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3 Pieces Of Career Advice Your Parents Gave You (That Are Total Crap!)

Parents, we appreciate you. We know you want your kids to succeed and reach great heights. But the truth is, your career advice may actually be hurting them.


The job search methods you were once trained on are no longer relevant. The safeguards you've placed for your children are counterproductive. Basically, the professional world you were once in is over. Non-existent.

Now, Indeed job searches are here. Job hunting has morphed into this paper-hating, competition-filled, digital black hole where Skype interviews are the new norm. Yes, say goodbye to the 90's and to mailing resumes.

Kids, no matter which age range you fall into, chances are you've received boundless pieces of wisdom from your parents on how to conduct the best job search and achieve career success. We're here to tell you that most of it is crap. Utter crap. The kind of advice that will leave you jobless for a very long time.

Here are three common pieces of bad career advice your parents have probably given you, and what you should do instead.

1. "Find A Job, Any Job!"

We know that jobs provide you income, but in today's world, you shouldn't just be getting a job just "to have a job," unless your personal or professional circumstances are forcing you to pick up something temporary.

A job is part of a bigger picture—your career. The amount of jobs, kinds of jobs, and length of time you stay at any job says something about you.

If you're job hopping too much, for example, it could come off to an employer as you being unreliable.

If you are choosing all sorts of jobs in all kinds of fields, you can come off as being unfocused.

The key here is to hone in on what you love to do. What career would you truly be happy in long term? When we say long term, we mean 3+ years. Once you get clear on this part, start searching for jobs that help you build and grow in your chosen career path.

Example: If you want to be an art director, research what entry level jobs can help you build your skill set to get you to that position one day. Get the facts. Search for the exact job title that fits your dream job and write down what its requirements are.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Does this position require school, i.e. a certain degree or certificate?
  • Does the hiring manager require a particular amount of experience?
  • What will be my day-to-day responsibilities?
  • What soft and hard skills will I need to be successful in that role?

It's all about doing your homework.

Randomly choosing jobs to fill in a gap or get a quick income is not the way to do it. You'll end up making less money in the long-run, and wasting time in odd experiences that don't fit who you are and where you want to be professionally.

2. "Work As Many Hours As You Can!"

Stressed out man working at a job he took out of desperation

Your parents may have advised you to work as many hours as you can and do overtime in order to get promoted faster. This is an issue of quantity versus quality.

Many boomers and "older" generations believe that the person who works the most hours, on a strict 9-5 schedule, will be the winner in the eyes of their boss. It's not their fault. They were taught that the person who stays in one job until retirement, works hard, and is always the "Yes man" or boss pleaser, will take home the medal.

This is an outdated philosophy. Instead, now, more and more employers are focusing on work-life balance, offering perks like flexible schedules and work-from-home opportunities.

Overworking isn't something to be proud of. Neither is participating in or creating an overworking workplace culture.

Aim to be productive and efficient at work. Nurture yourself and your personal life. Remember, more hours doesn't equal more productivity, and a promotion doesn't always guarantee happiness. Also, an overworking workplace culture can lead to serious personal and health risks.

3. "Go To Grad School!"

Woman goes to grad school to try to improve her chances of finding a job

If your parents have suggested you go to grad school, their also suggesting you take out even more loans, when you may not have to.

School is not always the answer. Neither are loans. Find out what job you want and whether or not it even requires school. Can you fulfill that requirement with experience instead?

Or, if it does require a certain degree, can you arrange a financial solution that doesn't involve loans? Can you work for an employer that offers tuition reimbursement, for example? Or, can you look into grants, family assistance, or scholarships?Heck, is there a similar job out there that could get you to the same place without the degree?

Loans can stay with you for 10+ years. They also don't guarantee a job or more income. Do your due diligence and research. Don't send out any applications until you do.

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Now that you know the bad career advice your parents gave you, here are some basic career tips to follow:

  1. Network the right way!
  2. Learn how to write a disruptive cover letter.
  3. Tweak your resume to get the attention of the hiring manager.


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