The economy is not the only thing preventing this year’s new grad from landing a job. Parents often offer poor advice and the wrong job search strategies that can derail their son or daughter without meaning to. Suggesting that they just “get a foot in the door” or “go after ANY job because that’s a great company” is way out of touch with what is actually USEFUL advice to launch a new career and begin the road to promotions and personal satisfaction.
It is very a confusing time for the new grad as they face the world of work — a world they often know very little about. Combine this with a lack of job hunting skills, little work experience and you have a formula for a lost son or daughter. Whether their degree is in business or liberal arts, many young grads simply “don’t know” what they want to do. Their exposure to the work world is narrow and limited. Don’t add to your son or daughter’s anxiety. Here are a few concrete strategies to help the grad truly “get ahead” and launch A CAREER successfully.
- Point out Skills and Natural Talents. Building your career on your strengths and natural talents is the fastest and most notable way to succeed. Help identify skills and talents that the grad may over look. For example, does the grad have natural sales or persuasive skills? What about artistic ability or being good with design or color? Is the grad a planner and well organized? Is he/she mechanical and able to fix things? Maybe he/she can write stories well. Really think about what your grad is good at. Identify for them what talents they have and how they are applied in various jobs.
- Identify the job title. Help focus your grad on looking for a specific job. Guide them to narrow down options and decide on 2-3 actual job titles they want to pursue. If they say they want “something in business”, realize that is too broad. Ask questions. Is it sales and persuading people they might excel at? Or is it coming up with ideas to promote things? Is your son or daughter great with numbers? Maybe an analyst job might be a fit. Liberal arts majors often feel the most challenged. A sociology major is unlikely to realize that he or she might enjoy a human resources job. Help your grad by opening up the world of different job possibilities available in all the areas where they have natural talent. If you aren’t able to do that, a career counselor might be just what the doctor ordered to get them moving ahead quickly and not be lost for months or years.
- Supply networking assistance. New grads often need coaching BEFORE they go see a networking connection. They must know the job they want OR recognize they are just learning details about what a job entails to better help them make decisions. Arranging to have your grad talk to someone at Microsoft won’t help at all if the kid is lost on a career direction and just says “Yea it’d be cool to work here”. Help them articulate WHAT they’d like to do. Coach them on specific questions to ask and how to network properly.
- Update their look. Pay for a new haircut, shoes (no flip flops or sneakers) a nice suit and some proper work clothes. If you can afford it, assist them by finding someone to help create a professional Resume and do some Interview Coaching with your son or daughter. Discuss the transformation needed to work 8-5 since the new job will be 40 hours a week. Hand them some books on job search and then discuss them with the grad. Entry level jobs are the target.
You’re direction and guidance can help your new grad avoid career mistakes and years of wasted time unhappy in a job –if they get one at all.
By Robin Ryan , author of “60 Seconds + You’re Hired”
Robin Ryan is America’s top career expert and the bestselling author of seven books including 60 Seconds & You’re Hired and Winning Resumes. Robin Ryan has appeared on 1500 TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr Phil, CNN, and ABC News has a career counseling practice helping individual clients land great jobs. Get her free career newsletter at: www.RobinRyan.com