Need career advice? Don’t depend on your friends

“It’s okay to lie on your CV, no one reads them anyway.” This is an example of one of the worst pieces of career advice that workers reported when interviewed by an independent survey firm.

This survey, conducted on behalf of Accountemps, got responses from more than 400 Canadians aged 18 or older and who work in offices.

Most of them (70%) said they had received bad career advice.

And who are these people who give this terrible advice? Friends and parents top the list, according to 44% of respondents. These are followed by teachers at 16%, guidance counsellors at 9% and managers just behind at 8%.

Among other examples of the words recommendations these workers have received are phrases such as, “You will have to sacrifice your passions if you want to have a brilliant career”, “Don’t negotiate for a higher starting salary. What ever you are offered, accept it,” or even, “If your boss is incompetent, stick it out.”

Good intentions, but little expertise

This reflex to turn to our friends and family for advice is common, according to Dianne Hunnam-Jones, president of Accountemps in Canada. “Regardless of how many years of experience they have, professionals often turn to the people they trust to get advice on their career change,” she explains. However, even if friends and family can have the best intentions, they don’t always have the expertise and perspective needed to give constructive or relevant advice.”

So who should you turn to? First of all, it’s important to define your career priorities. Then, ask for help from people who have the professional expertise in line with your objectives, Mrs. Hunnam-Jones suggests.

The president of a recruitment firm is of the opinion that mentors in our professional domain are the best placed to understand our situation and share their knowledge in order to make informed choices. In addition, mentors have a relatively high score in the results of the survey – only 6% of respondents said they had received bad advice from them. 

Some tips

As a recruitment firm, Accountemps has some recommendations to offset the bad advice exemplified in the survey results. First of all, it is very important to do some research about the coveted company before sending your CV, in order to be better prepared for a potential interview. Above all, do not under any circumstances distort the truth in your application documents (even if your best friends tells you otherwise!). Regarding the question of salary negotiation, there are salary guides that can give you a good idea of the standards for compensation, by field.

And if you are feeling unhappy with your current job, draw up a list of the barriers that are preventing you from being satisfied. By weighing the pros and cons, you may realize that it’s time to look for a new job…

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