The Office
Career Misconceptions 01 October 2008 | by Annemarie Cross
Whether you are thinking about entering the job market or plan to remain with your current employer until you retire, take heed. The job market can be highly competitive and the perception of a guaranteed job for life is no longer valid.
To ensure you maintain an impressive, marketable, and highly employable edge within a constantly changing career landscape, ensure you aren’t fooled by these career misconceptions.
Misconception One: The most qualified candidate always gets the job.
Impressive qualifications and experience does not necessarily guarantee you will get the job. Jobs are often offered to the better communicator. A better “sales person” can connect with the interviewer and subsequently market relevant skills and achievements in a professional and articulate manner.
Studies have shown that 55 per cent of the impact of communication comes from body language, 38 per cent comes from the way you speak; and only 7per cent comes from the words you are speaking.
Studies have also found that if a person’s facial expressions are inconsistent with what they are saying, the facial expressions are taken as fact rather than the words being spoken. So if you are scratching your nose or looking extremely worried during an interview this will have far more impact than the words you are saying.
Misconception Two: The best approach to job searching is through recruitment agencies, internet postings and newspapers.
Studies have proven that between 70-80 per cent of job opportunities are never advertised or appropriately labelled.
Responding to internet and newspaper advertisements only allows you to position yourself in front of a small percentage of potential opportunities. To maximise your job search exposure, consider networking as a crucial part of your job search.
Misconception Three: As long as I continue to work hard for my current employer, my role will be secure.
With the constantly changing landscape of many industries, the “job for life” principle is no longer relevant. Each of us can probably expect between four to seven career changes throughout our working lives. Therefore it’s essential that you have a strategic career development plan in order to maintain your employability and marketability status.
In your current workplace:
  • Establish a solid network within your organisation and become known as the go-to person who is able to solve problems and overcome obstacles;
  • Pursue ongoing professional development opportunities so you are constantly learning and expanding your skills and knowledge and at the forefront of your industry;
  • Become involved in special company projects that may involve working with people outside of your department. People in other divisions will be able to get to know and trust you, and gain awareness of your expertise.
 Misconception Four: Once I have completed my formal education there is no need for me to undertake further professional development.
Technology, consumer demand, and an evolving competitive marketplace means that you cannot afford to have a complacent attitude toward ongoing professional development. Complacency can lead to outdated skills and eventual career atrophy.
Short courses, industry publications and workshops through professional associations are just a few things you can attend to ensure you remain current with what is happening in your industry.
Misconception Five: My résumé should include a career objective, my entire work history, training and all of the responsibilities within each role I have performed.
A résumé is your marketing document and therefore should strategically position your skills, expertise and overall value to an organisation’s needs.
Substitute your career objective with a professional profile – a statement of your success and value you offer an employer. A career objective concentrates on what you want, however a professional profile highlights what you bring to the table.
Replace boring lists of job accountabilities and functions, with examples of challenges overcome, initiatives implemented within the workplace, and achievements/successes that made an impact to the organisation.
Include only relevant training in your résumé. Ask yourself, is this course relevant and does this knowledge add value to my candidacy? If not, leave it out.
Misconception Six: As I am established in my current role, it’s not really important to continue working on my career.
It is vital to take control of your career (rather than letting your career take hold of you) particularly with the changing landscape many industries now face.
Have a clear career management/development plan to ensure you are constantly evolving and expanding your skills and knowledge.
Continue building both internal and external networks; become known as the go-to person, the problem solver, and a person who continues to contribute value and results.
(c) Annemarie Cross is a Career Coach and Personal Branding Strategist with Advanced Employment Concepts. Annemarie can be contacted on: and
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