Help Not Wanted? The Right Way to Seek Career Advice

If you’re just embarking on your career, especially if you’re involved with an internship, you will likely find that LOTS of people want to give you advice.


Because most of the staffers and supervisors you work with today were in exactly the same place you are at one time. They were new, possibly clueless, confused… maybe a little scared.

If somebody is willing to give you their advice, and especially if you seek out their advice, make sure you receive their advice in the right way. Even if you think what they are telling you is crazy – listen.

On more than one occasion I’ve had a student ask me for advice. So, I schedule a time to meet with them, and take time to look at their resume. When the time comes, though, the student isn’t really prepared to have a productive conversation about their career.

When this happens I’m not only annoyed that time has been wasted, but it’s now unlikely that I’ll go out of my way to help further. And, I won’t recommend that student to anybody else in the working world. Essentially, their request for help has backfired.

On the other hand, when a student seeks my advice and comes to me extremely prepared, I’m inspired. I give them all the advice I can. I spend all kinds of time with them. More than that – if for no other reason than to justify the value of the advice I’ve given – I’ll go far out of my way to help a student be successful.

See how that works?

If you ask for help or advice… be prepared. Be engaged. Be passionate about your career.

And I’ll be there to help every step of the way.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at!


About the Author: Eric Woodard is the author of “Your Last Day of School: 56 Ways You Can Be A Great Intern and Turn Your Internship Into a Job”. He is also founder of, a site that teaches students to be successful during internships. Eric has created and managed internship programs for the White House and U.S. Senate and consulted with a variety of national non-profit clients to create and manage successful internship programs. Over the years Eric received zillions of thank you notes from interns, and has kept every single one. Follow Eric on Twitter!



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