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 at some point, the topic needs to be addressed.
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
Have a conversation 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 just make some phone calls or start applying for jobs online. Instead, help them get clarity on what skills they can bring to an employer first. It’s very hard for young adults to have this self-awareness. They might say, “Well, I’m hard working and I’m responsible.”
Instead, help them hone in on not only what they know how to do but 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. All too often parents make introductions and the kids blow it because they were too casual and thought mom or dad would take care of things. Referrals with preparation have the most success.
4. Encourage them to network
People like to hire people that they’ve met or have something in common with. Suggest they reach out to alumni who tend to be 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 are visiting is casual. Be sure they clean up their social media profile in case 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 just hard for grads to hear it since it comes from Mom or Dad. The job search is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience and persistence will yield success.
More Great Reading:
How to Help Your College Student With a Job Search: 7 Tips From Experts