Parents: The Best Way to Help Your New Graduate Get That First Job

Personal Networks and Connections Can be Key To That First Interview

In our last Tip Tuesday we asked you as parents to stop pushing your graduate to apply online to jobs unless they are clear on what they want and prepared to sell themselves effectively.  Even then, applying online to jobs without any connections into the company is still a very low yield proposition.  3/4s of new graduates get their first interview because of a personal connection. Someone knows someone who introduces said graduate and vouches for them as ‘a candidate worth interviewing’.

We know how hard it is to watch your graduate flounder and we want to talk about the best thing that you as parents can do – opening up your network to them. Some of you may have already tried and got shut down by your son/daughter because as they say “they want to do this on their own”.  If you have run into that please feel free to share this article with them.

Let Your Parents Make Connections For You (with Rules)

New Graduates:  No kidding – don’t want your parents to introduce you to other professionals they know? That is a big mistake. I can tell you for certain your competition is using their parent’s network.  If no one is telling the hiring manager that they should interview you – odds are they aren’t going to interview you. You need to talk to as many people as you can that might be able to open doors for you and in all likelihood that includes your parents.

Instead of shutting down your parents – negotiate the details.  Don’t want your parents randomly sending out your resume to friends – make that a specific condition.  Don’t want them asking you every day how you did today – ask for that.  But by all means let them make some introductions.  See below how we advise your parents to do just that.  And while you are at it – read our three article package on Informational Interviewing – it will make you feel more confident doing this kind of networking.  Good Luck to you!

Back to you parents. The two biggest reasons we hear from new graduates that they DON’T want to engage with their parents on their job searches are:

  • If they engage with you at all you will hover over them asking them every day what they are doing.  This type of pressure can be overwhelming.  We know how hard it is to stand back but it is also really important.  Better to focus on expectations around helping out at home, possibly about having a part-time job so that they can contribute rent etc.
  • Ask your graduate what would work for them in terms of sharing their process for getting a job.  One mom we worked with set up a weekly dinner with her daughter. In between these dinners the topic only came up if the daughter initiated it. Ask that they are talking with someone.  Their colleges will still provide support through the Career Service Organization. Perhaps there is an aunt or uncle or ex-boss that could help them.  If you can’t find a personal connection consider asking your graduate if they would like to talk with a coach.
  • We get lots of stories of parents run amok.  Your children might perceive you as talking to everyone about their struggles to find employment and they end up feeling embarrassed.  One very well meaning mom sent out her son’s resume very broadly asking for help.  This totally frustrated her son – especially since the resume she sent out was an old one and not consistent with how he was positioning himself in the job market.  We suggest you try and brainstorm with your graduate the kinds of people that you think it would be helpful for them to talk with and why.  Offer to do an introduction email.  Show it to your graduate before sending it out.  Keep it simple.

You can’t do this work for them but we have found that being willing to connect them to people that could possibly be helpful is one area that new graduates are open to.  Good luck and if it would be helpful, we would be happy to provide you with a free complimentary career planning session about how you can best support your graduate in their transition from college into their career.

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