How to Help in Your Graduate’s Job Search Without Overstepping the Boundaries

How to Help in Your Graduate’s Job Search Without Overstepping the Boundaries

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Anne Weeks
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With so few graduates securing jobs in their chosen fields and settling for unpaid internships or jobs to “just make ends meet,” it is hard, as a parent, not to step in to mastermind a successful job search.

So… how can you be helpful without taking control or simply deciding your graduate is on their own?


Here are some smart tips on letting your graduate launch from Grown and Flown:

  • Treat your graduate like you would mentor a young colleague. If what you are offering to do, or what your graduate is asking you to do, is something you would do for a young colleague, then you are probably not crossing a line.


  • Give solid advice. Surveyed graduates indicated they felt weak in the following areas: networking (31%), making a good impression (25%), negotiation skills (23%), and work ethic (23%). Share your years of work experience in these areas.


  • Proofread correspondences. We can all benefit from a proofreader’s second eye. Offer to proof a resume, an email, a thank you note – BUT, don’t be tempted to rewrite.


  • Help brainstorm. When your graduate is stuck, whether it be choosing a career, making a choice between opportunities, or just not knowing where to start, offer some guidance with real life experiences.


  • Interviewing. Be that sounding board. Practice with typical interview questions, talk about body language, offer feedback on attire. If you are worried about sounding critical, watch a bunch of TED Talks on interview prep with your graduate and talk about what you learn.


  • Research. Don’t go overboard, but if you see a job posting or a company of interest, forward the link to your graduate… and then leave it at that!


  • Networking. Be careful. Make introductions, share contact information, but then step back to let your graduate take it from there.


  • Communicate early. The job search has changed dramatically since you were a recent graduate. Students need to start prepping earlier with internships and jobs. They need to network early and often.  Finding a non-parent mentor is also a bonus. By communicating this to your student as early as the summer before sophomore year, you will both avoid the pitfalls of an unprepared job search at the end of senior year. It is also important to share expectations early. How much support are you willing to give? Financially? Living at home? Graduate school tuition? Avoid surprises by communicating early and often with your student.


It is so easy to step in and to take over, but show your love for your graduate through support and guidance, but let their launch be their own!



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Anne Weeks

Anne Macleod Weeks is a graduate of Lawrence and Villanova Universities. She has been an educational administrator and English teacher for 38 years, specializing in the area of college admission. Ms. Weeks has been a leader in the college admission and Advanced Placement arenas and has published on pertinent educational topics in a variety of national papers and journals. She currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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