Career tips Rogier Rijnja  

Career advice, who should I listen to?

Who is the most reliable career consultant when it comes to career choices? Your parents, partner, teacher?

We get a lot of solicited and unsolicited advice on what job to choose, what college to go to. Parents, School Counselor, teacher, friends, your aunt: how to go about their advice and suggestions ? For career advice, who should I listen to ?

Many sources for career advice.

In a survey we ran with  hundreds of high school students, 51% of participants mentioned that their parents, a family member, or an educator as their most important source of career and college advice; 23% mentioned their teacher or career counselor at school, and only 26% of the students reference using the internet to figure things out. A scattered picture of what’s going. So what’s the best source of advice?[1]

As a contrast to the regular advice, here’s a nice article in  Undercoverrecruiter which highlights advice from people out there hiring new graduates.  Key advice from their experience is to make sure job seekers  learn to not be pressured by others and and instead make up their mind themselves.  Easily said, harder to do. 

The value of career advice by parents

“Advice, like fruit, is best when it’s fresh.” (Jason Fried, founder of Basecamp.)

“Follow Your Parents Career Advice at Your Own Peril”. A blog on the VectorImpact warns for the outdated point of view of many parents. They might try to pull you back to the days they were job searching. And things have changed.

It could be a thing to watch. But I would argue that parents nowadays are changing as well. A loving parent would make an effort to step into your world, and give coaching rather than advice. They would help you by asking the right questions, help you find your true interests, and passions. 

Career advice, who should I listen to ?

The value of career advice at school

Good career advice helps high school students to be more motivated. Having a career goal makes attending your classes more useful.

For career advice, should I listen to that teacher who takes my high scores as an argument to step into their field of expertise? Let’s be careful here. Being ‘good ‘ at something doesn’t necessarily mean you like to pursue your career in the same subject.

School counselors should be able to help

School Counselors should be equipped to help students make up their minds about what direction to go. It’s part of their role. They have a more distant relationship to the student than their parents have. This also could might make the quality off their advice noteworthy.

No doubt that school counselors are helpful for the development and happiness of high school students. Research confirms this. In fact, they focus only on the perceived success factors for college-bound students without taking into account other options or ways of being. 

The best school counselor is the one that helps students make up their minds on what they actually like, are able to, and want to pursue. That could be college, but it could be a job also. Or a gap year to take a break and reflect.

So, for career advice, who should I listen to?

This is what we suggest you do.

We took a look at the most prominent career advice models. And we took our own careers as examples.

1️⃣ Do check with your parents, that aunt you respect, your partner, a colleague, your career counselor, the friends you trust. Ask them what they think would suit you, based on what they know about you. For career advice, you should listen to them to start with.

You may want to ask them to describe you along these dimensions: practical, artistic, social, enterprising, investigative, organized. It’s a model we’ve developed based on the well known Raisec career test. See at the bottom of the blog for more details.

2️⃣ Explore what’s out there. Look for individuals you admire and check what they did to get there. Look for role models. Check for opportunities to do internships, or just chat with people who are doing the job you want to know more about.

Don’t go search for your passion if you don’t have one. That’s totally fine. Most of us only discover our passions at work when we’re halfway. And when you have a passion, check if it’s also a passion to pursue your career in.

3️⃣ Be honest about your ambitions and skills. This is not necessarily career-ambitions, but it’s about ambitions to learn.  How big is your urge to dig deeper in things intellectually. Do you like to study? Or do you have an urge to get to work and take if from there? Check our earlier blog ‘Jobs without degrees will be normal again‘ for more ideas.

4️⃣ Take time and reset. Some of us get serious about career direction at 12, others only start when they’re 18. Both are fine. But make sure you take time to make up your mind. Talking with job holders, students, browsing for good info takes time. And what’s more, you are likely to change your mind. You will bump into new ideas. New jobs may come up that weren’t there a year ago.

Please check this blog at Resumebuilder for great advice on how to write your resume and have an impact.

👉 Findmino.com might help

We developed a free web app that might help you. It starts with a simple swipe quiz to help you discover your interests, your likes and competencies. And it immediately suggest career paths that might fit you.

We created FindMino to help you browse in career land. We browsed the web for you and picked content that we believe is relevant to help you in the journey to pick the right career. There’s no commercial reason for us to pick material. We only choose material when we believe it’s good, and test this with our users. For career advice, and who you should listen to, FindMino could be a great catalyst.


Checklist to identify your interests.

Practical: do you like hands-on work, are you down to earth, or rather analytically focused?

Artistic: do they see you as a very creative, even artistic, person; someone who goes against the grain, or are you more scientifically oriented, or enjoy clarity of things;

Social: how much are you oriented towards people: love to socialise; always want to interact, or can perfectly be on your own?

Enterprising: Do you tend to take the lead, are totally fine with taking risks, or do you prefer to leave the initiative to someone else and more like to be a team member, follow thru in perfection?

Investigative: Do you love to dig into a problem, explore stuff into depth, or prefer to watch the main points and work from there?

Organized: What’s you view on structure, on rules. Need them to work well? can’t be bothered?


[1]FindMino run a survey under 300 high school students in the USA, ages 16-19, mid 2018.   

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