Common career myths

Think you have to go to university to get a good job? Stuck but can't change? We bust some common career myths.

I have to make the right decision now and I have to stick to it

You may not be sure about what you want to do now and that's fine as you may change your career many times in your life.

What is important is that you:

  • find a job, free course or travel in the meantime
  • keep talking to people about how they found the right career for them
  • keep exploring your options.

I can't get into the work I like because there are too few opportunities

Getting into the work you want can be challenging and competitive. But opportunities still exist.

To get into the work you want when jobs are limited:

  • network and develop contacts in the industry
  • take on a related job to get industry experience and make contacts
  • start at the bottom, for example, if you want to be a manager, start as one of the staff
  • do the work in your spare time, for example, if you want to be in the film industry, make your own films and put them online.

Getting a university education is necessary to get a good job

There are a wide range of great job opportunities that don't involve university or huge student loans. 

Opportunities include:

  • Workplace training – where you study towards a qualification while working (anaesthetic technician)
  • Apprenticeships – where you train towards a trade while working (plumber)
  • Defence – where you train towards a trade while doing defence training (avionics technician/airforce man/woman)
  • Fees-free courses – where you do pre-trade training or study for a job for free 
  • Entrepreneurship – where you run a business or start-up (food truck owner).

Other people can stop me from doing the kind of work I like

Sometimes your family/whānau or friends don't share your opinion on the right career for you.

If this happens:

  • try to understand why they feel this way by asking more questions
  • think about why they hold this opinion. Could they have some good reasons?
  • do your research to show you're making an informed decision
  • share your reasons for choosing this career calmly.

If you've done your research and made a plan, you can choose the career that feels right for you.

I should know what I want to do and so should my child

You don't have to know what you should do right now. The world of work is constantly changing so not knowing what you want to do can open you to new experiences and different ideas.

Keep talking to people about their careers, trying new things and exploring career options.

I don't have to start at the bottom if I have a degree

University will give you a qualification, knowledge, skills and sometimes relevant work experience, but in the workplace other things are required before you can get a top position and salary. 

In the workplace you will need to learn:

  • the rules and culture
  • how things are run and what it delivers
  • knowledge and skills specific to your role 
  • relevant relationship building and leadership skills.

It's the school's responsibility to talk about careers

Schools need to provide career advice to students, but family often have the most influence over what career is chosen.

It's important to talk to your children about careers and help them work out their skills and interests.

I'll get the job I train for

Sometimes you can't get into the job you train for. For example, a graduate nurse may not be able to find work as there are too many graduate nurses and hospitals are only hiring experienced nurses.

When this happens:

  • find related work in the meantime, for example, a registered nurse could find work as a health care assistant
  • offer to do work experience for employers to increase your chances of finding work
  • join industry associations and go along to network events
  • contact us for job hunting tips or career planning advice.

You might need to get a higher qualification for some industries. For example, graduates with a Bachelor of Science may find it easier to get work in science research if they have a masters degree.

I'll have my job forever

It's highly unlikely that your job will stay the same forever.

This could be due to:

  • new technology changing how you do your job
  • new technology doing your job for you
  • changes to the economy
  • new ways of working.

You can prepare yourself for changes to your job by making sure you:

  • keep up to date with changes in your industry
  • train to update your skills and keep up with new technology
  • develop your transferable skills, the skills you can take to any workplace
  • retrain if your industry may be at risk of losing jobs due to automation.

Updated 3 Jul 2018