Taking Free Career Advice with a Grain of Salt

Every graduate who takes free career advice from a friend or family member needs to look beyond the advice to determine motivations. Your graduation from university will be accompanied by dozens of loved ones and colleagues offering free career advice without solicitation. Your desire to be polite to every career advisor should not lead to an acceptance of free career advice without some analysis.

There are multiple criteria you can apply to career advice to determine the tips that are best for your young career. The professional background of an advice provider is important as you consider free career advice. A lawyer offering advice on specific areas of legal studies to pursue in postgraduate education is a valuable resource. A retired police officer who provides tips on success in IT sales may not offer the best advice available.

You should ask what an advisor does for a living to place free career advice into context. The substance of free career advice may not be effective if the presentation style of your advisor is unorthodox. This advice does not need to be provided through a PowerPoint presentation but it should be provided with a certain sense of decorum. You should not take free career advice from an individual who is promoting a specific company, criticising a specific company and using inappropriate language during their advice.

The quality of free career advice is only as good as the person presenting the advice. The best free career advice comes from an experienced professional with anecdotes to back up his suggestions. Your recent graduation from a university should leave research and methodology courses fresh in your mind. You would not draw assumptions in philosophy, biology and other fields without sufficient evidence. You should apply this same standard to free career advice.

In contrast, the worst career advice comes from people who think that one-size-fits-all platitudes help in every situation. A relative who says that the secret to any job lies in a single characteristic or action cannot be regarded as a trustworthy source of career advice. There are few professions where one piece of advice is sufficient to guiding a professional toward profit and happiness. Your quest for advice on building a successful career should take into account multiple points of view. These tips can help you develop relationships with trusted advisors who can offer help throughout your career.

Mike Sandiford is the Sales Manager at JustClick, who are a leading source of Graduate Jobs and Graduate Careers, also offering a Graduate Lifestyles portal with news and reviews on current affairs.

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