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Graduation Will Be Here Soon: Advice for Parents

Guest blog by Hannah Morgan

If have a senior in college or know someone who does, the clock is ticking. There is much to MP900427709 celebrate in the coming weeks. But before you get caught in the pomp and circumstance of the event, can I remind you of something....they need a job and you are probably going to need to help them!  Here are 12 ways you can help them be more successful in job search and in life after college.

  • They do not know how to look for work: They were not taught how to do this in school and they may not listen to your advice. What can you do? If the college/school is local, have them meet with the Career Services group or you could hire a coach for them, or you could just hope they are lucky enough to find a job. If you decide you are the best person to help them with their job search, here are six things you can do to help them with job search. 
  • Ask them to identify things they like to do, people they like to be around, and/or places they enjoy: Self assessment is key to this process. If they can get excited about something, that is more than half the battle. Help them probe the answers to these questions. This is hard work, even for experienced adults.
  • Foster creative thinking: Before focusing in on specific jobs, think about companies, organizations, institutions that would provide an opportunity for them to be in an environment that meets their interests above. Ask them to build a list of potential employers.
  • Identify everyone they know: Suggest they build a list of everyone they know; teachers, professors, neighbors, past employers, parents of friends, friends, family members, coaches, doctors, store owners…everyone.  They may already be in contact with these people on Facebook! What will they do with this list…that’s next.
  • How to ask for an informational meeting: Strategize with them how they will contact some of the people they know. Will it be by phone, email, or through a social network? Now, help them script their call or email. You’ll want to do this. Remember, they haven’t had to do this before and this is difficult. The call or email is about building rapport and seeking information. This is why the leg-work up front will be helpful. They can say WHY and WHAT they are interested in learning more about. Just a little reminder, don’t’ let them open a call or email with: “I am looking for a job and I was hoping you would know who might be hiring.” Instead, part of the request for help might read: “I am about to graduate and would be interested in learning more about how troubled youth are being helped. Because you work at XYZ agency, I would enjoy learning more from you about the services provided and some of the other service providers in the area. …” or “My finance degree taught me that I love analyzing numbers. I would enjoy the opportunity to learn more from you about your experience working at BBZ because they are a company I feel is well regarded…”
  • Teach follow through and persistence: Once they’ve reached out or submitted an application or resume, it is imperative they follow up, until their status or request is resolved. Again, a little coaching on this from you will be helpful. 
  • Practice Interviewing with them: You can use these questions (linked here) to roll play with them and help them prepare and refine answers.
  • Seek out mentors: You could help them find a mentor, but don’t do it for them. Ask them who they would like to meet then you can help facilitate the introduction.
  • Understand how to make small talk: Encourage them to attend professional networking events, volunteer or other activities requiring face to face interaction! Help them practice introducing themselves and show them how to ask questions about the new people they will meet.
  • Practice good manners: If you missed this opportunity before, now is a great time to teach them how to write Thank You notes and letters. Don’t assume they know, because they don’t!
  • Encourage personal and professional development: Model being a life-long learner. Help them find resources to develop new skills and build this into their life routine. You may even want to help them put aside money for future professional development or continuing education. 
  • Review Employment Etiquette: t is expected they show up on time and are ready to go. They should understand what it means to dress appropriately. If they haven’t worked before, how would they know these basics?! Review what it means to be a responsible employee.
  • You have been so supportive of them up until now. Don’t stop. Help them develop these skills! Share this information. Hold them accountable!



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