Past Issues

September 19, 2011

Ten Myths About Choosing
the Right Job or Career

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Myths About Choosing the Right Career

By Dylan DeSantis, Edu411

Maintain proper perspective. Keep an open mind. Be wholly determined. These are the characteristics to master as you explore professional options. At a time when the job market is tougher to crack than ever before, it can pay to take a holistic--and realistic--approach to finding the right career. Avoid these common misconceptions. They can lead you down the wrong path and cost you precious time in the process.

Myth #1: A big paycheck will bring me professional satisfaction.

Fact: While an impressive salary may be your initial goal, you may discover that there are several factors that play into a satisfying career--and money is only one of them. Concentrating on earnings while neglecting intangibles like opportunities for growth, a solid team environment and challenging projects can leave you unsatisfied at the end of the day.

Myth #2: My career must match my major or program of study.

Fact: Many professionals find that securing a position perfectly in line with their academic experiences is the exception rather than the norm. Save for the truly focused careers such as the physician, lawyer or engineer, there are a variety of routes to most professions. And that's a good thing--you should appreciate the flexibility in preparation afforded by most jobs.

Myth #3: I will have only one job throughout my career

Fact: The fact is that the majority of the working population is likely to change roles, even industries, several times over the course of their lives. Changing expectations and opportunities for advancement lend themselves to transition. The ongoing nature of career building is, in essence, a literal invitation to switch jobs until you find one that fits your sense of being.

Myth #4: What I love to do and what I have to do are rarely the same.

Fact: If you can find a way to make money at your hobby, you should never have work a day in your life. That being said, it's always a smart idea to seek out a job that is in harmony with your talents and interests. If you love technology, for example, starting your own e-commerce business should be a natural impulse. You may be more likely to dedicate the time and energy in succeeding.

Myth #5: I must have experience in my field to get hired.

Fact: While it's not true in every professional scenario, employers can be surprisingly open to a new, promising candidate if they feel he or she has the potential for success. You shouldn't be intimidated simply because you haven't worked in the industry for an extended period of time.

Myth #6: Employers favor candidates with a four-year academic degree.

Fact: Two-year degrees, technical diplomas and industry certifications are just as powerful for landing a solid job. An increasingly large number of employers appreciate life experiences, as well. Learning as much as you can about the knowledge requirements of potential careers should be a vital part of your preparation.

Myth #7: Career counselors and assessments are the best guides.

Fact: While it's true that they can help you determine your talents and point you in the right direction, standardized career assistance is not always a treasure map. And it certainly doesn't take the place of due diligence--self-examination and professional research.

Myth #8: I should be looking for positions in the "hot" industries.

Fact: Popular professions can be trendy. What's in-demand today can quickly subside (think the "dot com" boom and subsequent crash in the late 90's). Following these trends can land you in some professional hot water quickly. Sticking to meaty, steady career fields has always been a safe bet.

Myth #9: If others are happy in an industry, I will be, too.

Fact: Remember this--just because a family member or friend excels in the sales game doesn't mean you'll fare the same. Finding the right career fit is an extremely personal experience. Now that's not to say you shouldn't use others as a way to discover new options. But the smartest professionals realize that the intangibles necessary to succeed vary from person to person.

Myth #10: Once I land a promising job, the story is over.

Fact: Again, we go back to the career-building experience as a lifelong process. There's always new information to learn, best practices to develop and advancements to seek out. Following and accepting the status quo is a good way to be passed by those more eager than you. Opportunity has always favored the best prepared--a state that requires near constant vigilance.

The Bottom Line: Just like most of life's challenges, there are several solutions and multiple avenues to find them. Be cognizant of the fact that finding the right career can take years of effort. You may find that maxim applies to anything worth having.

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