When you’re trying to plan your next career move, it can be overwhelming to develop a strategy, especially when there seems to be so much conflicting information out there.
From small details like whether to include an objective statement on your resume, to bigger issues like how to master salary negotiation, the advice you’ll find is all over the map.
The people doling out this advice usually mean well, but often they really don’t know what they’re talking about.
As a lawyer and entrepreneur who also spent a decade in the “traditional” workforce, I can assure you that there are plenty of career myths out there that just don’t pan out and need to be retired ASAP.
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Here are 4 of the most egregious career myths:
1Just work harder, and you’ll earn more money.
False. In this economy, it seems like a lot of employers have a sort “do more with less” approach when it comes to what they expect of their employees. Not great for employee morale. Plus, the stress caused by this approach can actually have the opposite effect of diminishing overall employee productivity.
If you keep taking on more and more duties at work without a promotion or salary increase, you’re just raising the bar of what is expected of you, without getting anything in return. So in fact, this will not translate into extra income, but will actually guarantee that you’ll stay in the same income bracket for the foreseeable future because your employer will want to keep you in that same position without extra pay for as long as possible.
I’m not suggesting you slack off at work. But I am encouraging you to have clarity about your job description and to be cautious about taking on additional responsibilities if that doesn’t also come with a formal promotion (read: more money).
Talk openly with your employer about your career goals and aspirations, and develop a strategic plan of attack. And if your employer demonstrates that they aren’t invested in your growth and aren’t willing to treat you like anything more than a workhorse, it might be time to find a new employer.
2You need a lot of education to be successful.
Not entirely true.
While it is true that those who are educated tend to get paid more, this doesn’t mean that it’s the best or only route for you. One thing to consider is that higher education is expensive-like, really, expensive. Americans carry a whopping $1.3 trillion dollars’ worth of student loan debt.
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The next lie I heard was, “You can’t help people AND make money.” Also untrue. Sure, the conventional jobs available to most attorneys out of law school involve either going broke working for a non-profit, or working for a soul-crushing large firm, making bank but ruining people’s lives.
But those aren’t the only options. There are plenty of solid government jobs that have good pay and wonderful benefits that allow attorneys to genuinely make a difference in people’s lives. And there are also plenty areas of law you can go into where you get to help clients with a specific problem and also cash in on a big paycheck. Those opportunities aren’t going to just fly into your lap. You have to be resourceful and go out and find them. But they do exist.
The same concept applies to other occupations and fields. The next time someone tells you that you can’t make money doing something that you love, don’t take their word as the gospel. Question and challenge them. Think of the people who have made a successful career out of what you want to do. Buy a copy of their biography and learn how they did it. Most likely, they had to overcome adversity and go through a great deal of struggle to get to where they are. But they stuck it out, and they didn’t back down.
Are you willing to take the same kinds of risk and make that sort of steadfast commitment? Are you tenacious enough to keep going even though everyone around you is telling you you’re crazy? These are the things you have to contemplate if you decide to take a more difficult or unconventional career path. But don’t give up on making a career of something you enjoy doing just because some Debbie Downer said you can’t.
Big career changes can be overwhelming, and you might not be sure who or what to believe. Everyone around you will have an opinion about what’s “best” for you. But if you do your homework, listen to your intuition, and don’t let other people’s fears block your path, you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.
5Still, Don’t Have a Perfect Resume?
Okay, so what makes an amazing resume? How can you stand out to employers? Firstly, it’s a great idea to find out if your employer uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is a type of software that scans your resume for keywords before passing it onto an actual human being. If you need an ATS resume, you’ll need to change up the format. Luckily, you can use many free resume builders that include ATS responsive templates for you that can help! You can click here for more information.