Unexpected Advice and how to use it

There are so many decision points when it comes to deciding on a career path and developing an action plan that will help you get there. No one has all the answers, so one of the things we advocate in the Careers Team is you going out and doing your own research.

In this instance, ‘doing your own research’ means listening to peoples’ opinions. And two things we all know about people are that, they have lots of opinions, and not all of them are sensible. So how do you work out whether the opinion is a good one or not?

Picture over the whiteknights lake

I’m writing this because I keep thinking about some feedback we received from the Journalism panel we ran in Autumn Term. One of the panellists stated, and I paraphrase, that “having experience writing for blogs, student newspapers, and the like is a lot more important in the industry than your degree grade, so students show work a little less on their degree and devote their time to writing for publication instead”. This point really upset one of attendees, and they complained about it.

Now, I can understand why this advice will have been a shock to some. Many people believe that a first or 2:1 is the holy grail to later success, or at least a necessary step, and I certainly don’t want to advocate for everyone doing less well in their degrees, but I think there are other ways we can react when we get surprising or event shocking advice:

  1. Research is often more robust when the sample size is higher – so ask more people for their opinions. If you ask 10 people and, say, 7 say roughly the same thing, then there is trend that you can work with, but if only 1 or 2 say it, it might be something to ignore, or at least park;
  2. Test the hypothesis – for example you can ask more people if they agree, or you can try following the advice for a short while to see how it goes;
  3. Review – check back in to see how it’s going – maybe you’ll tweak the advice and keep going, maybe further feedback means you drop it, or lots of positive messages mean you’ll start to try it;
  4. Check with your Careers Consultant – we are used to helping people develop their action plans, and we’ll help you work out what’s best for you, you can book an appointment via MyJobsOnline.

So in 2023 – engage with people, have your eyes opened to new ideas and new possibilities, build connections and understand their points of view. Then act with caution, testing things out and finding your way.

If you are wondering how to make connections with people, try watching this recent webinar on getting started with Linkedin.

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