“Just follow your passion!” 3 popular career advice that are actually bad for you

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There are good advice, great advice, bad advice. There is also horrible adivce disguised as good ones. Today, let's take a look at popular career advice that you should be taking with a grain of salt. Ladies and gentlemen, here are three famous advice promising to make your career that might just break it.

”Follow your Passion”

This is probably one of the most popular career advice in the 21st century. Even Warren Buffett encouraged us to “take a job you love”. If we choose a job we love, we shouldn’t have to work for a day in our life, right? Unfortunately, if we are fixated on the pursuit of passion, it might take longer to building our fulfilling career!

For example,you got into your dream company. Since you are just starting, your tasks are less than stimulating. Unavoidably, entry-level jobs come with mundane tasks that you are not passionate about. If you quit immediately because you are not enthusiastic about the tasks, you give up your chance to progress in that company.

Instead of “passion”, “the ability to help others” is a bigger motivation for us. Studies from career advisory group have shown that assisting people by doing what we are good at engages employees more than “passion”. So if you find yourself asking “what do I want to do?”, try thinking about how you can use your strength to impact the society!

It is all about who you know

Founder of Taiwanese catering chain Wowprime Corp., Steve Day, encouraged young people to network, as it would be more useful than saving up. Is this something you can relate to? Do you know someone who got their first job through their connection? Undoubtedly, networking is beneficial. Whether you are looking for a job or wanting to ask for a favor, a connected network is good for you.

More often than not, networking is merely an entry ticket, without skills and hard works, it is still difficult to achieve a fulfilling career. For example, if you got into a great company through your connections, without skills and efforts, it will be hard for you to progress there.

Career advisors suggest to foster relationship, instead of network. Network is strictly professional and can be easily established with a simple introduction, whereas relationships are built based on common interests or goals. People tends to work with those they agree with and like. This is why relationships more valuable than network. In another word, networking might get your foot into the door, but improving yourself and building meaningful relationships will get you much further.

Applications: The more the merrier

The job market is competitive, the more jobs you apply for, the higher the chance you will be hired. This sounds logical. However, we shouldn’t forget that a strong application takes effort. You need to research the company before writing a personalised cover letter, and polishing your CV based on the position. Getting caught in the numbers game would spread your energy, which would lower the quality of your application package.

So what should you do instead? Research the company, learn about its culture and background before you apply. This would avoid the scenario where you applied to a company and got hired, only to find out you do not enjoy the culture there. It would also help avoid sending bulk applications that give the impression of an insincere applicant. Do this for about 5 to 8 companies to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, without sacrificing the quality of your application.

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Sophia Wong

Brand and Marketing Strategist in Hong Kong, writes about career, job hunting and interview tips.

3 min read

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