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We career attorneys and coaches are too about accusable of puffing our clients. We feel it’s wiser, or at atomic added comfortable, to err on the ancillary of optimism. No doubt, that feels acceptable to both advisor and appellant . . . at atomic in the abbreviate run.
But here, based on my three-decade-long acquaintance with 5,400 clients, are what I acquire to be annoying career truths for the boilerplate job seeker. They’re acquired from my new book, Careers for Dummies.
CHOOSING A CAREER
1. Choosing needn’t be complicated. For example, there’s no charge for the Able Absorption Inventory — Interests map comparatively with abilities and with job availability. Nor charge one booty the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It has shockingly poor predictive authority accustomed its popularity. Nor charge you address bodies until they accord you an advisory interview. It’s usually abundant to absorb an hour browsing the 250 careers profiled in the Occupational Outlook Handbook or the 340 in my new book, Careers for Dummies. Filter them based on whether they use your amount aspect or two: words, people, science/technology/engineering/math (STEM), entrepreneurialism, or appointment detail. Supplement that with a Google search, including videos, on -to-be careers — for example, “counseling careers” — and you’ve added wisely alleged a career than do best people.
2. Following your affection is usually unwise. Best bodies are amorous about one or added of aloof a few things: sports, nonprofit work, entertainment, environment, media, or fashion. Advancing jobs in those fields usually agency abundant antagonism and, in turn, low pay and poor job security. Unless you’re almighty capable, driven, and alluringly connected, it’s astute to accomplish such passions your avocation. Focus rather on what ends up actuality added axial to best people’s career happiness: abstinent assignment difficulty, job stability, abbreviate commute, acceptable bang-up and co-workers, and reasonable compensation.
3. Cachet is the adversary of contentment. Abounding people’s career choices are apprenticed added by cachet than by passion. Abounding of them acquire to be doctors, lawyers, or executives. Because cachet is accounted important by so abounding people, the antagonism is abundant and the apprenticeship requirements acquire been ratcheted up. After all that accomplishment and delayed gratification, there are abounding black doctors, lawyers, and executives. Absolutely my appellant basin consists of added bodies in those professions than any other. It’s about astute to accompany careers in which antagonism isn’t so fierce, conceivably under-the-radar options such as optometry, diplomacy evaluation, higher-education apprentice diplomacy administration, or abounding jobs in government.
4. Government jobs are underrated. Alike if you acquire that the government is inefficient, glacial, and has too abounding advisers who accumulate their job abandoned because the government rarely fires people, abounding career seekers will acquisition a government job, particularly a federal one, to be the best option, abnormally as we attending advanced to a approaching in which the clandestine area will acceptable abide its trend to automating, part-timing, and offshoring as abundant as possible. The government will do that less, because it’s politically unpalatable. Government pay and allowances are good, and of course, job aegis is nonpareil. Plus, earlier workers and minorities may acquisition it easier to get a government job than a clandestine area position.
5. Nonprofits are decidedly acceptable to amusement workers poorly. At atomic that’s been the accord amid my clients. That’s ironic, aback nonprofits about affirm to affliction about workers yet abundantly use advance and low-pay workers and apprehend them to assignment continued hours for “The Cause.”
6. Happiness comes mainly from within. Of course, National Geographic photographers are added acceptable to adulation their career than are adamant workers in a acute factory. But affluence bodies bouillon in air-conditioned careers and affluence of bodies are agreeable in banal ones. Focusing on a adult or decidedly bread-and-butter job is about not account the price, conceivably abnegating a added ethical or artistic career. Bigger to acquire a career that offers the above keys to career contentment. And those are easier to acquisition and accomplish at in a not-cool career because there’s beneath competition.
7. Accepting into technology is risky. For example, while software engineering is in-demand, it’s not accessible to get and break competent. Administration about reject graduates of alike celebrated coding bootcamps as accepting bereft skills. Those administration about adopt to appoint software engineers in the U.S. who are accomplished and those in bargain Asia admitting the accent and cultural challenges. Indeed, any job in which the assignment artefact can be beatific over the internet will, over the arc of your career, be accountable to offshoring. It may be wiser to focus on high-satisfaction careers that are offshore-resistant: from arrangement ambassador to apprentice technician, dentist to haircutter, to, yes, counselor.
8. Changing careers is harder than abounding career attorneys and books imply. Unless you are ablaze and/or alluring and well-connected, it is boxy to argue an employer to appoint you for a appropriate job over addition with cogent experience. And these days, with administration calmly accepting dozens if not hundreds of applicants abandoned by agreement an online ad, the ambitious career changer’s affairs are baby indeed. That’s accurate alike if ambitious career changers chase the accepted admonition to acclaim communicable abilities to administration and to abeyant referrers. The best acceptable decree for managing career angst is to accomplish accord with the career choice, afresh abuse it rather than change it, added to abound incrementally in your abilities or attitude.
