Whether you’re a recent or soon-to-be college graduate, you’ve probably noticed one thing: You’re getting a lot of unsolicited job search/career advice. Some of it may actually be helpful (like a reminder to hit pre-spring sales for great interview suits) and some of it may be prehistoric (like your Aunt Doris telling you that what you really need is some sharp-looking letterhead).
But of all the advice you’re getting, the hardest to deal with is the kind that comes with heaping a side of negativity. Unlike the guidance you received in high school, which was pretty much encouraging and motivational, the naysayers out there are going to be telling you all kinds of stuff you don’t want (or need) to hear: how the economy sucks, that you don’t have enough experience, how your plan to open up your own business is stupid, how you might as well just start applying to Starbuck’s and hope they hire you. Some of this feedback may even come wrapped in the guise of good advice, but it has the same result: it makes you feel completely uneasy about your future.
When I was a new college grad, so I was so full of excitement and enthusiasm that when I came across naysayer, I had no idea how to respond. Consequently, their comments usually took the wind right out of my sails. Today, I know that having the right tools lined up will deflect negativity like an invisible force field. Here’s a few of my personal favorite techniques for dealing naysayers during your job search (and beyond).
Fine Tune Your Elevator Pitch
Being armed with a great elevator pitch regarding your plans, your goals, and your particular industry is the best way to stop a naysayer right in their tracks. So for example, when someone tells you: “There are really no jobs in health care right now,” you can respond by saying: “Actually, four of today’s fastest growing positions are in the health care industry.” (It’s true. We looked it up.)
Rally The Troops
There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, starting your career is hard. From job searching to making the transition from student to employee to dealing with work stress, it’s no walk in the park. That’s why you need to rally your support network of friends and family during this time. Don’t be afraid to ask them for what you need: job search advice, a coffee break, a shoulder to cry on. The more you can utilize your support network, the better you’ll feel when confronted by someone oozing negativity.
Get a Mentor
If you played sports in high school, or were involved in any kind of extracurricular activity for that matter, you know the importance of having a coach/mentor. Unlike your parents or your friends, who may know nothing about that career path you’re about to embark on, this person has been down the road you’re traveling and can provide seasoned and relevant career advice. They also provide feedback, encouragement, and a swift kick in the pants when you need it (and let’s be honest, we all need one sometimes). With a solid mentor in your corner, the voices of the naysayers just sort of fade into the background.
Fill Up Your Reserve Tank
As great as friends, family, and mentors are, you can’t have them with you 24-7. You need a few routines or motivational tools to keep at your side as you hunt for openings/start a new job/deal with work stress, and the more you have, the better. To start, know which activities help you calm down during a stressful day (like taking a walk at lunch) or relax in the evening (like watching your favorite show or hitting the gym). I also like to have motivational tools, articles, podcasts, and videos bookmarked for rough afternoons (like this Kid President Pep Talk video that I’m totally in love with).
Here’s one more secret about naysayers: They don’t disappear once you start your first job. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to confront them all along your career path: as you work towards a promotion, as you make a career change, as you try opening your own business. That’s why the sooner you learn to deal with them, the better it will be for your professional life, as well as your mental health.