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Six Common Career Misconceptions

How to avoid falling victim to these mistaken career beliefs

5174356_sWhether you are thinking about entering the job market or plan to remain with your current employer until you retire, take heed. The job market can be highly competitive and the perception of a guaranteed job for life is no longer valid. To ensure you maintain an impressive marketable and highly employable edge within a constantly changing career landscape, ensure you aren’t fooled by the following career misconceptions.

Misconception One: The most qualified candidate always gets the job offer.

Impressive qualifications and expansive experience does not necessarily guarantee that you will get the job. In fact, jobs are often offered to the better communicator, the better ‘sales person’ who is able to connect with the interviewer and subsequently market relevant skills and achievements in a professional and articulate manner. Studies have shown that 55% of the impact of communication comes from body language, your mannerisms and the way you conduct yourself; 38% comes from auditory functions, including tonality, speed of your voice, volume and articulation; and only 7% comes from the words you are speaking.

Studies have also found that if a person’s facial expressions were inconsistent with what they were saying, the facial expressions were taken as fact (and more believable) than the words being spoken. So if you are scratching your nose or looking extremely worried during an interview, this will have far more impact than the words you are saying.

Misconception Two: The best approach to job searching is through recruitment agencies, internet postings and newspapers.

Studies have proven that between 70-80% of job opportunities are never advertised, appropriately labelled – the hidden job market. Responding to internet and newspaper-based job advertisements only allows you to position yourself in front of a small percentage of potential opportunities. To maximise your job search exposure, consider networking and leveraging your circle of influence – your professional network of contacts, as a crucial part of your job search.

Misconception Three: As long as I continue to work hard for my current employer, my role will be secure.

With the constantly changing landscape of many industries, the ‘job for life’ principle is no longer relevant. In fact, each of us can probably expect between 4 to 7 career changes throughout our working lives. It is therefore essential that you have a strategic career development plan in order to maintain your employability and marketability status. In your current workplace:

  • Establish a solid network within your organization and become known as the go-to person who is able to solve problems and overcome obstacles;
  • Pursue ongoing professional development opportunities so that you are constantly learning and expanding your skills and knowledge and at the forefront of your industry;
  • Become involved in special company projects that may involve working with people outside of your department. Therefore people in other divisions are able to get to know and trust you, and gain awareness of your expertise.

Misconception Four: Once I have completed my formal education there is no need for me to undertake further professional development.

Technology, consumer demand, and an evolving, highly competitive marketplace means that you cannot afford to take on a complacent attitude toward ongoing knowledge and professional development. In fact, complacency may lead to outdated skills and eventual career atrophy.

Short courses industry publications and workshops through Professional Associations are just a few things you could be attending to ensure you remain current with what is happening in your industry.

Misconception Five: My résumé should include a career objective, my entire work history, training and all of the responsibilities within each role I have performed.

A résumé is your marketing document and therefore should strategically position your skills, expertise and overall value to an organization’s needs.

  • Substitute your career objective with a professional profile – a statement of your success and value you offer an employer. A career objective concentrates on what you want, however a professional profile highlights what you bring to the table.
  • Replace boring lists of job accountabilities and functions, with examples of challenges overcome, initiatives implemented within the workplace, and achievements/successes that made an impact to the organization.
  • Include only relevant training in your résumé. Ask yourself, is this course relevant and does this knowledge add value to my candidacy? If not, leave it out.
  • There is no need to list each and every role spanning your entire career history. Generally the last 10-15 years is necessary, particularly if the experience is relevant to the role you are applying for.
  • Examples of an achievement statement:
    • Slashed costs by $150K following workforce rationalization with no impact on performance or customer service.
    • Increased annual revenue by 45% despite there being a general downturn in the market.

Misconception Six: As I am established in my current role, it’s not really important to continue working on my career.

As mentioned previously it is vital to take control of your career (rather than letting your career take hold of you) particularly with the changes many industries now face.

Have a clear career management/development plan to ensure you are constantly evolving and expanding your skills and knowledge.

Continue building and leveraging both internal and external networks; become known as the go-to person, the problem solver, and a person who continues to contribute value and results.


About Annemarie Cross

Annemarie Cross is a Personal Branding Strategist & Business Coach supporting women entrepreneurs build a powerful authentic brand and reputation as an authority in their niche so they can attract a constant stream of ideal high paying clients. She also works with women executives and professionals; helping them get noticed, promoted (and/or hired) and paid what they're worth for the value they bring to the workplace.


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