Good vs. Bad Career Advice

Nowadays, you can find career advice just about anywhere – online, offline, from friends, colleagues, your parents, mentors, bosses, career coaches, and anyone with a public blog :-).  So how do you know what career advice is good and appropriate for you?

My answer is only you would know what is good career advice for you.  Career advice is just opinions.  If you ask anyone for career advice, they will attempt to provide it, but that doesn’t mean they are all created equal.

Here are a few ways to determine whose career advice is good for you

  1. Match in Background: What is the work or life experience / background of the person providing advice?  Do you think they know what you may be going through or have expertise you respect?  Just this check alone will rule out most career advice from parents or relatives and some friends.
  2. Neutral – not biased: A colleague may know a lot about what you are going through but you should consider  whether it’s biased.  They may also have a personal agenda when they are giving it.   This doesn’t rule out advice from all colleague or bosses but just be aware of what is at stake for them if you made any career decisions
  3. Coaching Experience: look at how much experience this person has in helping others with their career.   A person may have an amazing career  himself but that doesn’t mean that person is equally good at coaching others about their careers.   Just like a dancer can be an amazing performer, but can also be a terrible dance teacher.
  4. Vibe: On the non-tangible side, as you listen or read career advice, you can tell whether what they say resonate with you or not.  It’s only natural to listen more carefully to those who “vibe” with you.

At the end of day, career advice can NEVER in itself give you a better career or a dream job or on the other hand cause you to have a bad career.   There is no magic bullet no matter what people say.   It’s just guidance based on experience.  It’s up to you to determine what is bullshit, what is irrelevant, and what is applicable to you at this time.

So be selective in what you listen to.  If you start listening to everyone, it will just give you a headache.  Good luck out there!

– Lei

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