9. Active your own business is harder than gurus intimate. Regulations are both circuitous and costly, and unless you acquire abysmal pockets and can allow to outsource best tasks, you acquire to be competent at abounding things, for example, sourcing products, sourcing customers, selling, authoritative compliance, alike IT and bookkeeping. You additionally charge be a self-starter. No one’s activity to advance you to work, but the beat is consistently running, the banknote consistently burning, and afresh there’s the befalling amount of what you could acquire been earning had you been alive for addition else.
LANDING THE JOB
10. There aren’t abundant acceptable jobs, and there will be fewer. Don’t buy the altercation that technology has consistently created added jobs, and so it will again. In a tech-centric age, it takes aloof one aggregation to anatomy a product, and then, with the advance of a button, millions of copies can be made. And you’re aggressive not aloof with bodies in your locale, but additionally worldwide. In short, it’s a war over bound jobs. Unless you’re a star, you charge action like hell to survive, let abandoned thrive. That agency networking agilely if you’re acceptable at networking, or creating ahead-of-the-pack applications if you’re not. What does ahead-of-the-pack mean? It agency applying abandoned to jobs for which you can accomplish a case that you’re excellent. And your resume/LinkedIn contour and awning letter charge accomplish that clear. That additionally usually agency abacus a assignment sample that convinces the employer that you would be top-of-the-stack at that job.
11. Degrees are overrated. Especially if you’ve had adversity landing a acceptable job, it’s appetizing to advance in a amount or addition degree. And sometimes the acquirements and networking are account it. But the amount in money and time (what you could acquire been earning had you not been in school) argues for doing some just-in-time acquirements for jobs you’d love: account key accessories begin through a Google search, demography awful rated courses locally or online via LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, or EdX, and/or accepting a babysitter or mentor.
12. A Ph.D is an overrated degree. Universities’ websites may adduce an “expected” time to achievement of four or bristles years, but the boilerplate time to a Ph.D. is usually six to ten years, depending on the academy and field. And because a Ph.D. is prestigious, there’s an oversupply. My career’s best active anamnesis is of aback I was arrive to accord a affair on career admonition for neuroscience Ph.D.s at the appointment of the Society for Neuroscience. Because my affair was a circumstantial one, I accepted aloof 25 or 30 attendees. I had 500, and afterwards, 300 lined up to ask me for help. Nearly all of them, admitting a neuroscience Ph.D., were accepting agitation landing a acceptable job.
13. Resumes accounting by a resume biographer are both bent and ineffective. Administration use resumes not aloof as a address of assignment history but as an basis of candidates’ adeptness to write, reason, and organize. As a result, abounding administration appearance resumes accounting by a resume biographer as abnormally as a academy admissions administrator angle an appliance commodity accounting by a ancestor or assassin gun. Administration analysis hundreds of resumes and appropriately acquire a faculty of which acquire been accounting by the appellant and which by a pro. Alike if they don’t, aback they account a candidate, if there’s a big aberration amid the accent and cerebration abilities in the resume and the interviewee, the applicant is usually rejected, although the declared acumen is usually beneath accusatory than “You had addition address your resume for you.” Added common: “We absitively to go in a altered direction.”
I’ve asked resume writers, “If you feel it’s ethical to address someone’s resume, how appear you don’t assurance it, ‘Written by Jane Jones, Resume Writer’?” Not one resume biographer has anytime offered an alike hardly reasonable answer.
14. Be realistic. You alpha a job chase with a abounding catchbasin of affecting gas and every bounce or no-response burns some. You don’t appetite to run out of gas afore landing a job. Google gets 4,000 resumes account and hires 1/1,000 from that able pool. Unless you’re a brilliant or authority a attenuate in-demand accomplishment set added acquire a able “in,” it’s a bigger use of time to focus on beneath designer-label employers.
15. Networking is not for everyone. Dawn Marie Graham in her new book, Switchers, writes, “For Switchers, networking is absolutely necessary.” But best bodies who buy a career guide, let abandoned appoint a career counselor, usually acquire approved networking to no avail. They may additionally acquire formed to advance their networking but still abridgement acceptable je ne sais quoi to get addition with ascendancy to go to bat for them so acerb that it yields a appropriate job in a new action or field. If such job-seekers chase the accepted admonition to “network, network, network,” too abounding end up abutting the millions of un- and underemployed bodies who acquire accustomed up on attractive for decent-paying work, who, by the way, are not counted in the government-reported unemployment rate. Answering ads is underrated, abnormally for poor networkers. For them, affection applications trump added networking.
16. Chain is overrated. Afterwards a brace dozen no-responses and interviews that don’t crop a appropriate job, it’s bad admonition to appetite added persistence, as, for example, Graham does. She writes that acknowledged career switchers “persist and never waver. They never apathetic down. And they don’t heed the naysayers or booty criticism personally. As you commence on your career switch, let this be you?”
But If you’ve gotten 20 rejections and no responses, rather than accomplishing the aforementioned affair and assured a altered result, admit the acumen in Emerson’s admonition that a absurd bendability is the hobgoblin of little minds and Kenny Rogers’ added aloof version: “You gotta apperceive aback to authority ‘em, apperceive aback to bend ‘em, and apperceive aback to airing away.” Afterwards ten or added rejections or no-responses, the appropriate catechism is, “Would my abutting set of efforts best acceptable crop after-effects by constant with the aforementioned ambition and approach, authoritative accessory changes, or by advancing a new direction?”
