When you’re trying to do something great — or even something just a little above average — you’ll always face haters.

Haters are people who criticize you for having ambitions, just focus on the negative.

Many times these people are sincerely trying to help you. But their “help” comes in the form of discouraging and negative words.

Here are some ways you can turn your haters into helpers. At the end I tell how I used haters to help me get a job as a software developer!

Motivation

You should use the haters to motivate greater success.

I completed a bachelor’s degree in software development in six months. I had people tell me it would not be possible to finish so quickly and I should make my goals more reasonable. This just gave me extra motivation to accomplish my goals. It feels great to prove someone wrong!

So when someone lets you know you can’t do something, prove them wrong. Use their words as motivation to push yourself to accomplish your goals.

Learn from the haters

Like I mentioned earlier, many people that seem like haters are actually just trying to help. It is important to consider criticism before just dismissing it.

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” — Hillary Clinton

You should be humble enough to learn from anybody. While sometimes you should ignore criticism and negative words, you should always consider them first. Even the most hateful words can have a nugget of truth. It is important to learn from criticism without taking it personally.

I’ve been creating JavaScript training videos and posting them to YouTube. I have learned quite a bit from the comments that people leave on the videos.

Here’s one comment I received:

“There are a bunch of mistakes in almost every video you make.” — a YouTube commenter

To be fair, that person did begin with, “Beau, I love your videos.” But critical comments don’t always start off that way.

I’m actually grateful when people point out mistakes or tell me better ways of doing things. It’s a great opportunity to learn! Everything I’ve learned from creating videos (and getting criticized) has helped me in my recent round of job interviews.

It would be nice if YouTube had a feature where you could fix a mistake without having to delete and re-upload the video, but I don’t think this is going to happen soon. So in my case, learning from my mistakes is the best I can do.

The Relevant Resume

Haters helped me get my job.

There were other things that also helped me get the job. But here’s how negative comments and internet trolls helped me in a direct way.

Jeff Scardino developed an idea called the relevant resume. Instead of filling your resume with accomplishments, you include job failures, bad references, non-skills, and missed honors.

Scardino recommends that your entire resume be filled with your failures. Many people have had success using a resume like this. It makes your resume stand out when employers are looking through many (almost identical) resumes.

I used a modification of this idea in my resume during my recent successful job search. Much of my resume was about how my experience and education was perfect for the position. You know, the standard boring stuff.

But I also included ‘bad references’. I used the following bad references with links to the original comment:

“So you went to a fourth tier school and are shipping software that compiles but may not work. I strongly suggest you stay in teaching. #FAIL!” — a commenter on one of my Medium articles
“your explanations really need some work. there has been a lack of clarity in at least half of your videos that i’ve watched so far.” — a YouTube commenter

I figured this would set my resume apart and when people clicked through to see the comments in context, and it would end up reflecting positively on me. Also, I hoped it would communicate how much I value honesty and transparency.

Not everybody I told about this resume idea thought I should go through with it. But my desire to prove them wrong motivated me even more. 😎

I got positive feedback about this section on my resume from many employers, including the company that ended up hiring me. And here’s what the CEO of another tech company said about that part of my resume:

“You’re the first person that had a bad references section on their resumes that I’ve encountered. It was a welcome departure from the norms. Thank you for being honest, courageous, and open.” — a personal e-mail from a tech CEO

Here is the actual resume I used, minus my phone number. Free free to use the format.

I can’t wait to discover the benefit I get from the negative comments made on this article!