12 career experts share the best job advice they’ve ever received

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  • Career advice can come from anywhere and everywhere, from your family and friends to your colleagues and bosses.
  • You can also learn career dos and don’ts from trial and error.
  • Here, 12 career experts share the best job advice they’ve received.

Whether you’re settled into a lifelong career or just starting your first job, it never hurts to get advice.

Ngoc Nguyen, a career coach at Ama La Vida, spoke to Business Insider about how you can seek out career advice from a variety of sources, including “family, colleagues, managers, mentors, books, or speakers.”

“It’s not always what you’re told, but could also be actions you observe throughout your life,” she said.

Nguyen suggested thinking of advice like feedback. “It’s a gift, and you can choose what you want to do with it,” she said. “You can act on it right away, be inspired to do something else, or just put it in your back pocket for a rainy day.”

Here, Nguyen and 10 other career experts share the best job advice they’ve ever received. The responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

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1. Do something you enjoy

1. Do something you enjoy

Someone said to me early on, “Find something you enjoy doing.” When you enjoy what you do, you’re more effective. It’s that simple. When you enjoy the people you work with and what you’re doing, time just passes effortlessly — it doesn’t feel like work and you’re willing to go the extra mile. Sometimes it takes time to find a great fit, but it’s always worth it.

Tom Murry, former CEO of Calvin Klein

2. Be curious and ask questions

2. Be curious and ask questions

No matter what career stage you are in, whether you are looking for your first post-grad job or have years of experience on your resume, it’s important to never stop learning. Be curious and ask questions.

Many people find themselves paralyzed by the fear of not seeming smart or qualified enough for the job, but even the most successful professionals are constantly asking questions to help inform how they do their jobs, build their confidence, and propel them forward.

— Sarah Stoddard, senior public relations specialist at Glassdoor

3. Say ‘yes’ to the scary stuff

3. Say 'yes' to the scary stuff

Another career coach once told me to say “yes” to things you don’t think you can do. Whether it’s applying for a higher-level job, taking on a new task at work, or learning a difficult new skill, one of the best ways to rapidly level-up or advance your career is to say “yes” to the scary stuff.

This might mean accepting an offer when it’s given to you or proactively suggesting something you’d like to take on. It’s not that you shouldn’t be scared to do these things — be scared and do them anyway.

 Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs

5. Be a team player

5. Be a team player

Be a team player, but make sure you are not always the one offering to do the office “housework” — planning the company picnic or holiday party — especially if you’re a woman, as we disproportionately volunteer for unpaid, unrewarded office tasks.

Speaking of being a team player, honor relationships with your colleagues, your clients, and yourself. In this age of technology, left to our own devices (excuse the pun), we aren’t connecting. So, be intentional and build relationships. That is what ultimately moves you forward not only in your career, but in your life.

— Erica Keswin, a workplace strategist, former executive coach, and author of the forthcoming book “Bring Your Human to Work

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