From Diploma to Desk: Job-Hunting Tips for the Parents of New Grads

Published Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:59 PM

The valedictories are done, your new grad suitably feted. Next on the agenda: job-hunting 101. Given the state of the economy-high unemployment, dismal growth-it's natural for grads and their parents to wonder if the hard-earned (and expensive) diploma will translate into a decent paying job.

The good news is that a college or graduate degree is still a major marketing tool, providing job seekers with door-opening credentials. Parents wishing to lend a hand during an off-spring's job should keep four key points in mind.

Guide, Not Micromanage: The name on the top of the resume is not your own, so act accordingly. Resist the urge to micromanage all aspects of the job hunt. While it's okay to work your network to generate job leads, your offspring needs to take control of making the outreach phone calls, conducting research and writing thank-yous, etc. What prospective employer wants to hear from a parent?

In Loco Parentis: While parents should take a back-seat in the job hunt, they would do well to encourage their job-hunters to seek expert advice elsewhere. Suggest your offspring utilize the school career counseling office for tips on resume writing and professional thank-yous. Also, family and friends with professional experience can be good resources for advice and job-hunting protocol.

U Need 2 B Professional: Generation 20-Something has been reared on the informality and short-hand of texts and iChat. Reinforce the idea that a different standard of formality applies in the business world. If possible, print out copies of emails or letters from job applicants from your own work. Bring your child to lunch or meetings at your office so they can get a first-hand look at how the work world dresses and interacts. If possible, offer to buy an interview suit or modest skirt and heels. First-impressions go a long way in determining how a job applicant fares, equip your off-spring to make a great one.

Support Resume Building: When paying jobs are in short supply, prospective candidates can buttress their skills with unpaid internships or graduate work. While not all parents can foot the bill for unpaid work, providing room and board can make unpaid stints, or continuing education, feasible. If possible, encourage your graduate to complement volunteer work or internships with a paying job, no matter the field. Learning to pay the bills is a crucial life skill and prospective employers respect gainful employment.

Finally, remember that job-hunting can be extremely stressful. Be a source of support for your grad by sharing your own experience and what you've learned from your career trajectory. Lend an ear when appropriate, sometimes a sympathetic listener is all that's needed.



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