Do you have a career mentor or read career-related blogs online? If you do, you’re on the right track towards making smart decisions in your career. However, sometimes the career advice that mentors or websites provide isn’t always as helpful as it first appears. How can you tell what advice to follow and what advice to question? We can help you sift through the bullet points to find the best advice.


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Bad: the advice contains cliches, quotes, and popular sayings/taglines.

You may come across advice that doesn’t try too hard to speak to your unique situation. Instead, it includes cliches or rephrased quotes from popular motivational speakers. While these little phrases may be helpful as a temporary confidence boost or motivation, they are definitely not long-term solutions. Cliches, quotes, and popular sayings are not too useful when you need advice on a specific career issue that you are currently going through.


Good: the advice is concise and incorporates you into it.

If you have a mentor, you can talk to them about every part of your career struggles and wins. When they offer advice to you, pay attention to how they weave you into the situation. For example, they may take one of your skills and focus on talking about it specifically, showing you how you can leverage it.


Bad: the advice is outdated.

Times change, and so do careers. If the advice you get focuses too much on something that was important in the 90s, your source of advice, whether through a mentor or a blog, may be a bit outdated. Listen to or read the advice that they are giving, and make sure that it is relevant and up to date. If it isn’t, consider looking for another perspective.


Good: the advice is relevant to you and applies to the current year.

The blog or mentor incorporates the digital landscape into their advice. They mention websites or other blogs that include research relevant to your skills or experience. When you’re reading your source or speaking to your mentor, think about the advice as a whole, and consider whether or not it belongs in the current technological or social landscape.


Bad: the person giving the advice has other motives besides helping you.

In order for you to receive good career advice, you need to find a source that doesn’t stand to gain from your success. Naturally, a blog probably isn’t going to improve based on what you do with their advice. However, if your boss, spouse or partner is giving you pointers, consider how your wins or losses may impact them. They may give you advice that may influence them positively by the outcome, or it may put them at an advantage over you.


Good: the person giving the advice is reputable.

One of the major pluses when getting career advice from someone is if they are reputable. A mentor that has a uniquely positive reputation for giving sound advice is a great person to watch and listen to. You want to pay attention to someone who has a proven track record helping people in their careers. On the flip side, if they are someone who has a reputation for giving poor advice, or there are always strings attached, you need to avoid this person as much as possible. They will abuse your relationship and take advantage of you for personal gain.


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