Do Parents Make Could Career Advisers?
For the first time in history, the marketplace has four generations of employees: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xs and Millennials. With the last two on that list have come a new phenomenon in job searching — parents who are deeply involved in their children’s job searching.
So, do parents make good career advisers? The answer is not so simple, and it has a lot to do with the unique relationship Millennial’s have had with their parents.
This generation is the first raised with the 24/7 access made possible by email, texting, Twitter and other technologies. For many, this has led to an exceptionally close parent-child relationship that often leads to the perception that college-age children have difficulty making their own decisions.
Recently, “Smart Money” magazine published an article about how easily a parent can take over a child’s job search.
Today’s job market is tough, and it’s not uncommon for students to move back hometo save money until they land a job. From a job-search perspective, helping a family member with networking or sharing leads with them is a win-win solution. Not only does it make sense to help from an economic perspective, but it helps young adults take the first steps in the job market, and that leads to independence.
How do you know when the line between helping a child and controlling their job search has been crossed? While parents have the best of intentions, in the job market an overzealous parent can create problems if they take too active a role by representing their college graduate at a job fair, for example, or completely writing their child’s resume.
Here’s an example. During a recent networking event where recruiters were present, the parent was introducing the college-age child. It was tough to decide who was more anxious, the parent or the child. Days later, it was tough to remember the student’s background, but it was easy to remember he was there with his parent.
So, what’s the right way to help?
Parents can help their college-age children without going to the interview with them or speaking on their behalf. For example, teach them how to handle disappointment and rejection by not giving up but by brainstorming different ways they can achieve their career goals.
There are so many ways parents can be effective career advisers who help their children successfully launch their careers. Here are a few ideas:
- Be a good listener and ask questions that help with the decision-making aspects of a job search.
- Teach your child how to make decisions by gathering facts, taking into consideration that while job titles are important, it’s important to get as much experience as possible.
- Let them write their own resumes. One of the best career exercises anyone can undertake is the task of identifying one’s accomplishments. Writing a resume for your child keeps them from having to think about what sets them apart, and the challenge of writing a resume often leads to a boost in confidence and helps prepare for interviewing.
- Be mindful that the marketplace may not understand your close relationship with your child and may label it as dependence rather than a family dynamic.
- If you child moves back home, establish house rules and discuss how they can contribute.
- If you think you may be doing too much for your child, you probably are. Step back, and let your child own the job search.
- Before making comments about how much time your child spends online, consider that social networking is a huge factor in building leads to potential employers. Time spent on the Internet can be very productive.
- Serve as a good role model when it comes to handling rejection and discuss the value of persistence.
Source: Staff writer for Seattlepi.com.