Career Building Myths

Career Building Myths

This week, we tackle a few common myths that seem to be circulating around the job search world.Some of these beliefs are surprisingly stubborn and most of them don’t hold much truth. If you’remaking career and job search decisions based on any of these off-base ideas, now might be a great timeto adjust your approach. “You’ll never find success if you pursue a degree in (insert subject area).”Armchair career advisors love to tell students that certain degrees are less valuable than others, and thispopular sport (denigrating “worthless” majors) tends to shift focus from year to year. The loudestmembers of the peanut gallery are usually the least informed and they usually offer very narrow lifeexperience to back up their scorn for one vast field of human knowledge or another. Don’t listen. Majorin a subject you find interesting. Learn as much as you can. You’ll gain a foothold in the working worldand have a fulfilling and meaningful life if you work hard and make decisions that come from your heart(not someone else’s). “As you search for work, never say anything negative about yourself. You’re perfect in every way.”Most hiring managers see through a façade of perfection immediately, and many of them consider thisbehavior a pet peeve. When you’re asked to describe how you recover from mistakes, don’t answer byclaiming you’ve never made a mistake. When you’re asked to rate one of your skill sets on a scale of oneto ten, don’t immediately say “ten”. When you’re asked to state your biggest weakness, don’t justannounce that you have no weaknesses. These are trick questions, for sure. But they also allow you toshare your true personality, show off your flexibility and resilience, and explain something meaningfulabout who you really are. “If you make yourself invaluable, you’ll never get promoted.”Go ahead and make yourself invaluable. Complete your tasks to the very best of your ability. When youdecide that you’d like to pursue a promotion, sit down with your boss and explain what you want andwhy you’re ready for this move. If you hear a no, ask why. Go back to your desk, work hard, developyour skills, and ask again six months later. If you’re denied a second time, start searching foropportunities outside of this company. Don’t wait for someone to take you by the hand and tell you thatit’s time to move forward. “If you do exactly what you’re told with a bright smile, you’ll climb the ladder fast.”This is often very true…but only at the lowest rung of the ladder. Getting out of the entry level usuallyinvolves this very move: relentless, cheerful, obedience to every request that comes your way. Later on,you’ll need to be a little more discriminating. You’ll need shift more of your attention toward your owngoals, dreams, plans, and needs, and away from those of everyone around you. For more on how to make steady progress toward your specific career goals—whatever they maybe—explore the job search and career development resources at MyPerfectResume.