A Parent’s Role in the Job Search

Pat Hedley
Nov 17, 2018 · 3 min read

The journey to finding a job and a career is one your young adult must embark upon him or herself. You are no longer in the driver’s seat (maybe you never were). Now it’s time to become the trusted counselor and wise listener that your young adult needs.

As your child starts to figure out what they want to do, here are a few things you can do to help:

Relieve the pressure

Finding a job is stressful for anyone, whether you are fully qualified and self-motivated or still struggling to find your path. Additional pressure from mom or dad is usually counterproductive. Make sure your child knows that you are there for him or her, that you are willing to be a sounding board and a brain-storming partner but try not to be either too directive or too inquisitive. Let them reach out to you and let them ask for help as needed. Then be there to listen.

It takes a village

If your child needs extra help, find others within your circle who can be supportive to your child and help make those connections. Your child may reject the advice you provide and receive that same advice from someone else with an open mind. Friends, neighbors, college counselors, professors and work colleagues can all fill this role. It’s okay to ask others for help.

Be available to your friends’ kids for mock interviews, resume help or networking ideas. Provide referrals for others, help them make connections. Be generous yourself and accept the generosity of others.

Talk about the learning

Most young people don’t recognize that the job search process provides tremendous personal growth. In the hunt for the job, they forget that they are learning to network, to market themselves and to build confidence and resilience. There is so much learning that takes place in every single meeting your son or daughter has.

Don’t ask about the outcome as much as you ask about the learning. Job rejections can happen for so many reasons, so they should not be taken personally. Ask your child, “What did you learn and how can you apply it to the next meeting you have?”

It’s a long game

Most young people have no awareness that life is a long game. The people you meet today can change your life tomorrow. The trouble is, no one tells you exactly who those people are. Treat each meeting as an important one. Don’t get dejected by rejection. Treat everyone well. Show grace and gratitude. People will circle back in your life in ways you cannot predict today. Keep track of all the people you meet for it is likely you will meet some of them again.

Your network is valuable, start building it now

Many people feel they must network when they are looking for a job, in order to get a job. They don’t consider that the process of interviewing or meeting people is an excellent opportunity to build and expand their personal network. You can learn something from everyone you meet, so encourage your son or daughter to meet as many people as they can. Urge them to approach meetings with curiosity, authenticity, interest and generosity. Have them look to establish a connection beyond the job hunt. They are adding to their personal value by building genuine relationships.

Enjoy this journey with your young adult. Soon they will be gainfully employed, embarking upon their exciting careers and continuing the process of life-long learning.

Pat Hedley is an investor, advisor and author of Meet 100 People: A How to Guide to the Career and Life Edge Everyone’s Missing. See her TEDx Talk advising young people on building relationships.

Pat Hedley
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