What’s The Best Career Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Best Career Advice

Most people will find themselves facing career uncertainty at some point in their lives. Whether you are feeling “stuck” in your current position, facing unemployment, or contemplating a complete shift to a new career, it can be discouraging and frightening all at the same time. One thing is for sure, it can be reassuring to know you are not in it alone! Others have been through this and lived to tell the tale and they are here to offer advice to anyone who needs it.

We found a LinkedIn thread asking for advice during times of career uncertainty. Talk about faith in humanity: restored. There were hundreds of answers from others who had been through career transitions, industry professionals, and good Samaritans willing to share some insight. We picked our favorite answers in hopes that it will inspire and empower you to live your best career.

If you find yourself in a less-than-desirable career situation, start here.

“Don’t take it personally. In the current business climate, businesses need certain skill sets at certain times then a big shift comes and those skills are no longer that important in the moment. You no doubt have skills that are transferable to another organization that needs them. It’s just a matter of time before you do.” – Christopher Tadda

Career Advice - Network

Network, Network, Network

“Get in touch with everyone you know both professionally and personally to let them know you are looking for a new opportunity. Create your “elevator speech” so you are ready to share your strengths and interests in all interactions. Take care of yourself and keep your mind open to possibilities.” – Whitney Ingle, SHRM-SCP

“Personal networking (in person or on telephone) is still the best way to find a job. However, LinkedIn is a wonderful technological partner to that process. And yes it is a process and will take some time. Spend some time doing a mini-marketing strategy covering exactly what your vision/mission is, get your 2 minute presentation down, create your resume and understand it is a “work in progress.” You will get lots of feedback/suggestions, make a list of everyone you have come in contact with in your career and focus first on your A list (strongest connections), then your B list and C list. Find them on LinkedIn, invite them to connect and work the connections to introduce you to companies you are interested in joining.” – Maryann J Newman

“During my last return to employment, we formed a small group of 6 to 7 people looking for work with the sole purpose to help each other land jobs. We had a variety of skills and experiences in different sectors and did not compete for the same jobs. We met once a week for 3 or 4 hours and shared what we had done, which opportunities we were chasing, how it was progressing, and how we felt. It was of course very friendly but nevertheless very formal, with accurate minutes taken each time that would form the basis of the next meeting. The other members of the group would provide advice and sometimes provide very useful contacts. Of course the other benefit would be the moral support that we gave each other.” – Philippe Charmet, PMP

“As you find yourself in new situations like reaching out to meet new folks and make new connections, try to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. For some, reaching out to connect with new folks to network or go to that interview doesn’t come naturally…at least initially. And it leaves us feeling a little vulnerable and exposed which is often uncomfortable. But the more you challenge yourself to reach out to meet new folks, go to those networking sessions or go on interviews and really try to connect with others, the wider your comfort zone will become and the more confidence you will gain to continue to meet challenges ahead and the stronger your people skills will become.” – James F. Gardner

“The best advice I’ve received is to be proactive on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. I took this advice discouragingly as I didn’t want to seem desperate reaching out to people I didn’t know and making connections that I wouldn’t normally make in person. But once I removed the ego and was genuine with my goals, I had a more positive outlook and saw more movement in my job search than I would have ever received sending emails on company websites, not knowing whether they received it or even looked at it. Take a look at your network, see if there is anyone that has a connection to a recruiter for a company you’re interested in and ask for an introduction, or simply view their profile and introduce yourself. Be genuine with your intentions and let them know why you’re interested in the company. You never know what that can lead to. Putting yourself out there and taking this as a valuable opportunity for change rather than a daunting process (which at times it seems so), and learning from every phone interview, in person meeting, and email exchange takes you one step closer to landing that job.” – Heidi Angeles Som, M. Ed

Career Advice - Invest In Yourself

Invest In Yourself

“I would suggest to use the time to self evaluate, what are your strong attributes, what are some that maybe need to be adjusted, refined or removed? Is the work you were doing what you are good at, is it what you have a passion for, is it applicable to todays market? I took the time and worked on all of these areas. I did some research, did some training, read some books on topics pertaining to my profession amd even did some volunteering. At times its wasn’t easy, but looking back it helped to keep me focused and inspired and still helps me today. Head down, eyes up and forward, heart engaged.” – Michael Terrill

“1) Don’t confuse preferences with non-negotiables. Cast your net accordingly. 2) Take the opportunity to enjoy your family and friends. They will help you get through this time and provide you the needed support. 3) Take time to do some of those things that you never had time for. Even when you get interviews, the waiting will be the hardest part and you’ll need to stay active. Also, you’ll feel good about accomplishing somethings that are completely within your control. 4) Network, network, network” – Ray Eng

“This was told to me about 15 years ago, but I have never forgotten it or the SVP that gave it to me. He said “James, you run laps around everyone else, because you are not afraid of the 5:00PM whistle if you need to finish a project… You will win every time” and “When you deal with professionals, you must LOOK like a professional, appearance matters a lot! If you don’t have the money, buy ties, dress shirts, pants, jackets and shoes when they are on sale at deep discounts. Checkout Nordstrom Rack, Ross, Stein-mart, Marshall’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Sears.” This was the best advice for me at the time because I was the worst dresser, but the hardest worker and this advice took me to the next level.” – James Wall

