Career tips -

The five greatest career myths - and how they can be avoided

There are many career myths circulating about how one supposedly gets to the top - or what prevents advancement.

We encounter them everywhere: in newspapers, magazines and guidebooks. Some myths have been around for decades: "Women don't make a career" and "Staying abroad increases your chances of promotion". Others are new: "No advancement without media presence", "With the right network, advancement goes almost by itself". But what is really important in making a career? What are the requirements and wishes of the companies? And which strategies and rules in everyday business life are actually successful?

The fact is that there is no comprehensive recipe for success for a career in which promising ingredients are mixed together and an unstoppable career is created. However, there are a few rules that should be observed in order to get the chance to climb the career ladder.

Myth 1: You do not make a career in a crisis

A recession is said to be career-blocking. The business news almost exclusively talks about job cuts and salary cuts. In times of economic hardship, companies concentrate more on reducing rather than increasing the number of employees. The consequence is that employees stay in their positions and try to survive the crisis in supposedly secure jobs.

In times of crisis, personnel consultants are more in demand than ever, because companies select more carefully when filling positions and there is a much lower tolerance for mistakes. As a result, the good people are increasingly asserting themselves in the selection of personnel.

Our tip:
Employees who have previously worked in the second row should take advantage of the opportunity to change jobs and apply for restructuring jobs, especially in times of change. A recession also offers opportunities for job starters. Especially those who take into account the required skills and show a higher degree of flexibility will be ahead of the competition in the next upswing. Anyone who is given the opportunity to build up helpful practical experience during the economic crisis should not have to think long about status. Apply for a job - even for less money, you can still change jobs after the recession - and it is much more promising than without professional experience.

Myth 2: Networks always help with your career

In recent years, the field of online networking has increased. XING, Facebook and LinkedIn are very popular as business portals, but are they the start of a career? Networks are a medium through which information is spread, but this can also have negative consequences. Of course, individuals can benefit from their virtual network and perhaps even learn about a job offer. But many others who also get the chance to apply for a job also have the same fate.

Our tip:
Carefully select the network portals in which you disclose information about yourself. Use personal information sparingly. Especially the disclosure of information about your willingness to change jobs is very dangerous. Manage the information and only make it accessible if it will certainly be seen positively in the long term. In our article "The Internet as a career promoter and killer" you will learn more about the careful handling of your online presence and your own online activities.

Myth 3: A stay abroad promotes advancement

In Germany the recommendation for a stay abroad is the most widespread worldwide. Other industrial countries use semesters abroad or even a longer trip to Europe - but mostly for educational purposes rather than to further their careers. A stay abroad is more of a social recognition feature here than a career accelerator. In the meantime, those who stay at home have the chance to divide the domestic positions among themselves and to advance one after the other. They have purposefully developed their German network and are now sitting in positions that foreign returnees speculate on in vain.

Our tip:
Everyone who is offered a stay abroad should carefully examine what the existing alternatives in the company would be and what improvements would really result from the stay abroad. Both in terms of position and content. If the perspective has very positive effects, ask for a written confirmation. Also check your external opportunities if you see no room for improvement internally. Only if external prospects are also clearly recognisable will the stay abroad really serve your career.

Myth 4: Women do not make a career

A widespread myth in Germany is that women are disadvantaged in the economy. If you look at the company's top executives, you will notice an increase in female managers. According to the Federal Statistical Office, women still earn on average 23 percent less than men and the difference even increases with age. This is mainly due to the information on the current salaries and desired salaries of the candidates. Often it is the women themselves who state too low salary wishes, and of course companies hardly offer higher salaries of their own accord.

Our tip:
Female applicants in particular should take a close look at public salary information before a job interview. Talk to your trusted personnel consultant who knows the industry. He will give you current and objective orientation values.

Myth 5: Because of my family I can't make a change now

Especially at the beginning of a professional career, promotion and private interests are often not in harmony. At the beginning of a career, hardly anyone can afford to turn down a job that means a desired career step. The same goes for refusing a promotion because it requires more travel. And the higher and more important the position in one's own company is, the more flexibility and willingness to travel is expected of the individual employee.

Our tip:
Don't see family and career as opposites. If a career step also improves the financial situation, it mainly benefits the family. Similarly, success strengthens the position of a manager and thus provides balance and ensures the family's livelihood. Discuss with your partner about a possible change of location, this too can result in interesting and promising perspectives for the whole family.

You can read more about the greatest career myths in the book by Marcus Schmidt: "Die 40 größten Karriere-Mythen - Ein Headhunter zeigt, was es kommt es ankommt"; Eichborn Verlag, 208 pages; 19.95 euros.

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