Ignore outdated career advice (and try this instead)

By Lavin D'Souza
In the first of the series, Lavin D'Souza highlights advice you may have followed at the beginning of your career, and how and why you should update it

When it involves landing and retaining a job these days, a lot of the traditional advice you discovered along the way has been rendered irrelevant. Forget the recommendation that you need to hold your private and work lives separate; what`s the protocol for following your boss back on a social media platform?

So, what professional work tips will be valid even 10 years from now and what should be given a rest? 

Your choice of language 

Outdated: Always use formal language to write your resume and cover letter

This is a dicey one. While you ought to constantly proofread your application documents for spelling and grammar, the use of “to whom it may concern’’ language doesn`t precisely assist you to stand out as an applicant to an employer. 

Updated: Cater your language to the employer

As you carry out research on an employer and its culture, attempt to bring your resume and cover letter in line accordingly. As you write your cover letter and resume, make use of language that suits the tone and voice of the employer or enterprise you’re applying to, which, in turn, shows how well you fit in with the employer. For example, being overly formal can be a turn-off in a start-up. On the other hand, don’t start cracking jokes in a cover letter to a company that really takes itself seriously. 

Career history 

Outdated: Hopping from job to job doesn’t look good on your resume

You would have possibly heard that hopping from job to job will not look good on your resume. While older generations would be guaranteed a job with the same employer for decades, millennials and Gen Z aren’t so lucky. Also, staying with an employer that does not make you happy doesn’t help you or the employer in the long run.

Updated: Make the gig economy work for you

Don’t be afraid to restart your job search process in case you discover yourself in a bad place. People that move from job to job or change their line of work are not viewed in a bad light. If you are job-hopping, ensure you have a reasonable explanation for your next interview. Even better, ensure how your varied experience can gainfully benefit your future employer.

Answering tricky questions

Outdated: When your interviewer asks about your weaknesses, provide a strength

The concept of constantly turning your weaknesses into strengths is an overused punchline. 

You might be thinking of saying, “My greatest weakness, is that I care too much or that I am a perfectionist’’. While this seems like a great concept in theory, in practice, it doesn’t quite pan out. There’s a threat that you will come across as boastful or less aware of your true weaknesses.

Updated: Be sincere and ready to improve yourself

Bringing up your weaknesses in a job interview may not sound like a good idea; however, you can make it work for you. Accepting that you have a weak point and are aware of it is going about in the right way in showing the hiring manager that you are open to discussing what job role you are suitable for and now no longer suitable for.

When you’re getting ready for your interview, make the effort to come up with an answer to the infamous ‘‘what is your weak point’’ question. Your answer should genuinely reflect on a weak point, after which focus on all of the approaches you’re taking to conquer it. 

Being authentic

Outdated: Keep all of your social media personals

Whether or not you want your boss to follow you on social media, it`s unrealistic for lots of us to hold our personal lives behind closed doors, hidden away from our work personas. Many people even socialise with their coworkers to be friends, and it seems unrealistic to pretend that you don’t have an existence outside of the work environment.

Updated: It’s okay to be a person 

As long as you’re okay with it, it’s generally accepted to engage with your coworkers on social media. Obviously, it’s unacceptable if you tweet away about a co-worker, or posting about yourself on a roller-coaster while you called into work as sick, or something else that compromises your integrity as an employee. Don’t be stunned in case you face repercussions at work for that form of online behaviour. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to love your supervisor’s social media posts. In fact, social media can portray your many interests and pursuits to your work colleagues.

Conventional recommendation that Gen Z ought to nonetheless adhere to

There are traditional recommendations for professionalism which can be timeless, and the majority of those come right all the way down to respect. Gen Z are generally extra fearless around critiquing their workplace (that's an acceptable cultural shift), however there are nonetheless guidelines for staying civil. 

For example the so-called ‘‘great resignation’’ and the trend of some employees suddenly leaving their jobs in a phrase referred to as ‘‘rage-quitting’’. It`s always good to resign from your current workplace on amicable terms- even when you ‘dislike’ your boss or disagree altogether with your organization. Even while you`re seeking out a brand new opportunity, attempt to deal with your work scenario to the best of your ability and put all your energy into developing an action plan for your career. There`s something surely positive to be said about being calm in a storm and being graceful while you exit your toxic workplace.  Channel your resentment from your previous workplace into motivation for your new one.

Lavin Jane D'Souza
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