Top 10 Career Planning Myths

We know that having a plan is the best way to achieve a goal. This is true for career-planning as it is for many other aspects of life. In order to make a plan, you need to have accurate information on which to base decisions. This means that you must be able to tell truth from myth when it comes to planning for your career.

10 Common Career Planning Myths and the Corresponding Truth

Myth 1: There is one perfect career for me.

Truth: Many careers may potentially fit within your life goals. Even if you have figured out what you are looking for in a career, you may find that there are a number of jobs or careers that meet the criteria. Instead of honing in too specifically on one occupation, look at one general area (e.g. education), and then begin exploring what is involved in the more specific careers within that field (e.g. teacher, early childhood educator, administrator, educational assistant, or counsellor). You can then begin to funnel your education and training in that direction while closing as few doors as possible along the way.

Myth 2: My college major will determine my career path.

Truth: Employers care more about your experience than your college major. Very few occupations require specific undergraduate training. Choose to study something in college that you find interesting and work hard at it. Your academic success can then propel you to almost any career you desire.

Myth 3: I must choose a single career for the rest of my life.

Truth: Most people re-evaluate their career several times in their lives. For now, find an occupation that you expect will be rewarding, without worrying if you will still find it so in thirty years. Allow your career to evolve as you do.

Myth 4: I can’t get a good job with an undergraduate degree

Truth: By going to college, you obtain valuable and transferable skills that will serve you for the rest of your life, skills like communication, organization, writing, research, and critical thinking. While you may not have gained any technical experience, employers will choose you over someone who has not gone to college and developed these skills.

Myth 5: All my friends seem to know exactly what career they want.

Truth: Your friends may seem to have their career goals sorted out, but they may be basing their plans on inaccurate or glamorized information. The media portrays only certain aspects of certain occupations, pictures that far from reality. As you begin to narrow down your options, ensure that you are getting both balanced and accurate information about your prospective career choices.

Myth 6: Most students have clear career goals when they start college.

Truth: Though some students have a major or career path in mind when they start college, most students change their minds at least once, if not three or four times over the course of their academic career.  

Myth 7: If I don’t worry about it, fate will drop a career in my lap.

Truth: The more information you seek out, the more opportunity you will have to make the right decisions about your career. While there are some things beyond your control and sometimes luck plays a part in life’s path, your decision-making along the way is the most critical part of career planning.

Myth 8: My skills should determine my career.

Truth: Your skills are only one part of what will make you successful in your career. Your interests, your values and your passions are also important. You will be more successful at a job that you find fulfilling than one that you are just good at.

Myth 9: A career assessment or test will give me all the information I need to choose a career that is right for me.

Truth: Career assessments can give you valuable information and perspective into your skills, aptitude and personality. However, no standardized test can give you one specific answer or match. There are many intangible things that cannot be measured in such tests so they should be used only as a guide, in conjunction with your own personal insight.

Myth 10: My best bet is to choose a career in which workers are currently in demand.

Truth: The job market is always in flux. Thousands of people lost jobs in the tech section in the early 2000s and the same thing happened again in the financial sector in the late 2000s. The economy, technologic advancements, and demographic shifts can all have an effect at any given time. While economists may make projections, they are not certain. The current job market should play a part in your decision-making process, but should not be the sole basis for any career plan.