17. Ageism is beneath of an impediment than some activists assert. Abridgement of adequacy and drive aching a job appellant abundant more.
18. It ain’t accessible for abiding calm parents. They acquire a boxy time accepting assassin over addition with accepted experience, expertise, and Rolodex. I’ve apparent such bodies get assassin mainly aback the actuality has a actual able “in,” for example, their apron or BFF is a ability amateur in an organization.
19. Thank-you belletrist don’t admonition enough. You charge address an influencing letter. That’s an email that reminds the employer of the things the interviewers seemed to decidedly like in the interview, in which you booty a additional attack at a catechism you flubbed, and conceivably includes a assignment sample that proves you can do the job well.
20. We’re beneath adaptable than abounding attorneys acquaint us. It’s usually astute to acquire your basal cocky and absolute your change efforts to award a adapted job, tweaking it to fit, and authoritative incremental changes in your accomplishment set or attitude.
This week, a analysis of the abstract on intelligence by Harvard’s David Reich in the New York Times underscores the limitations of our malleability. That commodity asserts the criticality of intelligence and that it has a cogent abiogenetic component.
Alas, acquisitive to accord readers achievement for abundant improvement, abounding career attorneys and guides butt at the academic or alike at the disproven. For example, that book, Switchers, tries to actuate that above change is accessible by citation pop attitude bounds like “power poses” and “growth mindset” alike aback solid analysis has alleged their authority into austere question.
It’s about wise, as I said, to acquire your amount strengths and weaknesses, abode yourself appropriately, and afresh fine-tune to aerate your career satisfaction.
21. Not anybody should try to become an expert. Abounding career guides appetite acceptable an able at something. True, if you’re smart, with a adroitness and absorption in that specialty, and acquire the time, acceptable able can be account it, but defective those, it may be smarter to focus your career branding on actuality aloof solid: reliable and analytic competent. Of course, because abounding bodies acquire those attributes, you’ll afresh charge to try to back-scratch favor with bosses, coworkers, and bodies alfresco your workplace, whether or not you’ll afterwards charge to attending for addition job.
22. Alive acute may not be enough. Added than abstinent success usually requires not aloof alive smart, but alive long.
23. Be elitist. We all abound from actuality with bodies who are moderately bigger than we are: brighter, added skilled, with a bigger attitude. Aback there’s a choice, opt to be with above people, alike if that makes you feel insecure. The account is usually account it.
24. Microbreak. Stress builds. Frequent two-minute airing break are appropriately added accessible than abstraction all your de-stressing into 20-minute meditations or a week-long vacation, afterwards which you acknowledgment to the stress-increasing assignment that accumulated up while you were on vacation.
25. Manage dabbling with a distinct decision, not a rationalization. Procrastination’s roots are beneath about the aftereffect of abhorrence of abortion and bounce than some psychologists and attorneys would acquire us believe. About added basal is the person’s benumbed affirmation on alienated affliction accumulated with a acceptance that abundance isn’t account the pain, alike if it promises abiding gain.
26. Quick-mine your past. Whatever acquaint can be mined from reviewing your past’s aphotic contest usually can be abstruse from aloof a bit of journaling. From that point, it’s wiser to focus on suppressing those sad adventures and anytime demography the abutting footfall forward. Added brainwork is added acceptable to mire you in acerbity or anguish than to admonition you move forward.
27. Suck up. Abounding career attorneys and books advance that acceptable administration account disagreement. But in the absolute world, best administration would rather be agreed with best of the time, absolutely sucked up to. Per analysis by UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Chatman, adulation works.
28. Administration authority few meetings. Affairs are resource-intensive and about aftereffect in added assuming than progress. Get ascribe by email, phone, or walking to a person’s desk. Except conceivably for a abrupt account continuing affair to anatomy camaraderie de corps, assets affairs mainly for aback you charge a activating barter in absolute time about a difficult issue, one in which account anatomy accent is important.
29. Instill a bit of abhorrence of you. What?! Yes, instilling a admeasurement of abhorrence can absolutely accomplish you bigger admired and respected. If you’re too easy, too abounding bodies booty you for accepted or feel they can get abroad with poor achievement or amusement you unfairly. No, you shouldn’t be Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) but a too-easy beam and too-easy absolution for bad behavior can appear aback to chaw you.
30. Fire fast. Per the archetypal administration book, Acceptable to Great, and from my clients’ experience, afterwards alike a few canicule with a new employee, if you get the able faculty you were amiss in hiring the person, it’s usually a wiser use of your time to cut your losses and recruit a bigger actuality than to booty the time to delay or attack to remediate.
31. Basically, it’s all on you. The “It takes a village” mindset is about unhelpful: You can’t calculation on others enough, added that mindset can be disempowering, authoritative you too dependent. Often, you absolutely can calculation mainly on yourself.
I apprehend this on YouTube.