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10 Common Misconceptions About Career Management

10 Common Misconceptions About Career Management

Most professionals have a reactive, not a proactive, approach to their careers.  This, and other common misconceptions can derail any professional’s career management efforts.  Readjust now to avoid sabotaging career potential.

Clothes are cleaned when they’re dirty, bills are paid each month, doctor visits occur once or twice a year. So, why is it that most people don’t integrate career management into their regular routine?

Most individuals have a reactive – not a “proactive” – approach to their careers. Thinking that a career management plan is good only to “fix your career when it’s broken” (i.e., laid off, downsized or just plain miserable) is a very unfortunate misconception that will seriously limit any data management professional’s career success!

Here are 10 other common misconceptions about career management, and how to adjust them for reality:

1. The most qualified candidate gets the job offer.

WRONG! Many times, candidates with lesser qualifications get job offers simply because they’ve prepared and presented themselves in a more compelling way. In other words, they’re better self-marketers who can demonstrate their skills clearly. Being “qualified” is not enough. It is essential to convince the employer that you’re the best candidate for the job.

2. If I have a job, I don’t have to work on my career.

WRONG! Even while employed, one never knows what may happen tomorrow. To avoid a career disaster, incorporate “Perpetual Career Management” as part of an approach to professional life. Incorporate vital tasks into regular habits, like maintaining current accomplishment stories, or networking regularly with professionals in and outside the field.

3. My professional education stopped when I graduated from school.

WRONG! Always look for ways to advance professional knowledge, both in the field and across disciplines where appropriate. Attending seminars, taking online courses. reading trade journals, pursuing certifications, etc. should be a part of every professional’s continuing professional development process. It’s imperative that every professional remain current in his or her field.

4. Employers always offer the most generous compensation they can afford.

WRONG! Employers expect people to do salary research, and they anticipate dynamic negotiations. In fact, they’ll often be disappointed and question someone’s candidacy if there is no negotiation. Employers usually state a low salary offer merely as a “trial balloon,” to gauge reaction – and there’s almost always room to improve on the initial compensation offer.

5. If I just do a good job, my position will be secure.

WRONG! With corporate mergers, downsizings, outsourcing, and a shaky economy, no job is secure. Take full responsibility for career security, plan, and act purposefully.

6. My résumé is the only document I need to search for a job.

WRONG! A résumé is just one of the 12 “tools” in a “Job Seeker’s Tool Kit.” To land a quality position in an active market, useful items include accomplishment stories, positioning and departure statements, a current professional biography, a target company list, a professional profile posted on relevant sites, among other vital components.

7. Recruiters will find me a job, so I don’t have to search for jobs myself.

WRONG! Although recruiters can be helpful, the most successful way to find a new opportunity in a job market is through networking and continuing professional development.  Executive search firms and other forms of recruiters are one vehicle to leverage, but finding the right new job is the professional’s responsibility.

8. Employers are responsible for managing my career path.

WRONG! This statement might have been true in previous generations. Now, it’s “every man for himself.” Only the professional has the power to take control of their career and manage it for success. So, be proactive, with possible support and guidance from a qualified career consultant who can provide additional help in managing a career path.

9. Networking is only for entrepreneurs and jobseekers – I don’t need to network now.

WRONG! Networking is a smart career move, done regularly and continually, regardless of the current state of one’s career. At the least, build-up networking power by helping others and expanding connections. Consistent, effective networking will always pay big dividends, and it is a natural part of ongoing career management.

10. Most good jobs are listed on internet job sites and in newspapers, so they’re easy to identify.

WRONG! Only one percent of job postings on the web are useful, and each professional will be competing against 99% of all the other job seekers. Since these odds are not favorable, spend very little time on this search technique – and instead, focus most time and energy on networking and career path activities.


Study these deadly career misconceptions and the reality of each to reverse them and achieve a very positive career impact. Start with adjusting to reality instead of perpetuating these misconceptions, and then practice productive new behaviors consistently!

A version of this article was originally published at:


Ford Myers

Ford R. Myers an award-winning career coach (Winner of the “ HR Consultant of the Year” award) and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford and his firm help clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve. He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms and is a member of several national Human Resources (HR) professional organizations. Ford’s articles have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations, and universities on a variety of career management and career development topics.  Ford holds degrees from Hampshire College and Temple University and is a certified career coach.

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