What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Was it the run-of-the-mill stuff like, ‘get a degree’ or ‘always do a job for at least 18 months’ or was it something deeper? Something that can only be learned from going through sh*t and emerging stronger and wiser at the end of it? Just as when you start a new job, the best advice is the scoop on who the difficult personalities are and how to get on your boss’ good side… not where the water fountain is, the same goes for career advice. With that mind, we’ve dug deep for this post, so if you’re feeling lost, confused or stuck in a job or career that really isn’t working for you, here are the 17 best pieces of career advice you should live by.

Best Career Advice for Ambitious Women

  1. Stop putting things on your CV that can be used against you – like your picture, date of birth and graduation dates.
  2. Your degree is just a degree. It’s not a guarantee of success in the real world… even if you went to Oxford or Cambridge.
  3. Never asking for help isn’t a strength, it’s a weakness that will slow down your progress and make every day harder than it needs to be.
  4. Change is good – embrace it and always be ready to take an opportunity when it presents itself.
  5. Don’t try and sprint your way to the top, getting lots of experience at the bottom will make you so much better at your job and at leading others when you get to the top.
  6. Don’t waste your energy trying to change your colleagues or boss – adults rarely change, unless they want to.
  7. Always ask for more than you’d settle for in a salary negotiation…
  8. …but don’t be ridiculous about it – don’t go above the top end of the current market rate (check out salary checkers on sites like PayscaleGlassdoor and Indeed).
  9. And still speaking of salaries, never show your hand first during a negotiation – you may start much lower than the employer is willing to pay.
  10. Always go to some after work drinks sessions – that’s where you’ll learn what’s really happening in the company.
  11. Have non-negotiable boundaries and never compromise them… ever.
  12. Find the person with real influence in your company (hint: it’s rarely the boss) and nurture your relationship with them: they hold the power to elevate your career.
  13. It’s great to follow your passion, but you don’t always have to do it for a living.
  14. Get the contact details of people leaving the company you currently work at. They will automatically widen your network for you.
  15. Know your strengths and play to them; recognise your weaknesses and improve them.
  16. There’s no acceptable time period that must pass before leaving a job that’s damaging your mental and/or physical health.
  17. A job interview is like a first date – use the opportunity to assess if the company is a good fit for you, not just to convince them that you’re a good fit for them.

Over to you: what’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “The 17 best pieces of career advice that no-one tells you”

  1. Hello there! Thank you very much for this list and your wisdom. Number 16 particularly resonates with me today. I am looking to change jobs after “only” 8 months in my role which has slowly but surely started to damage my mental health and general wellbeing…. Thank you for reminding me it is OK not to put up with it any longer. 🙏🏾
    My piece of advice here: “Don’t feel silly to quit a stressful/boring/unfulfilling job that pays you more to accept a job that is “just okay” and pays you less.” This “okay” job may be just what you need right now to cover your bills (+ little extras) and give you the peace of mind that you need to work towards your dream job or start a side hustle.

    1. Exactly! Peace of mind is more important. Too many people stay in bad jobs out of fear, but there’s usually a way to walk away, preserve your mental health and still have an income. That’s where finding a temporary ‘okay’ job often comes into play while you work out your next move. Great advice!

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