Sometimes great advice comes at a premium, and you get what you pay for. But sometimes, thanks to the internet age, truly valuable wisdom can flow onto our screens and into our ears for free.
We love some of the career advice we find on YouTube (Though not all of it. “Buyer beware” still applies, even when the cost is nothing). Some of our favorite YouTubers include Marie Forelo (https://www.youtube.com/user/marieforleo), Linda Raynier (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXUyg1vYSupswhi0zNeD-5w), Glennon Doyle Melton (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=BpBnGHjda14), Angela Davis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=BZ-d1FrEoE4), and Aileen Xu (https://www.youtube.com/user/Lavendaire). Click on any of their links and you’ll see for yourself what they have to offer: tips; wisdom; personal examples; personal stories; warmth; compassion; statistics; and hard realities for working people looking for ways to get ahead. Want to find your own trusted internet resources? Look for these, plus the qualities below:
Significance beyond the speaker’s own life.
Captivating speakers and YouTubers can grab your attention by talking about themselves … but do they ever move beyond their personal narratives and shift gears to a universal plane? Do they process and share what they’ve learned in ways that can help others? Can they speak to your life as well as their own?
Does the speaker have what you want?
A 22-year-old expert on career growth and workplace management may have some smart tips to share. But based on their age and timeline alone, how much practical help have they really gained from these tips? It’s one thing to carefully curate tidbits collected from the world at large, but it’s something else altogether to apply these tips, test them, discard the myths and fluff and keep the truths and lessons. This takes years of trial, error, mistakes and faith, and if the speaker hasn’t gotten there yet, take their words with a grain of salt.
Does the speaker share more than just one thing?
Some speakers on YouTube give excellent career advice—but the more you listen, the more you realize you’re hearing the same recommendation over and over, packaged in different words. For example, a speaker who constantly repackages the message that “goal setting is important” is definitely not wrong. It is! But not always. And it’s not the MOST important thing. And every piece of advice comes with context and nuance.
Is the speaker answering your questions?
Say you’re dealing with a difficult boss who may be biased against your identity group. In this case, you need practical advice and legal guidance, maybe some information that can get you out of that job and into something better. Don’t spend your time listening to a speaker who tells you to work harder or please your boss by changing yourself. That’s not the answer. Don’t let a YouTube video make you question your own reality. There are plenty of gurus out there—when one isn’t helping, turn to another.
For more on how to find and process career advice, turn to the experts (for real!) at PSU.