The Four Career Advancement Myths That Are Holding You Back

Written by EO Executives on Apr 13, 2015

The game of career advancement has changed and chances are that some outdated career myths that you often hear repeated (and may even hold as personal beliefs) are holding you back and stunting your progress.

So what are these myths and how do you address them?

Having spent over a decade in executive search working with leaders from all over the world one thing is crystal clear: there are two types of individual, those who understand the new work dynamic and those who don’t, and the difference in terms of increased earnings, fulfilment and progression for those who do grasp the new rules of career advancement is vast.

Below I have listed the four most common career myths that I regularly encounter and need debunking below:

1. You Need To Build A Breadth Of Skills To Advance

We work in a knowledge-based economy where depth of skills and expertise is now far more important than breadth – the age of the generalist executive is dying.  Your quickest route to advancement and ultimately to a seat at the C Suite table is to have an area of deep knowledge and expertise whereby you are seen as an authority and “Go-To Expert”.

2. You Need A "Work Personality"

Being authentic and bringing yourself to work has never been more important as I highlighted in my recent post on authenticity.  No one expects you to be a robot at work and in order to build trust at senior levels and lead people to success you should aim to be as open and real as possible.  Having the courage to act as “you” will allow you to influence, create a personal brand and build deeper, more meaningful relationships.

3. Focus On What You Enjoy And The Money Will Follow

What I most enjoy is playing football with my son in the park and cooking but sadly I suspect neither could result in a lucrative career for me. This particular myth is very misguided and damaging resulting in failed start-up businesses all over the country.  You should absolutely enjoy what you do and I encourage you to only make a change if you are not generally happy or content in your career. However, big reward often comes from taking on projects that are tough and that others are not willing to tackle. In my opinion your focus should be on answering and executing this question:

What can I do that adds the most value to my customers and internal stakeholders?

4. You Only Need To Start Networking When You Are Looking For A Change

Personal brand and network are hugely important in career advancement.  Those on the fast track dedicate time to building both an internal and external personal brand on an ongoing basis.  The fast moving corporate world can catch you unawares and even the most talented executive can find themselves on the market very quickly – as and when this happens you need to have social profiles, an extensive network and industry advocates who are ready to mobilise and help create opportunities for you.

What Next?

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