4 Most Important Pieces of Career Advice Nobody Tells You


Remember when you were still in school and everyone’s giving you unsolicited career advice? How much of it end up actually being useful right now?

Most of us enter the workforce blindly with bits of guidance from our well-meaning parents, relatives, and peers. Although this career advice does make sense, some of it may actually be hindering you from achieving your full potential.

In one of my favourite articles, writer Raghav Haran shares 11 of the most important pieces of career advice that nobody tells you. Here are my top 4 for young professionals and those just starting out.

1. Job requirements are mostly negotiable

Have you ever tried applying for a position where you don’t meet all the job requirements? Of course, not. Job requirements are listed there for a reason. Right?

This is a common mistake made by applicants. Haran explains that,

“Apart from jobs like academic professions, medicine, or law, most job requirements are largely negotiable --- you just have to prove that you can bring value to the table.”

As long as you have the skill, ingenuity, and passion for the industry you’re applying to, there’s always a chance that the hiring manager can look past the pre-selected requirements and hire you.  

2. Work for a great boss, not a company

Working with a great mentor is the key to having a meaningful career. You can get a job at the biggest, most prestigious company but if you’re under weak leadership, your development will be severely impacted. You should never tolerate working for a boss that makes your work life miserable. It’s best to move before you miss out on greater opportunities.

Remember, whilst your employer owns your contract, you're still responsible for your personal and professional development. Don’t get stuck working for the wrong person.

3. Don’t pick a career based on salary or employment stats

Don’t let the “average stats” lead you down a wrong career path. Choosing your future career based on money alone will likely lead to regret, disappointment and missed opportunities.

You need to consider your interest, skills, and personality. What are you suited to? What do you enjoy? Don't just jump on the latest trend because it's where today's money is, unless it's something you'll enjoy.  

As Haran notes,

“Do what you enjoy doing, and be great at it. Everything else will come.”

So find your passion, discover your best skill, and the success will come.

4. It hurts to be too “realistic”

We all grew up in different places, cultures, socioeconomic background - so what’s realistic may simply be an illusion.

According to Haran ,

“What’s realistic for you is entirely predicated on what you’ve been exposed to.”

So it may seem crazy to think you can go to university or become a doctor or work for a top company if you haven't been exposed to people who have achieved these things. It's only natural to put up these barriers.

It’s for this reason that some of the “realistic” career advice we encounter today may do more harm than good. Sometimes the advice from well-meaning parents, relatives and peers to follow a well-known path, get a stable job and follow social norms isn't the best for your long term career.

To excel in your career, you don’t have to follow the herd - you have to find your own way. Each one of us has our own recipe for success. What works for another person might not work for you.

You just need to remember a few guiding principles - learn by working alongside brilliant people, always keep expanding your knowledge, and never be afraid to try and fail.

The bottom line

In an ideal world, every piece of career advice handed out to you will help in your professional life. However, things don’t always go that way. I hope the points above have helped you as it helped me. You can find Raghav's full article on Medium.

Armela Escalona

Freelance blogger who writes about work, tech and productivity

6 min read

Read these next

Am I underpaid? Should I ask for a pay-rise? Here are the Hong Kong 2018 Pay Scales!

To avoid being exploited or “duped” by an employer, everyone should learn about their basic rights and entitlements under law. We are talking about ...

You read about all of the tips and tricks to, but how often do you get to hear about the horror stories that occur?

Do any of these bosses sound familiar to you?

Medium · Logistics · North Point
Medium · eCommerce · Tsuen Wan West
Large · Consumer · Quarry Bay
Large · Food & Beverage · Sheung Wan

Related topics

Career Development > Related topics

Can we send you a helpful email?

More articles like this one, jobs and insightful company profiles that give you everything you need to succeed.