, can you explain the role again”.
5. Leave if you’re not passionate
Finding a job you are passionate about is the goal for all of us. However sometimes you do need to start at the bottom (and believe me, entry level positions can be filled with some pretty mind numbing tasks no one wants to do) and develop your skills until you are ready to take on the more exciting stuff.
It’s what you do when times get tough or things aren’t ‘fun’ that builds your character and work ethic, so don’t always let passion be your guide for what you do – passion can be developed.
6. Make yourself indispensable
We all love to feel like no-one could do as good a job as we can, or like our position in the company is so important we could never be replaced; but this is actually an injustice to yourself and your company. Often this advice only leads to you having so much work that you can’t offload at busy times, or worse, you are bombarded all day with requests only you can fulfill.
Make sure you create manuals, train others and share your knowledge with the team. It makes you a great team player – a quality that is desired much more than being indispensable.
7. Stay at least a year
While there is value to loyalty and commitment, this advice is not wise for anyone who is truly unhappy, or a part of an unfair workplace. Sticking it out in these circumstances can not only be bad for your career and bad for the business, but it can be dangerous to your health.
8. You need a degree
With success stories like Richard Branson & Bill Gates (who did not have a degree), the argument against needing a degree has some pretty famous poster boys.
Study is fantastic; degrees are needed, but sometimes not for YOU.
People complete degrees they hate, or never use, when their time and money could have been better spent working hard to build their experience within the workplace. I’m not against degrees at all, but your on-the-job experience is sometimes more desirable than a piece of paper.
Get qualified, enroll in mature age education and constantly seek to improve your skills, but don’t let your “lack of a degree” disqualify you from how much you can truly learn on the job.
9. You don’t get paid enough for that
This is simply a poor attitude and displays a lack of work ethic. It’s everyone’s job to ensure the success of the company and its workplace culture. Your small or mundane task is no exception. If you can complete the small task with integrity, you are showing that you can complete the larger ones with the same attitude.
With more time spent in our workplace than often even our bed, it’s important to enjoy your career. We live and we learn, but when anyone gives you career advice (good and bad) make sure you assess it and apply it to your current situation. Don’t blindly trust everything you hear.