The celebrations, the speeches, the excitement…that is the best part of enjoying college graduation. They come home, unload a ridiculous amount of stuff, and need a well-deserved break from the stress of school.
But then the feeling sets in…how long are you supposed to wait, or tiptoe around the subject, that your grad needs to search for a job? You want to give them the space they need to process the last four years, but the topic needs to be addressed at some point.
As a parent who has lived through this with my own college grad, here are my tips as an expert…and a mom.
6 tips to help guide your grad to find a job
1. Have the conversation
Talk with them when they are ready, and usually after some time off. I also find that feeding them a favorite meal first can be helpful. Even taking a drive where you don’t have to look them in the eye but they are “trapped” in the car with you can work as well. Before speaking, ask them what they are thinking about or have on their mind about the job search process.
2. Start with their skills
Your first thought may be to tell them to call or apply for jobs online. Instead, help them clarify what skills they can bring to an employer first. It’s tough for young adults to have this self-awareness. They might say, “Well, I’m hard-working and responsible.”
Instead, help them hone in on what they know how to do and how they actually do it with an example from school work or an internship. Are they analytical? Are they great writers? Creative? Problem solvers? Help them figure out what that is. And help them pick their top 3 skills.
3. Reach out…with a plan
Your first instinct may be to connect them with a friend or colleague who can lead them to a job. Referrals are great. However, your grad needs to be prepared when meeting anyone you may introduce them to. Parents often make introductions, and the kids blow it because they are too casual and think mom or dad would take care of things. Referrals with preparation have the most success.
4. Encourage them to network
People like hiring people they’ve met or have something in common. Suggest they reach out to alumni who are receptive to speaking with grads. LinkedIn is a great platform to access alumni. When speaking with an alumnus, they should ask questions, seek common ground, be curious, and be willing to learn.
5. Stress professionalism
A hiring executive told me, “It takes 5 minutes to make an impression and 2 seconds to get rid of it.” Re-enforce expected manners, such as making good eye contact and showing appreciation for the meeting. They should be dressed professionally…even if the video call or workplace they visit is casual. Be sure they clean up their social media profile if the employer decides to “google” them.
6. And most importantly, they should send a thank-you note
Twenty-four hours after every meeting, they should send a thank you note to the people they met with.
Parents often give great advice; it’s hard for grads to hear since it comes from Mom or Dad. The job search is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience and persistence will yield success.
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