A Job Seeker’s Guide to Handling Questionable Advice over the Holidays


The holidays are about meeting up with friends and family and enjoying good food, company, and cheer. If you are currently looking for a new job, your holidays may also involve getting a lot of well-meaning job search advice. While some of it may be stellar, some may be outdated or even counter-productive. The holidays are smoother if you can be gracious though, so here are four tips for handling the less-than-useful advice you may receive:

Be Thankful—and Give Them Assurance You’ll Consider It (Even If You Know You Won’t)

The job search advice you are going to get during the holidays is going to come from a place of caring and love, so make sure you respond accordingly. In the spirit of the season, be thankful for any attempts at help you get and let them know that you appreciate it.

Don’t Shut Down the Conversation—Ask For More

Just because someone gives you some outdated advice or numbers doesn’t mean that they won’t give you some important and path-altering advice later in the conversation. Keep the conversation going and ask for more. Even if you end up walking away with no new insight, you’ll at least know that you’ve made a deeper connection with the person you talked to… which may end up leading to a great employment connection down the line.

Ask Them About Their Job—They May Have Contacts You Can Use

While a friend or family member may be happy to give advice, make sure that you ask them about their professional experiences as well and their current and past employers. Having them talk about their experiences may allow them to remember contacts they haven’t considered. They may have a vendor or a former manager that they can help you connect with.

Rethink the Advice the Following Day

Considering the nature the controlled chaos, the Thanksgiving dinner table is not necessarily the best place to really absorb job search advice you are given. While it may seem like outdated advice when you first heard it, reflection in a quiet moment may allow you to gain a new appreciation on it. Even if it’s not especially pertinent advice to your situation, you may find the advice will give you clarity on other aspects of your search, and give you a new perspective on the path you have taken.

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