Best/worst career advice you’ve ever received

Chances are you’ve received plenty of career tips over the years, whether solicited or not. Like any “helpful” suggestions, job-oriented advice can range from the eminently sage (“Do what you love”) to the highly questionable (“Do what pays the most”).

Embracing the good advice can lead to a brighter, wealthier future. On the other hand, implementing those bad tips into your professional plan may lead you into a hard-to-reverse downward spiral.

What’s the best career advice anyone has shared with you? What’s the worst advice you’ve received?

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35 comments Add your comment

Joseph Mullin

April 1st, 2010
2:18 pm

Best Advice: Believe in yourself! Strive to improve and push yourself to the next level.

Worse Advice: Was recently, put an objective on your resume and have a 1 -2 page resume. I am a professional manager and my 4 page resume has gotten more action than my 2 page bullet laden resume.

HR Professional

April 1st, 2010
4:35 pm

Best Advice: Think about how you are perceived and what you say or write will be interpreted. Just because you understand what you are saying doesn’t mean other people are going to interpret it the way you intend.

Worst Advice: Take it personally.


April 1st, 2010
4:40 pm

Also with the resume, get input or help from someone that understands your discipline ie if you are a finace professional don’t have a marketing professional help with the resume, it may look pretty but the finance decision maker reading it is going to think FLUFF.


April 1st, 2010
4:54 pm

Best Advice: Dress for the position you want, not for the position you are in.

Worst Advice: Just be patient.

Newly Employed

April 1st, 2010
5:02 pm

Best Advice: Leverage personal contacts to meet people you want to work for/with.

Worst Advice: Sending out resumes and waiting by the phone.


April 1st, 2010
5:44 pm

“Newly Employed” is the only response that has any bit of useful advice.

HR Pro: Take what personally? Not getting a job/promotion/client? You have actually been given that advice? Seriously? I’m not sure that can even be called advice. Maybe sabotage, but not advice.

And, really, Mr. Mullin: can “believe in yourself” be considered advice? Then I guess that Hang-In-There-Baby kitten is basically Tony Robbins.


April 1st, 2010
5:47 pm

As for me…

Best Advice: One Word: Plastics.

Worst Advice: (based on the definition of advice permeating the other responses): Jump off a bridge.


April 1st, 2010
5:55 pm

Best Advice: Success is not determined by your salary.

Best Advice for Resume: Add “Avocation” as a resume section if it shows a skill that could be transferred to your job success, e.g., “marathon runner” shows the ability to set long-term and short-term goals, be strategic and delay gratification. Identifying your avocation gives the prospective employer a casual but meaningful place to start the conversation, rather than the typical chit-chat about the weather.

Best Advice I Can Offer: Don’t stay in a job if it’s killing you on an emotional, spiritual or physical level. Life is short — and there’s a perfect fit out there for you.


April 2nd, 2010
4:48 pm

I was literally told, when I called a hiring manager for advice, that I should start smoking and it would make my voice sound deeper. I never did pick up that habit.

Dick Hurtz

April 2nd, 2010
5:38 pm

Best Advice: Don’t let your meatloaf


April 2nd, 2010
6:18 pm

Good advice
1) Always be preparing for your next job (it doesn’t matter if it will be with the same company or not)
2) Follow your interests
3) If you are unemployed, treat you job search like a job
4) If you are employed (even if you like your positions), Send our resumes regularly, and try to interview at least twice a year. That way, if something happens to your current position, You are practiced and have stuff in the pipeline.

Gator Actual

April 2nd, 2010
10:27 pm

My best advice was from my late father – pick a company you can retire from. I did, and I did!

Southern Opinion

April 2nd, 2010
11:38 pm

Best Advice – (After divorce and not working for 11 years) Get a masters degree in Special Education. (This proved to be excellent for job security.) I did and taught for 7 years, but I had to return to school for a specialist degree in instructional technology because teaching special education was too rough.
Worst Advice – (After divorce and not working for 11 years) You can’t get a degree in pharmacy with two kids – now I know I could have and should have. That advice came from a family friend. Auburn said you can and we will let you try. I took friend’s advice – wrong.


