12 Pieces of Career Advice Professionals Wish They'd Received Sooner
Reflecting on their career journeys, twelve seasoned professionals, including a Career Coach and a Publisher, share the advice they wish they had received earlier. From embracing career pivots to overcoming obstacles instead of excusing them, these insights offer valuable guidance for anyone at any stage of their career.
- Embrace Career Pivots
- Value Continuous Learning
- Reflect at Career Crossroads
- Celebrate a Non-Linear Path
- Remember, Changing Your Mind Isn't Failure
- Trust Your Instincts
- Understand Career Timing
- Focus on Meaningful Connections
- Explore Different Paths and Expect Change
- Accept Changing Client Relationships
- Know That Business Challenges Are Solvable
- Overcome Obstacles, Don't Excuse Them
Embrace Career Pivots
I wish I knew it was perfectly okay to make small or large pivots in your career. I've done this throughout my career, but have always been self-conscious about it. You hear about the stories of people remaining at the same company for 25+ years, but that's not always the right answer.
In reality, I've learned that people stay in the same place for way too long and end up miserable. Now, I'm proud of the decisions I made to remain excited about my career.
Value Continuous Learning
I thought I was finished with exams the minute I left university! Little did I know that in your professional life, you are constantly developing and growing as a person, and your skills are constantly developing.
This continuous process of reinvention isn't merely a choice but a survival strategy in the modern digital era, ensuring that I stay relevant while also exceeding my career aspirations.
I have consciously chosen to upskill and reskill to keep up with the digital transformation in my industry. I have learned to use new software and technology as I go. I really wish I had valued digital skills at school as much as I do now!
With so many fantastic online courses helping you up your skills, my advice would be that it is never too late to grow and learn more skills to help you succeed in your career.
Reflect at Career Crossroads
In college, I was on track to land a high-paying job in corporate America. Until I sustained an accident that completely changed the trajectory of my life. While recovering, I initiated a startup as a side project, but it soon gained wide success and just kept growing.
Looking back at my career, and especially at that one moment when I took the plunge and created my company, I wish someone had told me that there are specific crossroads in your career where one decision will change your life.
It's important to think deeply and reflect on your core values at these moments. These crossroads are chances for you to get in touch with yourself, what you value, and what you prioritize in life.
Celebrate a Non-Linear Path
Reflecting on my journey through changing industries and careers, one crucial piece of advice stands out: success isn’t always a straight line. Understanding that every twist, turn, and setback is a learning opportunity has been vital.
Embracing the unexpected and learning from challenges has propelled my growth in ways I couldn’t have imagined. If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be this: don’t fret over a non-linear path. Each experience, whether smooth or rocky, shapes your skills and resilience.
To anyone out there navigating their career: embrace the detours, celebrate the victories, and learn from it all. That’s the real essence of success—a continuous journey of learning and growth.
Bryor Mosley, Talent Acquisition Partner,
Remember, Changing Your Mind Isn't Failure
Years into my consulting career, I realized that what really excited me was entrepreneurship and the burgeoning Internet, which I sensed would change the recruiting industry for good.
However, I struggled with the idea of such a major career shift, foolishly believing that my narrative was already set in place. I worried about what my family, friends, and coworkers would think of such a major reroute, and I'm embarrassed to admit I even lost sleep over the decision.
Looking back, I wish someone had told me that most successful people try many things before finding what catapults them to the next level. It's a sign of inquisitiveness and open-mindedness, not fickleness, and can be found in the history of most big-name CEOs and founders.
Trust Your Instincts
One piece of advice I genuinely wish I had received earlier is the importance of trusting my instincts. It would have been invaluable to learn the power of saying "no" when situations didn't align with my values or goals.
Recognizing and understanding my true worth early on would have steered many decisions more confidently. Understanding that I cannot please everyone and that I'm not a magician would have saved me from unnecessary stress and striving for unattainable perfection.
It's essential to be genuine to oneself and realize that it's impossible to be everything to everyone.
Understand Career Timing
I stopped working as an attorney for about ten years—from about the age of 30 to 40 years old. I wish that someone had told me that, although I would have time to build a career, it would not be the same as building that career in my thirties.
When I left the workforce, I was in the prime of my abilities. After having children and staying home, I struggled to write the way I did prior to leaving my career. People expected me to be further along in my career when I came back to the workforce, and that made it difficult to find employment.
Focus on Meaningful Connections
As the co-founder and working partner at a recruiting firm, connections are my specialty. I pride myself on maintaining a vast professional network in my industry. However, not everyone likes me (I know it's hard to believe).
While outright conflict is never necessary, there will always be a contingent of professionals with whom you simply don't click. It's a matter of personality.
I used to drive myself into a frenzy trying to hit a 100 percent success rate in my networking attempts, but as I've aged, I've realized what a waste of time that is.
I wish someone had told me early on that failing to connect with ten percent of people is normal and expected. Focus on the network that works for you, and don't worry so much about the few associates you don't vibe with.
Explore Different Paths and Expect Change
One key piece of advice I wish I had received earlier in my career journey is the importance of not being afraid to explore different career paths and expect change.
Throughout my professional life, I have realized that trying new roles and industries can lead to unexpected opportunities for growth and development.
It's crucial to understand that career shifts can often bring about valuable insights and skill sets that contribute to a more adaptable professional profile. In today's rapidly developing job market, being open to change and embracing opportunities in one's comfort zone can serve as a driving force for personal and professional fulfillment.
I have learned that the most fulfilling and successful careers are often the result of seizing opportunities that initially seem outside of one's expertise, ultimately leading to a broader and more enriching professional experience.
Accept Changing Client Relationships
It's normal for clients to come and go. Often, budgets, priorities, or simply vibes shift and realign. It's very normal in the freelance world to deviate from certain clients and seek new ones, or even for a client to like you but still want to seek new perspectives. Try not to take it personally when your client list changes over time.
Business Challenges Are Solvable
One piece of advice I wish I had received earlier on was that with business, most problems are solvable. Companies adapt and shift all the time.
To be successful in business, look at what's working and what isn't working and make changes accordingly. Sometimes the problem is a lot less big than it initially appears to be.
Overcome Obstacles, Don't Excuse Them
Don't make excuses for why you can't do something - just find a way. There will always be obstacles, but the younger you are, the more likely it is that mentors will be available to help you achieve success.