5 pieces of career advice from your parents that you should really listen to

Ngaire Moyes

Parents. Where would we be without them? From helping with homework and picking up the pieces after your first heartbreak to a leg up on the housing ladder, we turn to them for advice and support time and time again.



According to research from LinkedIn, though, one area that we’re not tapping into is their wisdom on careers. One in three parents don’t understand what their child does for a living and more than a third don’t share their professional advice.

As professionals, we face a range of pressures in our careers, so why aren’t we getting more guidance from our parents? Well, LinkedIn found that parents are often held back by not understanding their child’s job enough and, when the findings show that 15 per cent of us have never thanked our mums and dads for their support, it’s clear there’s work to be done on both sides.

LinkedIn's Director of Communications, Ngaire Moyes, shares with us the five pieces of advice that parents LinkedIn surveyed thought were most important… and they might just boost your career:

1. Treat your mistakes as opportunities

Of the parents we surveyed, almost half (43 per cent) felt that problem solving was the most useful professional skill they could pass on to their children. Mistakes may be unpleasant or embarrassing, but they also offer an opportunity to learn and develop. Don’t be afraid of including professional challenges you’ve faced on your LinkedIn profile – and emphasise how you have overcome them.

2. Tidy life, tidy mind

Our research shows that 42 per cent of parents think their children should focus on organizational skills. Being organized should be more than a 'nice to have' – and it’s something you can showcase on your LinkedIn profile by ensuring it’s up to date and giving it a spring clean every few months. You can even set reminders for getting in touch with old colleagues or contacts - find systems that work for you and implement them.

3. Don’t lose your integrity

It may not be a ‘skill’ as such, but more than a third of the parents we spoke to believe that integrity is a key attribute for succeeding at work. When speaking to potential employers it’s always best to be transparent, and this applies to both the online and offline worlds. Focus on showing why your existing experience and achievements make you a great employee or colleague, and avoid the temptation to exaggerate or invent others.

4. Work to live, don’t live to work

We’re all seeking a perfect work-life balance, and it’s a challenging thing to achieve. If you find you don’t have time for your interests, it might be worth considering a ‘portfolio career’ and combining a number of different part-time roles rather than limiting yourself to one.

5. Harness the power of perseverance

The parents we surveyed understood that the things in life most worth having don’t always come easy: 36 per cent wanted to tell their children to never give up. Whether you’ve got your sights set on a promotion or are looking for a new opportunity, you can use LinkedIn to identify people in your dream job and find out how they got there, or find people who used to work in your area and see where their career has taken them. And, if you need extra support, don’t forget about your parents!

Looking for more career inspo? It's not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire's @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.

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