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What’s The Worst Career Advice You’ve Ever Received?

By Gerald Walsh ©

My blog a couple of weeks ago “What’s The Best Career Advice You’ve Ever Received” generated a large response with many people sharing smart advice they had received throughout their career.

This week I thought I’d flip it around and ask, “What’s The Worst Career Advice You’ve Ever Received?”

Send me a note and let me know about the bad advice you have received—even if it was well intentioned.

Here are a few I’ve heard over the years:

Find something you’re passionate about.

This is almost impossible when you are young and at the start of your career. Your best strategy is to try a lot of things.

If you’re like most people, you will discover that you like many things. You will also learn that as you master your trade and become more successful at it, the more passionate you will become.

Talk to a recruiter. They will find you a job.

While you should establish a professional working relationship with one or more recruiters, you must remember their primary obligation is to their client—the employer.

Don’t be misled into thinking that a recruiter is working for you. You will only be recommended to one of their clients if the recruiter believes you have the necessary qualifications their client is seeking.

Your resume should be one page.

Most people will need more than a page to properly explain their background. A two-page resume is perfectly acceptable, although no one will object if it even goes on to a third page.

Make sure you use the right buzzwords.

Most employers prefer clarity. Say what you mean by using precise words and short sentences on your resume and in interviews. Avoid annoying buzzwords like synergize, bandwidth, traction, disruptor, and others.

Never turn down a job interview—you can always think of it as practice.

If you are certain you would not take the job if it was offered, you should decline the interview. Taking interviews just for the practice is unethical and it will become obvious to the interviewer. Practice is important but do it on your own time.

Apply to as many jobs as possible.

The “shotgun” approach is a waste of your time (and others’). The best strategy is to be selective and only apply for jobs where you are a strong fit and can demonstrate how you qualify for the job.

Start going to networking events.

Networking is important for sure but the best way to spread the word about your experience is not by attending events, but by meeting with your  personal connections including family, friends, neighbours, former employers, co-workers, and business contacts.

Send me the bad career advice you’ve received by replying to this email.


Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh