Let me guess when it comes to your job search this year, you’ve spent most of your time setting up coffee dates, listening to career podcasts, reading articles upon articles and googling every job search question under the sun. On top of that, you’ve gotten so many, often unwarranted, suggestions from your family and friends on how to navigate your job search, you’re not quite sure whose advice you should take to move your career forward.
You probably tried piecing all the tips together and you felt like you were doing all the right things, but your empty inbox says otherwise.
With the new decade quickly approaching, some advice is worth leaving behind if you want to get ahead and finally have the fulfilling career you know is possible for you.
Here are 8 terrible career tips I recommend you say goodbye to before entering 2020:
“You should just stay there and wait it out.”
If you’re in a toxic work environment, if your boss doesn’t support you, if there’s no room for career growth, if the opportunities for career growth don’t align with what you want to do next, if you feel stagnant at work, you should not just stay there and wait it out. It doesn’t matter how many people think your company is so cool, or how well you’re paid in your role, nothing changes if nothing changes. If you’ve tried all the things to make it work and it’s still not working, you need to implement an exit strategy. Waiting for your boss or other people to make your career more fulfilling puts the responsibility in someone else’s hands, and your career is, and will always be your responsibility.
“Just keep applying.”
Let’s please bury the spray and pray method. Let’s bury it deep, somewhere no one else will find it. Applying to as many positions as possible, as quickly as possible, may have been effective advice at the start of the decade but it’s terrible advice now. And, a gross waste of time. You don’t need to apply to hundreds of jobs to get one job you’ll love. You need to focus on becoming a top candidate and impressing the right people for the right roles for you.
“Don’t negotiate your salary, you may lose the offer.”
This is your permission slip: Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate. Good companies expect you to negotiate. Plus, when you negotiate the right way, you give your company even more reason to feel like they made a good decision to hire you. You show them that if you can negotiate for yourself, you certainly won’t be afraid to speak up and be a leader in your new role. More than anything, when you’re offered the job, you’re the company’s first choice. A good company doesn’t want to lose a good hire just because you asked for more money, so ask. If you lose your offer because you negotiated, which is rare, then it’s probably a red flag that you wouldn’t have gotten many raises, or promotions once in the job, anyway.
“Just focus on getting your foot in the door.”
I always say, “get your foot in the door and your foot will get stuck.” I know you’ve read many rags to riches stories where people started from the bottom only to amass great success, and don’t get me wrong, you must start somewhere to get somewhere. But, with that said, if you have great experience, skills and qualifications, you don’t have to start over to make a career change – even if you’re wanting to change industries. The key is to focus on leveraging the experience you do have so that people see exactly why they need you and your expertise for the roles you want.
“Fake it ‘til you make it!”
As we enter the new decade, technology will continue to change the job market, including how applicants apply, how applicants are found and how applicants are vetted. With that in mind, there’s never been a better opportunity to authentically stand out from the competition. While technology will change the job market, the goal remains the same: companies want real people, with real solutions, real experience and real value. The fake it ‘til you make mentality just won’t cut it anymore. You need to be able to show hiring managers at every step of the process that you have what it takes to succeed in the role.
“There’s no such thing as a dream job.”
Don’t let people who haven’t been able to find their dream job tell you what’s impossible for you. To be clear, a dream job isn’t a perfect job, it’s a fulfilling one. It’s a job that challenges you and that’s worth the stress that will come. Here’s better advice: Get clear on the experience, knowledge and expertise you’d love to utilize in your next role and then find a company that matches your values and goals, and ta-da! You have your dream job.
“You have to be open if you want a new job.”
If you say this to yourself, stop. Yes, you can be open to opportunities. But, too often when we say, “be open,” we mean “settle.” And, you do not have to settle to get a new job. If you do, it probably won’t be a job you’ll enjoy. When people ask you what you want to do next, tell them exactly what you want to do next. Don’t be modest or vague or say, “I’m open.” Because, when you do that you close yourself off from opportunities that may be right for you. Be clear, not open.
“Quit so you can have more time to focus on your job search.”
Don’t do this. I know you’re probably overworked, stressed out, and ready to throw in the towel. But, if you haven’t had any luck in your job search so far, quitting your job probably won’t change that. You’ll just have more free time to be more unproductive in your job hunt, and you’ll still be stressed because you’re now unemployed with less income. You’ll have so much more urgency to find a new job, and you’ll risk seeming desperate in your applications. So, rather than quitting to focus on your job search, you should focus on getting a better strategy to secure a new job.
Going into 2020, it’s time to leave this terrible advice behind and start focusing on the real strategies you need to get the role you desire next in your career.