We Asked 16 Career Coaches "What's The Worst Careers Advice you've Heard?"
We’ve all been on the receiving end of careers advice often from family, loved ones or our peers. Some of it good but a lot of it can be bad or outdated.
In order to see how “bad” bad was we asked 16 career coaches to share the worst advice they’ve heard and here’s what they had to say:
The worst career advice I ever received was to add keywords in a white font on your resume. What the career coach said was that if you add hundreds of keywords in white, you'll come up in more searches. What he failed to realize is that applicant tracking systems and career websites only see in black. They don't read colours, so if you put white words on your resume, they will appear in black much to the recruiters chagrin. If the keywords are that important to have in your resume, list them in black and find ways to tactfully repeat them on your resume.
I also hear that some coaches are advising people to put a limited amount of information on their LinkedIn profiles so that recruiters have a reason to call them to find out more. The problem is…if they can't find you because you don't have enough keywords on your profile, they won't be able to reach out to you for more information.
The worst advice I have ever received was from myself. When I was young I didn't think I needed to apply myself at my job. I told myself it was ok to coast because I wasn't at my dream job. My happiness and passion for each day suffered. If I could talk to my 22 year old self I would say put 100% into everything that you do. Take breaks to recharge, but always work hard and challenge yourself to grow professionally and personally.
The worst career advice I've heard is "do what you love."
We love having sex and we don't dare get paid for it. We love eating chocolate cake and laying on the sofa all day, but we never expect to get paid for that. So instead, do what you're good at that people place the most value on. Do all the other stuff for no pay, during your free time.
The worst career advice someone ever gave me was “When you attend a networking event make sure you get as many business cards as possible, and then connect with everyone on LinkedIn.”
When you attend a networking event you need to focus on meeting a handful of people and figure out ways you can offer them value. The quality of the relationships you have will determine your career success. Not how many business cards you have collected over the years.
Accepting a job offer immediately is probably one of the worst things you can do during your job search. Many job seekers, especially recent graduates, are afraid to negotiate job offers early on in their careers. However, it's important to show employers your value and why you deserve higher compensation or more benefits. With that said, it's also important not to accept a job out of desperation for income. If possible, try to find the best job that fits your career goals and personal needs. You'll be much happier if you find a job you enjoy, even if it means taking a pay cut at the end of the day.
I can’t say what the worst advice I’ve heard is however I will answer what advice would you give anyone wanting to pursue their dreams?
Don’t be afraid to ask. People can’t help you if they don’t know what you need. The only way you will reach your career goals and success you want is to go out there and start talking to people. You can’t do it behind a computer. It’s hard, especially if you are an introvert like me, but doors will start opening and you will gain a lot more confidence by talking to people in career fields that you want to go into someday.
Some of the bad advice I’ve personally received years ago was that I should look for a job by submitting a resume through the company’s website. While you absolutely CAN get hired that way, if you only rely on this method when looking for a job, you could be looking for a very long time as you’re competing against hundreds of others. It is important to have your list of target companies, build relationships with recruiters and know how to access decision makers in your target companies. In most industries, you also need to know how to use LinkedIn effectively as a job search and career management tool.
Another piece of advice was to wait for a salary raise without being proactive. It is a bad advice as professionals should make sure they are being paid fairly. Compensation tends to be tied to results; if you're producing good results for your firm and are being paid below the market rate, you should ask for a raise.
Before doing so, you should familiarize yourself with your employer's pay practices and research the market pay rates for your position. When you meet with your manager to address your concerns, you should be able to explain and list specific examples of why you deserve a raise.
The worst career advice given today is still the old resume advice, "...just cut and paste the employers job description into your current position." Not only does this advice sabotage your efforts in getting that job, but also it says you are too lazy to strongly state how your experience meets or exceeds what they want from a candidate.
