It is no secret that today’s job market is ultra-competitive. Unemployment is hovering around four percent, finding the right candidates can be a challenge and keeping them can be even more difficult. Being able to adapt to the ever-changing environment is a challenge that not everyone is up to, but must begin to learn to accept.
According to Forbes Contributor William Arruda, “In today’s competitive corporate landscape, standing still is equivalent to moving backward.” He continues, “The opposite of ‘up’ is ‘down,’ and if you’re not moving up – in your company, your field, and your career overall – you’re at risk of being downsized.” Similar to everyone’s path to career success, there is no one path for us to follow in terms of career advancement. What used to work for your parents or mentors might not be the best path to follow for your career.
If you’re looking to forge ahead in your career and make significant strides, there are a few common myths that you should avoid, according to Arruda.
You Must Get Promoted
Many people attribute success to getting a promotion, however that isn’t always the case. Moving “up” in an organization isn’t always the best move for people as they might not want to manage individuals. If your role has no management responsibilities, or you are not someone who wants to be in a management position, you can still advance in your career.
You can do this by focusing on the value you add to the organization and how you can increase it. Becoming certified in various aspects of your career in order to become an expert in your field can speak volumes in terms of career advancement. According to Arruda, “instead of managing others, you can enhance your organization’s operations by sharing what you know with your peers and becoming a thought leader outside the organization.”
More Pay = More Success
Sure, getting paid well means you are able to do more things in your life. However, many people think that the most successful people are also paid the most. That may not actually be the case. According to a study by Andrew T. Jebb, Louis Tay, Ed Diener and Shigehiro Oishi, people with incomes above $105,000 a year actually see their level of happiness and overall well-being drop. The happiest and most fulfilled people are often those with the best work-life balance.
One of the most common traps that people fall into is chasing the jobs with the highest paycheck. While this might open some doors that you otherwise might not have been able to afford, it may not always be the most fulfilling work. Culture, fit and quality of life are aspects of your career that are often overlooked, but are actually the most important. What you get paid is not the only measuring stick for success and career advancement.
Bigger Cities Offer More Opportunities
Depending on the industry you work in or are trying to get into, some cities offer more opportunities than others. Major cities such as New York City and Los Angeles provide countless opportunities, but those also may come at a cost. These cities come with a major price tag as the cost of living is usually exponentially more expensive than some smaller cities. Don’t believe me? A Glassdoor study found that Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Indianapolis are the three best cities for jobseekers; not exactly what one would expect.
Believe it or not, your best opportunities for career advancement may not come from these “sleepless” cities. Be open to opportunities in locations you might otherwise have not considered.
Make Networking About Yourself
The importance of networking throughout your entire career cannot be understated. Most people only consider networking to be important when looking for your first, or a new, job. That cannot be further from the truth. As Arruda says, “It [networking] enhances your knowledge base, broadens your horizons, and creates opportunities that working in isolation just can’t.”
A mistake that most professionals make when it comes to networking is using these conversations as an opportunity to talk about themselves. One way to really stand out in networking is to listen more than speak. Chris Motley, CEO of Better Weekdays, says “When you have the opportunity to speak to folks in an informational interview or a networking event, treat them as if they are the expert by asking questions. They will be flattered and you will get valuable information.”
In the age of self-promotion and brand building, taking an interest in someone else’s career can go a long way. Not only could you be considered as likeable, but you will stand out and come to mind when your connections have a job opening that aligns with your background.
Career advancement is a popular consideration for job seekers. While this is certainly a hot topic in the career space, there are some myths surrounding it that need to be busted. When looking for opportunities to continue advancing through your career, you are likely going to hear advice from many different avenues. It is important to figure out what works for you and pursue it. Along the way, don’t believe any of the aforementioned myths.