A mom of a recent graduate attended a college alumni career networking event with her daughter. She came to "help" her daughter (who looked appropriately mortified) find a job.
A young man who had recently earned a PhD accepted a post-doctoral position in a city far from his hometown. He arrived to tour campus and search for housing with both parents in tow to approve the job offer and the community.
On Your Own
I'm always surprised to hear stories like this, because one of the first rules of job searching is to do it on your own. When my 14 year old daughter interviewed for her first job, the interviewer asked if she wanted me to come in the room with her. She chose to go in by herself. That was a really good decision.
On another bright note, I receive emails regularly from parents asking me what information they can give to their child to help them with a job search.
As a parent, you can play a helpful role in assisting your child search for jobs. However, even though it's well intentioned to try to help, sometimes your efforts can have a negative effect.
Here's how to help your child, regardless of age, job search:
- Suggest that your child visit their school's Guidance Office or College Career Office early to investigate career options, pursue job and internship opportunities, and to get career planning assistance.
- Network. Talk to your friends, your colleagues, and your relatives about your child's job search. It works - my first job was at the local grocery store, where my mom was a frequent customer. My stepson was hired by a family friend after meeting him at a birthday party.
- Share resources. Talk to your son or daughter about what to wear on an interview, how to interview, and the polite gestures (like sending thank you notes) that will bring them a little bit closer to getting a job.
- Get paperwork ready in advance. Help your child compile the information he needs to write a resume or complete a job application. Proofread the finished product to make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. Assist with the process to get working papers (it can be cumbersome) if they are needed.
- Assist with transportation. If your child can't drive, assist with coordinating transportation to interviews, and to and from work.
- Let them do it on their own. I know it's hard. As I mentioned, I left my 14 year old to make her her own first impression. I got the sense that many parents sat in, but my daughter's interviewer was impressed and my daughter got the volunteer position she was interested in.
- Let them find their own path. Don't pressure your child to pursue a career that they don't want to have. They will work the hardest when they discover something they really want to do.
- Push if necessary. You can encourage your child to start job searching and stress the importance of it, but don't overdo the financial support. They may be more motivated if they have to pay their own bills.