This is a guest post from a fantastic resource called Ivy Exec, which is a selective online career network for top performers that provides access to hand-picked executive jobs and professional development tools to a community of 185,000+ carefully selected professionals. We all love to get positive feedback when we do something well. It makes us feel great about ourselves. But when it comes to looking for a job, you sometimes get more than your fair share of negative feedback. And that can be hard to deal with. We often tend to hone in on the criticisms others offer. These criticisms can seem to outweigh and overshadow the many positive things people have said with virtually the same breath.
While you’re searching for a job, you receive feedback on your resume, interviews, and/or your overall job search. We have definitely noticed that if you’re in a prolonged job search, the negative feedback can add up and weigh you down. It can make you lose that spring in your step, procrastinate over applying for positions, hesitate to work your network, and over think your next interview so much that it goes flat.
While the details vary for each job seeker, we’ve found a number of overarching themes that will help you process and overcome negative feedback. Here are some specific ways to deal with feedback during your search so you can fully focus on getting that dream job without breaking your stride:
- WHO gives the feedback matters- If a hiring manager or recruiter is giving you advice, their comments carry extra weight with regard to a particular position and your overall job search. However, if the person giving the feedback does not know your industry, or hasn’t searched for a job for a long time, then be cautious about implementing their advice. It just might not be as relevant for you.
- Do not take feedback personally… – If you do get “constructive” feedback on your search, do not let it affect you negatively and burst your bubble. Searching for a job is only one aspect of your life. It does not define the whole YOU. In these times it is the norm, rather than the exception, for people to go through multiple job searches over the course of their careers. The important takeaway is to discard the unhelpful feedback, absorb the useful input, try to implement it, and keep moving forward.
- Ask questions…many questions – This will help you obtain more specifics on areas that need work, clarify any input that is “murky,” and will clearly demonstrate that you are interested in improving. Actively asking questions will also help you probe and assess the validity of any criticisms. When you actively engage in questioning, the person giving you feedback may be more willing to work with you to implement the feedback, and to provide more input in the future. By questioning, you may well add a fan to your following, if not a mentor.
- Counter the negative feedback with positive action… – You can prevent negative feedback from overwhelming you by focusing on things that are going well –either in your job search or in other parts of your life. Make sure that your job search doesn’t define your life and YOU. Keep it in perspective and make sure it isn’t the only thing you do, but just one of many. A great addition to your schedule would be adding regular exercise to your routine. Or, take that photography class you’ve always wanted to take, but couldn’t find time for. Invest some time and effort in your outward appearance to give yourself a boost of confidence. A haircut, a new suit, or even focusing on your posture will help you feel more confident when facing any negative feedback that may come your way.
Every one of us has had to face negative feedback in our lives. If it is merited, use it as a springboard to become even better at your job search. The next time you receive negative feedback, if it’s valid, meet it head on and make the most of it. Remember, it’s not what was said that matters in the long run. It’s what you did with it.