Try the curly fries. Don’t go with that paint color. SUVs are better than cars. People give advice so freely that most of them don’t even know they’re doing it.
For recent college grads, tidbits of guidance can start to wear you down. From college counselors to anxious parents to encouraging professors, everyone wants to play a role in your success. But the advice can be overwhelming, especially when it conflicts.
It might help to put all that advice through a filter. Here are a few hints on how you can do that. If you will, some advice on advice:
1. Ask the Right People (a.k.a Consider the Source)
It can be easy to think your friends and family are the best people to ask for job advice. Starting your career is daunting, and choosing your first job can have a huge impact on the rest of your career. Those close to you probably know you better than most people, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best.
Better yet, speak with people in your intended field. This includes professors and recent college grads who are doing what you want to do. Your professors will be able to give you the practical knowledge, but newer employees will be able to give you a more practical idea of what you’re getting into.
2. Watch Your Wording
You can influence a person’s opinion by how you phrase a question or statement, so be sure to be as unbiased as possible. Humans have a tendency to say what they think another person wants to hear. If you’re giving off a vibe of doubt about a possible job, your mom might talk you out of it because she thinks you will regret the decision. What you want is unbiased opinion.
3. Learn to Listen
This means actually listen to everything, not just the stuff you agree with. The point of advice is to help you understand something you’re unsure about. You can’t do that by only listening to bits and pieces. Ask questions about what you don’t understand and make sure to argue both sides if you feel the person you’re speaking with isn’t looking at the whole picture.
4. Sleep on It
Speaking with someone doesn’t mean you have to make a decision immediately after your conversation. You should actually speak to multiple people when you need advice. After you listen to what each person says, take a day or two to think everything over. This prevents you from making rash decisions.
5. Ask Yourself
Finally, you need to consider your own advice. Others can offer some insight you don’t have access to, but you’re the one who will be affected by your decision. You need to make sure you completely understand all sides and the consequences for each possible choice. If everyone is telling you to do something you don’t feel is the right move for you, look at your other options.
It can sometimes feel easier to ask a Magic 8 Ball for advice when you have to make a major career decision, but taking the time to talk to several knowledgeable people makes a huge difference.
If you get overwhelmed, write down each person’s main points and sort them into pros and cons. Don’t forget to include your own opinion. You may think an entry-level sales job isn’t really your thing, but after speaking with others you may realize it’s the perfect fit.