You’re on the job market, and the holidays are coming. You know what this means: an endless parade of friends and relatives asking for updates. Your catty uncle, kooky aunt, competitive cousin, and ex-girlfriend’s BFF will all sidle up to you at some point and offer some variation of the same annoying question. “How’s the job search?”, “What are you doing for work these days?”, “Do you want my advice? I’ll give it to you anyway…” and so on. But before you close down and protect your ego by pushing your closest friends and family out of your business, think twice. Walking away will prevent an uncomfortable two-minute conversation, for sure. And you might enjoy those two minutes more if you scuttle off and refresh your drink. But instead, consider a fearless approach that requires absolute confidence in who you are and what you’re doing at this point in your life. Keep these considerations in mind, and you may just find that you’ve opened a door to an opportunity you never imagined existed.
1. Offer the benefit of the doubt, and you’ll (probably) get the same in return.
Yes, you aunt may be needling you by asking about your search, but could she also just be simply making polite conversation or even be genuinely interested. Assume the best possible motivation regardless of the reality. Don’t tighten up and close down until you really have a reason, and even then, just don’t do it. She’s your aunt, not your mortal enemy. Relax. Own your story, and share it with those who profess to love you and care about you. It often happens that these people know less about your career and abilities than you initially thought.
2. Be proud of who you are and what you’re doing.
The fact that you’re looking for work means you’re energetic and ambitious and you’re trying to take care of yourself and make the best use of your valuable skills. Looking for work is a positive thing. Be proud of your ambition and determination. Show it off.
3. Be generous.
When someone asks you what kind of work you’re looking for, or what you do, or what you want to do, tell them. Questions about your job search are not overtly personal or intrusive. This topic is well within the bounds of polite inquiry, and it pays to be generous and forthcoming with your response. Sharing your needs can help others to help you, so give them that chance. Until you ask, you never know what others might know or how they might be able to connect you to hidden opportunities.
4. Be ready to pitch yourself.
You may not want to aggressively buttonhole a stranger and work them over for job leads, but you also don’t want to let the season pass without extending yourself a little bit and putting your trust in the support network that lies all around you. Have your elevator pitch ready, that 2-minute talk that gives people a clear idea of the unique value you can bring to a position, and don’t be afraid to unleash it when that high-powered family friend or uber connected auntie from the opposite coast comes for dinner. They’ll likely be impressed and even more motivated to help you with your job search. — For more on how to make the most of the holiday season and have fun while also moving your job search forward, review the tips and guidelines on MyPerfectResume.
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