“I worked in the same company for 20 years. We sold it last year. I knew finding a new position after so long in one company would be difficult so I pursued a CMA certification to balance my finance background and to prove my skills are current. Initially, I spent every single day on the laptop spinning my wheels getting ever more frustrated. That didn’t help. Eventually, I settled into working on the job search in the mornings and spending the afternoons at the gym and having lunch with friends. Working out is a lifesaver for me. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I need it. Interviews are exhausting. I have had as many as 7 interviews for one position. But they are a solid indication that eventually the job search will pay off.” – Lucy Maddock

“Step 1 is get your mind right! If there is any anger, bitterness or self-pity in your heart it will ooze out of you when you interact with others and create tension. Step 2 – Inform the masses! Utilize this as an opportunity to reconnect or touch basis with old acquaintances via social media, email, in-person and over the phone. I had never felt as valued as when I was laid off. There was an outpouring of love that really helped keep my spirits high. Also, people will want to help you and offer assistance, so work that network. Step 3 – Take a moment!! I was blessed with a nice severance that allowed me to take time to reassess my life and myself. As I stated, I had been with my employer since college, and hadn’t had more then 2 weeks in a row off of work since I started. So I have taken a year-long mid-life break to discover my power, passion and purpose! I created a business, dabbled in some projects, volunteered, and traveled the world (9 countries & 13 cities).” – Jaymie Woods – MBA, Prosci

Career Advice - Treat Your Job Search Like An Actual Job

Treat Your Job Search Like An Actual Job

“DON’T JOB SEARCH FROM HOME! Get out of the house! Start your work day like any other. Dress like you’re going to the office. Go to anywhere you can get internet and search, search, search. Distractions from home only bring you down. Get out and talk to people at Starbucks, the gym, the store anywhere to keep you going and focused on finding that next opportunity. Bring your lunch with you so you don’t have an excuse to go home and stop job searching.” – Dan Coates

“My advice, and I wished I had started this at the beginning, is to log or track what you do everyday for job hunting. Sometimes the best ideas or methods are lost, what you didn’t do today is forgotten the next day, or even who you talked with and interesting points made during the conversations. So find a tracking method that works for you. I now have an on-going spreadsheet and I feel so much more organized and see progress. Treat it as a project, but one where you will reap the benefits.” – Doris Guillas

“Know what the salary range is for the job in your industry. Some jobs will ask you for your salary and you can disqualify yourself if you provide the wrong amount.” – Claudia Gaviria

“My best advice was – develop a written plan, hold myself accountable in putting the plan into action, and allow for adjustments/flexibilities to the plan based on things that were not planned for. This is a complex and possibly long process. By developing a plan, you can focus your time and energy to specific points in the plan, and reduce any sense of feeling overwhelmed. This concept includes, but is not limited to; career objectives, where you are willing to live/move for a job, resume writing, networking/communication, tracking your finances, education/training for things like how to nail an interview, etc. By putting it in writing and posting it in a place you see everyday, you are more inclined to hold yourself accountable to act on the plan on a regular basis. Over the years I have found this process useful to achieve many goals – personal and career development.” – Matthew Stevens

Career Advice - Treat Your Job Search Like An Actual Job

Consider Alternatives

“Contract work is always good to keep your skills up and to network yourself to new companies. Even if your goal is eventually a full time position. Don’t pass up an opportunity that may turn up better leads. It’s also a good time to freshen up your training. There are a lot of online resources that are either really cheap or even free if you go looking for them. Always stay positive and use the time as a period of growth.” – Robert Topper

“The best thing that’s happened to me was attending a local premier “Job Club” and they recommended finding a charity to work with, looks great on a resume! Luckily, I found an amazing start up charity from my industry and am a board member already, and it’s great for moral and self-confidence!” – Gwendolyn King

“I usually recommend looking for contract/consulting/temporary work while you seek your next full-time employer. Buys you time, prevents gaps in your resume, adds to your experience, and you might even find a full-time opportunity with the company you contact for.” – Lorraine Kealey PMP

“If possible keep your skills up to date, and networking is important. You might want to consider working some temp contracts. 1) They usually pay well because you don’t get any benefits. 2) You gain valuable experience working for different companies. 3) You both broaden and deepen your skill sets, and 4) You really build up your network of contacts.” – Werner Meyer

Finally… always, always keep this in mind:

“It’s not the person we show when everything is working that matters most, but the one who shows up when the bottom falls out. Every obstacle is a place for new areas of growth and discovery. Before you know it the season will have changed. Keep the faith, Stay teachable by listening to the advice of others, learn new skills, read new books, listen to new educational messages and experts in your field/outside of your field. Apply what you learn as you pursue what you want. When your opportunity comes you’ll be ready for it.” – Wilbur Brown