The holidays are around the corner, and that means you can count on well-meaning family members to ask questions you might not want to answer! That’s why I’m going to go over exactly how to respond when loved ones keep asking about your job search.
I know as a job seeker, having someone ask if you’ve found a job yet for what feels like the hundredth time is so painful- especially as the months progress and you don’t have that final positive outcome to share. Every time you answer that question and you’re sharing the same thing, it almost feels like a broken record. It can be incredibly frustrating to have to rehash all the woes of your job search time and time again.
So if this resonates with you, just know that you are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with protecting yourself from receiving this question repeatedly. I’m going to break down how to put boundaries in place so you don’t continue getting this question, and ultimately turn this into a win-win situation. Let’s do this! You can continue reading along below or watch this video instead.
How to Respond When Loved Ones Keep Asking About Your Job Search
Let Down Your Guard
As frustrating as the question can be, I just want to remind you that when people ask you how your job search is going, they’re actually coming from a well-intended place. This means that they really care about you! And unfortunately, it’s the only way they know how to express that they’re thinking about you or that they remember you need help in a certain area. So as frustrating and as terrible as this question can be, keep in mind that it’s actually coming from a good place. So just know that when people are asking you that question, you can let down your defense mechanism. Remember, this person isn’t trying to hurt you. They just don’t know the right question to ask. Hopefully, that mindset will help you to be in a good place as you give them the response we’re about to go over.
In order to answer this question, I’m going to break it down into two parts. The first part is about sharing with them what your situation is and what you’re looking for. And then the second part is about setting boundaries so that they don’t continue to ask. So let’s go over the first part, since again, this person is asking because they mean to help you.
Sharing Your Situation
This is a really great chance and opportunity for you to share why you’re having such challenges and explain what you’re looking for. And this way, if they can’t help you, then they’re probably going to stop asking the question! But if they can help you because they know exactly what you’re looking for, they’re going to start to expand their network and introduce you to certain people, which is phenomenal.
This might sound like:
“Thank you so much for asking. I am so glad you asked because it has actually been more difficult than I initially anticipated. What I’m really looking for is…”
From this point, you can describe your dream job as closely and as detailed as possible so they can help you with making introductions to either the companies you want to join or people in the specific industry you’re in. You can continue on by asking them to connect you:
“Do you by chance know anybody that you can introduce me to? I would greatly appreciate any connections or introductions that you’re able to make.”
Establishing A Boundary Line
With this statement, you can essentially recruit the person who has been asking you about your job search as somebody who could possibly help you expand your opportunities. To finish, you can close by politely yet clearly setting your expectations. If your goal is to set a boundary of privacy during your job search, you can do so with a simple statement like this:
“I appreciate you asking about this. When I get my dream job and have signed the official offer letter, you’ll be one of the first people I notify.”
You can put this into your own words, but you’ll essentially want to make it obvious to them that you’ll be the one to take initiative when it comes to communicating in regard to your job situation. Unless this person does make a connection for you or has some similar way of tangibly helping you, they should not be asking this same question again!
Although family and friends are almost always well-meaning, it’s healthy to set boundaries in order to protect yourself. No matter what type of question you are dreading being asked, you can use this template we just went over with your own words. The bottom line is that you’ll be sharing a bit about what you’re going through, but also following up with a statement that clearly establishes what you want communication to look like in the future. I hope this simple script helps give you an idea of how to approach these conversations during the holiday season!