The Career Don't You Should Always Do

Avoid cookie-cutter tips and “Zig” when everyone else is “Zagging”

Don’t do this. Never do that. Don’t wear this. Never wear that. Today’s workers live in a world of formulas, rules, and cookie-cutter advice. That goes double if you’re trying to land a job. Quadruple if you’re over 40.

It’s not that this follow-the-dots career guidance is bad. It’s just that by obeying the “top five surefire rules” the only thing you can be sure of is that your resume, Linkedin profile, and online presence will resemble thousands of others. By staying neatly within the lines, at best you’ll appear generic; at worst, you’ll join the growing army of zombie job seekers, slotting in the same techniques again and again in this week’s land-the-job-you-love template.

The reality? It takes guts to be yourself, to carve out your own unique positioning in this increasingly Shark Tank-y job market. It feels safer to toe the line, follow the rules, stay in the box, don’t stick your neck out (see how easily those phrases pop up?).

When we’re afraid, as we are after endless applications, interviews, and networking events, we’re more comfortable following the herd. And yet … This is exactly the time when the smart job seeker zigs when everybody is zagging.

This is when all those career don’ts should become absolute do’s.

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