When your adult child is unemployed, it’s tough on you too. It can be heartrending to watch your son or daughter struggle to find a job. On the other hand, it can also be frustrating if it seems like they’re a little too comfortable living with you instead of trying to support themselves.
As a parent, you want to find the balance between helping them to launch their career, and giving them the room they need to take care of their own responsibilities.
Use these suggestions to guide you in becoming an ally and advocate for your child during their job search.
Teaching Job Hunting Skills to Your Adult Child:
1. Suggest campus resources. Remind your child to take full advantage of their college career office to find job and internship opportunities. Even if they’ve already graduated, they may still be eligible for some services.
2. Encourage networking. Demonstrate how to develop professional relationships. Go through your contacts to find individuals who may be able to assist your child. Make the introduction, and then let your child take the lead with following up while you offer feedback as needed.
3. Review paperwork. Your child needs to write their own cover letters and resumes, but you can edit and proofread. It may also be helpful to collect and copy personal documents such as their driver’s license and any certificates or letters of commendation.
4. Research opportunities. Your child may know more about LinkedIn and social media than you do, so how about teaching each other some valuable lessons? Collaborate on exploring various industries, identifying potential employers, and calculating salary ranges.
5. Rehearse interview questions. Successful interviewing requires practice. Act out different scenarios and go over responses to thorny questions like describing your greatest weakness.
Providing Job Hunting Support to Your Adult Child:
1. Listen closely. Ask your child what you can do to help them. Respect their choices and treat them like an adult.
2. Clarify expectations. You may need to set some ground rules, especially if your child is living with you. Do you expect them to contribute to rent and other expenses? Do you have a timeline in mind for when you expect them to find a position?
3. Strategize and organize. Your greatest contribution will probably focus on the overall game plan. Discuss how to set priorities, track activities, and evaluate progress.
4. Minimize anxiety. Try to avoid adding to the pressure your child may be feeling. Check in on their progress without making it the only topic of conversation. Suggest healthy ways to manage stress such as exercise and meditation.
5. Boost self-esteem. Rejection is usually a part of any job search. Balance the scales with some affirming gestures. Praise your child for making an effort and share activities that leverage their strengths, such as their favorite hobbies and sports.
6. Arrange transportation. If possible, you may want to pitch in with transportation expenses so that your child can have as many options as possible. Paying for airfare and lodging for out-of-town interviews could be a wise investment.
7. Cultivate a professional appearance. Your child may spend hours on the phone but still be unfamiliar with more formal business communications. Practice how to talk with employers, and offer tactful suggestions about wardrobe and hairstyle choices.
8. Reach out to others. Consider hiring professionals for services such as resume writing or career coaching. Family and friends can help too, when your child needs to hear a message from someone besides you.
If you’re trying to join your child on interviews, you’re probably going too far. However, there are many constructive things you can do as a parent to help your child transition from college to the workplace. Give them guidance and encouragement, and leave them in charge of blazing their own career path.