Career advice is everywhere, but how much of it is actually valuable? So much depends on the nature of your industry, your experience, and, of course, the source of the advice. Do you really want job tips from someone who worked in your industry two decades ago? Or from someone who has been fired from numerous positions?
To sift through the advice and hold on to the good points you hear, The Muse suggests that you should ask your most successful connection for advice, as opposed to seeking pointers from your best friend. Talk to someone who has a career that you admire. Chances are, both of you will define success in a similar fashion, which will be helpful to you as you seek to understand how this person got to this point in a career. Bill Sullivan, the founder of The Tyche Project, explained, “This [person] generally shows an ability to look deeper into challenges and come up with viable solutions based on experience and opinion.”
Seek advice from your former bosses. This is often a better practice than going to your current manager or boss, as your superiors want to see that you can solve a problem without much assistance. A former boss has no interest in how well you are performing in your current job, and will likely know your work style and habits. Checking with a former boss also preserves your credibility in your current position, since, after seeking advice and ideas elsewhere, you can present your boss with a range of solutions instead of a problem that must be resolved.
Find a mentor who can offer you unbiased advice while wanting to help you succeed. A mentor will enjoy helping you get ahead, which is why many mentor-mentee relationships are so valuable. Seeking the advice of an older, wiser, more experienced mentor is a valuable step.
- See The Essential Mentor for more information.
How can you find a great mentor? Forbes offers some tips.
First, do not ask a stranger to be your mentor. Rather, aim to establish this relationship with someone you are already working with, someone who is inspiring, and someone whose advice you will take to heart. It is important to remain open, flexible, and respectful as you take advice from a mentor. Ask how you can contribute more, and participate in meetings and projects at work.
If there are strangers in your industry that you admire, there are still ways you can reach out and attempt to create a working relationship with them. For example, simply being supportive can be a stepping-stone to a professional relationship. Tweet their posts, comment on their blogs, and so on. Offering your own input demonstrates that you are valuable.
Don’t always go to your parents for career advice. Many parents will be unfamiliar with the industry you are in, and the advice they offer may not be realistic, depending on your current job situation. Aaron Hurst, an economist and entrepreneur, commented, “Projecting of one’s self is most pronounced in relationships between parents and their children.”
Remember to be open to criticism. Tough love can be difficult when you are on the receiving end, but often, you need to hear advice that opens your eyes to the big picture and helps you understand your flaws. Hiring a career coach may be one of the best ways to receive honest, unfiltered advice. Many coaches are not afraid to call you out on what you are doing wrong—and often, this is what you need to hear to improve your work performance.
Source: The Muse
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