After graduation and the celebration that surrounds it, many recent graduates will begin or continue their job search during the summer. Often, their parents will play an important role in helping them navigate the path to their first jobs. To advise these parents, Mercy Eyadial, our Executive Director of Employer Relations, offers six tips so parents can best assist their recent graduates during this exciting, yet sometimes painful, process.
- Establish a game plan. If you are helping the student by way of financial support, or if your child is living in your home, lay out a schedule as to how long he or she will be supported, and decide how much money you’ll provide. In turn, the student must be expected to meet certain milestones, such as a specific amount of hours spent searching for jobs, number of contacts made or emails sent. “You must establish the expectations on the front-end, not months into their job search,” Eyadiel says.
- Set clear priorities. Eyadiel often sees families take the recent grad on a congratulatory family vacation after school lets out, encouraging the young person to spend more family time since they have moved back home. This sets an example of putting fun above the job search. “Don’t send mixed messages,” she says. “The job search is the priority. Make clear that they must find a job before they can play.”
- Share your network—carefully. Eyadiel suggests giving the student the contact information for three to five of your professional connections. Do not make the call on your child’s behalf, but instruct him or her on how to write an initial email. Also give advice on what to say in a meeting, and how to parlay an introduction into a conversation or job opportunity. Choose these contacts carefully. “The first person the student contacts should not be the CEO,” Eyadiel warns. “Have them start lower and practice. Let them build their confidence and work their way up to communicating with more senior people.” And don’t jeopardize your own Rolodex with these connections. After all, young professionals often make many mistakes.
- Elicit the help of a family friend or professional contact. Another adult can be useful as a secondary adviser. “I call them ‘adult fans,’” Eyadiel says. “They can take some pressure off the parent and offer another mature perspective.”
- Remember: You are not the one going through the job search process. This is not about your interests or goals. It is also not your responsibility to land the job for the student. “Parents often want to intervene too quickly and take the pain out of the process,” Eyadiel says. “But a job search is an inherently painful process. At the end of the day, the student is the one who has to interview and has to build their own professional identity.”
- Whatever you do, do not contact the recruiter or hiring manager. Never! “You actually harm the child by doing that,” Eyadiel says. “The employer will be so astonished that it is hard to give your kid serious consideration.”
Mercy Eyadiel’s 6 Tips for Parents on Helping Your Recent Graduate Get Hired first appeared on Retail Me Not on June 5.