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Survey Reveals Who Gives the Worst Career Advice: Friends and Parents Top the List

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Think twice before taking career advice from your BFF. In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, two-thirds (66 percent) of workers said they've received bad career advice, and friends (35 percent) were the most likely to give them a bum steer. Other common purveyors of questionable career guidance included parents (14 percent), followed by siblings or other family members (10 percent).

Following is a sampling of the worst career advice* workers surveyed said they'd received and the person who provided it:

  • "Lie on your resume, they expect you to." – Friend
  • "Be conservative in your work so you're not given too many responsibilities." – Friend
  • "Make your resume very detailed and very long." – Friend
  • "Stick it out as long as possible, even if you hate it." – Parent
  • "Don't practice for the interview." – Parent
  • "Don't be friends with coworkers." – Parent
  • "Apply absentmindedly without doing research." – Career counselor
  • "Take credit for others' work so you can get ahead." – Mentor
  • "Stay in a role rather than grow within the company." – Boss
  • "Respond with the first thing that pops into your head during an interview." – Sibling or other family member

*Some responses were edited for clarity.

Workers who had received bad career advice were asked, "Who provided it to you?" Their responses:





Sibling or other family member


Educator (professor/teacher)


Career counselor














View a slideshow of the survey findings.

"Whether you're a first-time job seeker, an experienced professional trying to climb the career ladder or someone looking for a career change, it's not uncommon to ask a trusted confidante for guidance," said Mike Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps. "Friends and family members typically have good intentions, but they may steer you in the wrong direction."

Steinitz added, "Cast a wide net when reaching out to those in your network, and ask specific questions pertaining to each person's experience. Weigh all the pros and cons in any situation and make the decision based on what is best for your career and your personal priorities."

To counteract the bad advice noted by the survey respondents, Accountemps offers five time-tested career tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Research the company and tailor your resume before applying for a job, practice responses to tough interview questions, and arrive early for the interview or your first day.
  2. Be honest and act with a clear conscience. Never bend the truth in your application materials. If your fib is uncovered, it could do long-term damage to your reputation. And always act with integrity. If something feels questionable, it's probably a bad idea.
  3. Prepare for salary negotiations. Money can be a sensitive subject. Look to resources such as Robert Half's Salary Guides and government and industry reports to research compensation trends for your area.
  4. Consider a change. Feeling unhappy in your current role? Compile a list of what's stopping you from being satisfied. If you find you are no longer in love with your position, it may be time to launch a job search.
  5. Challenge yourself. No matter what stage of your career you are at, set professional goals and re-evaluate them when necessary. If you're comfortable in your position, take on stretch assignments to expand your skills and expertise.

About the Research
The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has 325 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company's blog, can be found at


SOURCE Accountemps

For further information: Bianca De Rose, 650.234.6022,