Bad Career Advice is Given By Good and Bad Career Advisors by Mark Anthony Dyson
Bad career advice is freely offered these days and pretty reckless at times. People will give advice coming from an experience or life experience. While sharing what happened to them took place, the assumption of “it will happen to you” is projected to their listeners. The real question for you to ask is, “Is this advice for me?”
For reasons unknown, some will wonder if the advice applies to them and will fill in the blanks with context themselves. Others are gullible and will use it and project the same direction (maybe with a bit of variation) to their audience.
While a career advisor’s intent sometimes is pure, lousy career advisors advise others for selfish reasons. I hear certified career coaches’ cries saying this is why people should pursue advisors with coaching accreditations. I can make a case contrary to suggest more than a few career coaches are greedy and have misplaced motives for bad advice.
But I digress. Well, slightly.
Good and reliable career advice from reliable sources is vital now. It’s time for people to be discerning through their advice-seeking, even if it’s from coaches who have vetted experience. Yes, follow the career professionals with a history of great advice in YOUR eyes. It will be great to have several people you trust consistently show up unselfishly and thoughtfully. Still, people taking advice must work hard to apply it to their situations and beware of shallow and misguided advice.
Watch out for the wolves.
Unfortunately, some people masquerade as good advice-givers will appear as great people. They know the game: give good advice to get your services. Remember, 95% of them will repeatedly offer the same recycled advice, but more often than not, they are looking for low-hanging fruit. Usually, they are folks who are intelligent but at wit’s end. They will borrow some universally sound advice to bait people and claim they have testimonies on their website as proof of quality services but are quick to pounce on people to onboard with them.
Some signs of wolves in sheep’s clothing:
- They are (at best) one or two-trick ponies. They often advise without real-life examples or context of how and to whom it applies.
- They’re more interested in being right than being suitable for your situation. The same people don’t try to understand before being understood (Shout out to Stephen Covey).
- Their advice is aesthetically pleasing or a fine-sounding argument, but it doesn’t work. A good example is when someone is dissatisfied with someone having a one-page resume (and caveats if you’re under 30 years old). It’s outdated since young professionals have had four jobs with substantive training, accomplishments, and professional development. Yes, college students with five or more jobs before graduating college may have career-relevant achievements.
- They try to become your friend TOO fast. Cults aren’t the only ones recruiting you and trying to prove their worth. They want you to follow them, maybe give you a discount, and buy one or more of their services. Vet them and take time to see how they are beyond their presentation. Google them, see whom they associate with, and vet who recommends them.
- Their best advice is always the next episode (“if you want to know, sign up for my…”). You should sell to get your money, but is everything you offer come with a sales pitch? Offering value is the currency for the long game. Selling is not bad. Just the illusion of good advice through overwhelming sales pitches is terrible.
The good ones will assess incessantly.
A good personal trainer will conduct some assessments before training and ask many questions. They must do because the wrong prescriptive exercise can cause injuries and exacerbate additional damage before their assessment.
I remember seeing a personal trainer at a gym (use your imagination) having their client perform weighted step-ups on a chest bench press and favoring her left side than the right. She was not enjoying the experience, grimacing in pain and looking like she would fall at any moment. Had the trainer assessed, he would have chosen another exercise that was safer, doable, and perhaps more enjoyable. Similarly, a good career professional would do the same.
Career professionals have their moments, tho!
I’ve noticed good career advisors, from time to time, have good intentions but occasionally give bad advice. Likely it’s because of the lack of context or experience in the industry. But they’re not hiding behind obscurity or generalities. In my experience, they are generous and are always looking to perfect their crafting. The job market constantly shifts, and they need to understand industry trends. Many of us belong to a professional group or two and are connected to reputable career professionals.
They will also uphold integral practices and transparency and invite insight from other career professionals. They understand that not everyone’s path is the same or one-size-fits-all. Since March 2020, our advice may generally change and sometimes be trumped by engaged industry professionals (like an engineer who just changed jobs to get a promotion in engineering). An established could give the most updated advice for their industry—better than career coaches, advisors, counselors, or anyone like me(ha!). Most of us have gone through job searches at a time in our lives. We empathize with job seekers’ frustration and want to make things easier and provide help.
I can’t emphasize every job seeker needs to vet any career advice, even if it’s sound. The best advice you’ll find is ones aligning with your goals, situation, and energy. Your job search can function without a dozen advisors, but it doesn’t hurt if they all add value. It’s detrimental if you’re looking for shortcuts and fast results. There aren’t any.