Careers expert reacts to the worst pieces of job advice from members of the public

Whether you’re just getting started in your career, changing jobs or looking to gain some new skills, when it comes to getting the best advice it’s hard to know who to listen to.

While you might get some well-intentioned tips from friends and family, their guidance might not always be right for you.

We caught up with professional careers adviser, Catrin Owen, from Working Wales who gave us her expert take on some particularly bad pieces of advice members of the public have been given over the years…

“Follow money, regardless of whether you enjoy the job you’re doing”

Catrin’s view: “We understand that income and salary can be really important factors when you’re considering your career choices and next steps, and we all have bills to pay. However, that shouldn’t be at the expense of enjoying your job at all. Remember, to get that enticing annual salary, you need to stick it out all year! Your work-life balance is important and while it’s sensible to consider your financial situation, it’s also really important to enjoy what you do as it’s a big part of your life.”

“Just send the same CV out to everyone!”

Catrin’s view: “Now this is a bit of a rookie mistake; when you’re applying for jobs, tailoring your CV to the job you’re applying for is key. Recruiters can spot a blanket CV a mile away and it could work against your chances of getting to the next stage even if you’ve got all the right skills. If you need help tailoring your CV, speak to a careers adviser like me – we’re here to help!”

“Make sure you tick off every requirement on your CV for the job you’re applying for”

Catrin’s view: “While it’s important to consider jobs your skills are suited to, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to fulfil every requirement. Nobody goes into a job knowing exactly what to do from the outset. You can say on the application or on your CV that you’re working towards those skills and that you’re willing to learn and develop.”

“I was told not to change my career after I’d turned 30 or it would hold me back”

Catrin’s view: “We hear this a lot, that you must pick a career and stick to it for the rest of your life. That might have been something previous generations did, but nowadays most people will have multiple different careers throughout their lifetime. I’d recommend speaking to a career adviser  if you’re thinking about changing careers to see if there’s something else out there that you might enjoy more than your current role, and it doesn’t matter how old you are!”

“If you don’t know what you want to do after school, just go to university anyway”

Catrin’s view: “University is a great option for lots of people, helping to set them up for a career in their chosen field that might require a degree. However, there are also so many other routes into the world of work to get you where you want to be. You could start an apprenticeship, go into work or start your own business. As an adviser, often I find that someone who has gone straight to university without necessarily considering their next steps may find they need help and advice anyway – so reach out sooner rather than later.”

“Try and pick a career and stick to it after school”

Catrin’s view: “It’s ok to know what you want to do after school and follow that clear path. Of course, if you don’t know what you want to do, that’s fine as well. What I would recommend is to speak to someone about your next steps. A career is no longer always a ladder. Whilst it can be for some, for other people it can be a maze, or a rollercoaster, and that’s absolutely fine!”

If you’re looking for tailored careers advice and guidance, book an appointment with a careers adviser by visiting  (for under 16s) or  (over 16s and adults).