The worst career advice I hear is that when they are in a job search, they should apply to as many opportunities as they can. As a result, many people apply to dozens, and often hundreds of job postings, and get no response. They get understandably discouraged and pessimistic about the job market and their prospects. In contrast, pursuing a limited number of companies that are best suited to your background, networking and connecting with multiple people in those organization whether there's an appropriate position posted or not, and being professionally pleasantly persistent will produce better results. Quantity is NOT a good substitute for a targeted, persistent pursuit of specific roles.
Just do good work and it will speak for itself. The work doesn't speak for itself, you have to speak for the work. In a 24/7 world, most people are too busy to notice what you're doing. You're actually doing them a favour by putting the results of your team and yourself in context and letting them know how it helps them. Empathy is the key to doing this successfully.
I think the worst advice is to always make yourself available for a hiring manager’s call. I know of one job seeker who was asleep when the interviewer made an unscheduled call about noon. The job seeker, of course, sounded sleepy and groggy when he answered the phone. The hiring manager sarcastically said, “Gee….did I wake you up? At NOON?” Needless to say, the conversation didn’t go well, and the job seeker lost a chance to make a good first impression. So, if you’re in the shower, driving or asleep, don’t answer the phone. Call back as soon as you can when you’re in a quiet place and can talk undisturbed so you make a good first impression.
The worst career advice I have ever heard comes from a recruiter I met a few years back at Google. During a panel during SXW she instructed candidates to not contact recruiters but to apply online. I immediately jumped up and fired back at her.
A human connection whether it be a reference, talking with a recruiter or simply following a recruiter on Twitter can be the difference maker in getting a job. Don't simply rely on technology and the standard process to land you a job at a company you love. Gain the work experience and credential for the job you are working towards. Develop a strategy, build a brand and make meaningful connections long before your are in need of a new job. Your credibility and contacts can carry you through to your next job opportunity.
The worst advice is to hold out for your passion. The smartest decision for most people is to find a job they like well enough that meets their lifestyle needs. Passion often doesn't pay, and even when it does turning it into a full time job has a good chance of killing it. Plus, pinning your life satisfaction on something elusive is a recipe for unhappiness.
The worst career advice might be to do things to have job security. There is now no such thing as job security, and doing the things that we were told to do (get a degree, learn a foreign language, have a strong work ethic), while good, do not necessarily increase the likelihood that you will be more secure in your job/career. My advice is to shift your thinking to having a more proactive and strategic view of personal career management. This includes networking and relationships, not in a superficial sense, but real relationship building. It includes having an appropriate and easy-to-communicate personal brand. Stay on top of your game with furthering education with sites like Plural sight, where you can learn very specific skills and tasks from the best of breed instructors. Instead of carving out years and years to go back to school, as well as thousands of dollars, you can get a powerful education of current needs in the market for around $30 a month. That's just one example of how to stay relevant in a world where skills, technology and needs are changing very fast.
Bottom line? If you trust your career security to what we were advised in the 1900's, you may have more lapses, and longer lapses in unemployment, than what you want.
Resumes MUST be one page in length. This is not true. Resumes can be 1-3 pages in length. It depends on the career level of the candidate and how much relevant information they have to share.
All jobs are on job boards. This is false. In fact, a job seeker should only spend 20% of their job search time on a job board. Most positions are filled through networking and word-of-mouth referral. Also, accessing the hidden job market proves to be much more effective at securing a position than using a job board. I always recommend job seekers have a diversified job search – using several different methods to find employment.
The worst career advice I have ever heard are people telling others to ignore how they feel about their jobs and just do them. We know that people who hate their jobs have higher risks of getting heart disease, stress, depression and cancer, so hating your job can ultimately kill you. We also know that being unhappy at work affects your private life - if you're miserable all day at work it's really hard to go home and be happy and find the energy to be a good mom/dad/friend/spouse/etc.
Also, we know that people who are happy at work are, on average, more successful than those who hate their jobs, simply because happy people do a better job than their miserable co-workers. So not only will finding a job you love make you happier at work and outside of work it will also typically lead to more career success.