In addition to being managers and executives, many of my corporate clients also happen to be parents. If they are not only parents but parents of college-aged kids or recent college graduates, what with the number of unemployed college graduates hitting historical highs these days, they can also, on occasion, be… kinda stressed out.
Which is bad: stressed out parents can mean stressed out kids, and stressed out kids (read: job searchers) don’t get hired when it’s a “buyer’s market.”
I can’t change the economy, but I can do something to help parents support their college graduates more effectively, so I have. I’ve put together this video series for parents to help them understand how best to help their kids with the job search. My hope is to help you alleviate some of the stress that job search process is probably bringing to you and your kids by providing some concrete tips. Let me know if it helps!
What’s Wrong with My Kid?! The Neighbor’s Is Working and He’s Not Half As Bright/Special/Talented As Mine!
Nothing’s wrong with your college grad. Getting a job is a process and we all master it in our own sweet time. The only difference with this particular process is that because there’s a paycheck associated with its successful completion (as opposed to a grade, driver’s license, or spot on sports team, say), there’s a lot more pressure to get through it FAST. So let’s go:
10 Steps to Getting Your College Grad a Job
1. Help them understand their value to employers.
The #1 mistake new grads make? They don’t know how to sell themselves to an employer. Here’s what they need to know from you:
2. Help them understand what it means to work for someone else.
It’s not about selling your soul to work for “The Man,” it’s about understanding that the world is a crowded place where independence is a state of mind, not a state of being. Even if you don’t have a “boss,” you still answer to customers, financiers, employees, etc.!
3. Open doors for them, but help them learn to network, too.
Possibly the #1 mistake parents make? Throwing a phone at their kids and expecting them to know how to use it. There’s more to networking than having a phone number! Help your graduate build quality relationships by walking him/her through a networking conversation:
4. Help your grad chillax.
Your offspring’s first job probably won’t be a perfect one… so what? Repeat after me: “No big deal!” There is a broad spectrum of opportunity between “holding out for the perfect job” and “grabbing the first thing that comes my way out of sheer desperation.” Help your graduate get close, and then help him or her understand how to actively make that job as great as possible.
5. Be supportive—as defined by your college graduate.
There’s a world of difference between “well-intended” and “truly helpful”… during stressful times, when we tend to get lost in our own heads, it’s good to be reminded of how to tell those two things apart. (Never saw/read Misery? IMDb is your friend!) Here y’are:
6. Get additional resources to help your graduate hone those job skills.
It’s been a long time since you’ve been entry level… so if there are aspects of the job you can no longer relate to, consider signing your graduate up for Found Your Career, a 21-day course designed to help entry level job seekers learn and practice things like researching, networking, and interviewing. This product was a collaboration between myself and Willy Franzen of One Day, One Job… check it out!
7. Help your graduate set realistic job search goals.
Goal setting is where attitude and action meet. Getting started and avoiding the 3 false gods of goal setting can be tricky… Here’s a good place to start:
Success starts with your attitude. It sounds trite, but it’s true… you probably know from your years of experience that while the right attitude doesn’t guarantee success, a bad attitude all but guarantees failure. Still, your kid—who’s in a hurry to act now! now! now!—may not have the patience to cultivate a winner’s attitude. With empathy and a smile, you can help set a better tone:
Look for a job the right way, and the search itself creates the job opportunity. Have your college grad check out One Day, One Job for great insights on companies and about how to approach the job search:
The best way to practice for that big interview? Always be interviewing! The added bonus of this approach is that, when you find yourself talking with someone who can help you, you won’t suddenly be remorseful about your decision a moment earlier to pick your nose.
What More You Can Do to Help Your College Grad
The world right now needs as many entry-level job seeker success stories as we can create… For step-by-step instructions on how to create one, subscribe to Found Your Career, a program I developed in conjunction with Willy Franzen of OneDayOneJob.com.
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.