April 3rd, 2010
8:40 am

Best Advice: You can if you want to bad enough

Worst Advice in the history of the world: You can’t do that. Here’s why……..


April 3rd, 2010
10:56 am

FOLLOW YOUR HEART. Use your gifts to help those with needs. Dont try to be exactly like someone else – you’ll only come in at second place.


April 3rd, 2010
3:24 pm

Best advice be prepared for the world and things that happen in corporate america.

worst advise: government jobs are better and fulfilling than private sector jobs.


April 3rd, 2010
5:44 pm

Best Advice to anyone: GET RID OF THE CHEWING GUM!


April 3rd, 2010
5:46 pm

Best advice on job hunting; Do not falsify anything on resume/application. It will come back and bite you…..

You are to old to go back to school and finish your degree…. Did not listen to that went back finished my BA and then completed my MBA. IMHO the best thing I did for ME.


April 3rd, 2010
8:59 pm

Best advice during the interview: Pause before answering a question and make eye contact.

Best advice for after the interview: Write a personal thank-you note immediately.

John Galt Jr.

April 3rd, 2010
9:45 pm

Best advice, don’t hire anyone named Dick Hurtz.


April 3rd, 2010
9:46 pm

Best Advice: You work for many managers. Some of them will be good, some of them not, but you’ll learn something from all of them.

Stew Potts

April 4th, 2010
10:43 am

Don’t mistake a job for a career.


April 4th, 2010
4:05 pm

Best advice: Pay yourself first. Worst: It makes no difference what others think of you.


April 4th, 2010
7:46 pm

Do something that you love and are good at that pays well. Money is just a way of keeping score on how well you do yur job.


April 4th, 2010
7:55 pm

Having a mentor definitely helps one in getting fresh ideas as advice. I was struggling to find my direction in my career when my friend recommended me I had my doubts about mentoring at first but as time goes by, i found that i am able to gain certain new insights from my mentor which proved to be useful in corporate survival. overall, i think most people would find it valuable to have a mentor at hand who provide advice, whether its good or bad advice, its hard to put an answer as every situation differs.


April 4th, 2010
10:18 pm

Best advice: Don’t cause problems for your boss.
Worst advice: Ask for forgiveness; not permission.

Benny Fitz

April 4th, 2010
11:39 pm

Best: Sleep with the boss, especially if she’s ugly…

Worst:Feel free to take anything you can fit in your car….


April 4th, 2010
11:50 pm

Best: Let the interviewer know you are interviewing the company…have good’ prepared questions about the company. Legitimate management questions..such as what is your employee turn-over rate..a good barometer of employee satisfaction. Do lots of research before the interview ie. if the company is privately owned , what is the stock value the stock history….etc.

worst: not doing your home work..if you want to work for the should act like it,not the other way around.

Benny Fitz

April 5th, 2010
12:02 am

Best: Help yourself to anything in the company fridge…

Worst: Help yourself to anything in the company fridge…

April Showers

April 5th, 2010
9:50 am

Best: You want to work in a position that is close to the money. (these are the last positions to be eliminated in a compay)

Worst: Rock the boat.


April 5th, 2010
11:33 am

That droopydawg sure seems to be a happy fellow with all the answers.
Hows all that advice you give yourself working out? You sound like a real success story.


April 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

Best advice: Follow your heart, and the money will follow.

Worst advice: Another degree won’t make any difference..

Fortune 500 HR VP

April 5th, 2010
12:25 pm

Best Advice: Don’t include the term “dawg” in the email address listed on your resume. Graduate of the Terry School of Business sounds great. sounds like you’re a slobbering idiot.

Worst advice: Salary is not important.


April 5th, 2010
3:01 pm

One word if you’re contemplating another degree: Gerontology.


April 5th, 2010
5:20 pm

Best advice: Do not pick a career based on the salary. You think you will be happy, but trust me, you won’t be.

Worst advice: Asking too many questions is bad. On the contrary, asking questions shows interest as well as wanting to learn more.