Ideally, a career expert is someone with solid knowledge of certain aspects of careers — whether it’s helping you find a new career, better manage the one you have, or successfully navigate (and survive) the job search process. But it can also be someone claiming to have all that.
There are many people on the internet who speak as if they are experts — in all kinds of fields. But are they all? No. It’s a funny term. Ideally, true experts would have solid, first-hand experience, and offer you pretty much the same guidance. In the case of plumbers for example … in the end at least you know if your sink is fixed or not.
But when it comes to career advice, things are not as cut and dry. There are so many variables that expertise may be in the eye of the beholder. Or sometimes only in the eyes of the experts themselves. 🙂
So how do you become a career expert?
Quite candidly, anyone can declare themselves a career expert. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting good advice / guidance for YOUR needs from each and every one. So before following blindly, you might at least want to check out their About page to see their credentials. And do a little extra online snooping of your own.
Even though I have a certificate in career counseling and a lot of first-hand experience in the field, I don’t especially consider myself a “career expert”. At least not in every aspect of the world of careers. That’s because careers aren’t a science — and can be complicated.
Also, employers are definitely not all the same. Neither are job seekers. So advice that sounds good in theory or would work for some, may not work in all situations. In fact, “one size fits all” advice probably won’t work for all. So the term itself can be misleading.
In my case, maybe career consultant feels a bit more accurate. I do have a good deal of hard-won experience in many fields and many years of reader feedback that I like to share. Expert? Well, not sure about that. Maybe even the wisest experts should wear a sign that says “no one knows everything.”
Why I feel the need to offer words of caution
Over the years, I have met many talented, knowledgeable people in the career field and value their opinions highly. There is definitely good advice out there (and styles that may feel right for you). And I don’t want to scare you off from turning to the good ones to help yourself.
But … there are also those career experts who claim to have every answer. Or worse yet provide “you must do it my way” advice that can actually hurt your chances. If you meet someone like that, my suggestion is avoid that ”expert” like the plague. And maybe check out the word hubris.
Something I find useful in my own life
I’ve met a lot of people, in general, who think they know it all. And are ready to step in and try to FIX you and your life. For me, that sends up a caution light. So just make sure you value your own instincts and put it all in perspective for you and your own needs.
Anyone who claims to have all the answers while making little room for you to come up with your own ideas or make your own decisions is probably not someone you want to follow. Good career coaches guide and support – they don’t take control of your decisions or your life.
Even if we’re offered good advice, we still need to use our powers of reasoning to decide if the advice makes sense for US. We always have choice. And we all have inner wisdom!
[This article was updated in 2020]