Last week I wrote about how to use holiday gatherings for career networking. For most people, the holidays inevitably bring more contact with another network: your family. If your family is anything like mine, the holidays offer a perfect opening for questions like, “When are you going to get married/ have a baby/ buy a house/ cut your hair …”—whatever. If you’re out of work, this familial concern is bound to focus on your job search at some point. To manage the stress that can come from these questions, try to address your relatives one of three ways:
We all have relatives who just aren’t a helpful resource for us. This may include the retirees in your family, or stay-at-home moms who have been out of the workforce for 15 years. Realistically, someone who hasn’t had to look for a job within the last decade is just not going to understand what it’s like out there today. When you encounter these relatives, it’s best to deflect them with a generic comment such as, “Oh, I’m still looking!” or, “I’ve gotten some good leads lately!” and then change the subject.
Offer minimal information
Many times your relatives out in the workforce are eager to help you find work, but they just don’t have the connections or understanding of your career to be of much assistance. You can spot these relatives when they can’t really explain what their spouses or children do for a living. Since you, too, will probably be described as “Oh, he does something in finance”, you want to give these people a very succinct sound bite. For example, you can tell them that you’re looking for a job in “health care accounting”. Even if they don’t process the information, it will make sense to someone else when your relative tells them how you’re doing.
Make a connection
Some of your relatives will probably have a professional or personal network that could help you. They may also have prior experience as a hiring manager or supervisor that would allow them to provide you with helpful advice. You can spot these relatives when they ask you probing questions about the type of work you’ve done and what interests you professionally. With these family members, make sure you’re connected on LinkedIn, and offer to send them a copy of your resume in case they run across someone to whom they can forward it.
All of your relatives wish the best for you and are eager to help you with your job search. Be prepared during the holidays for questions about how things are going, and learn to recognize which people can help you and which are just curious.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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