Has your college graduate found satisfying work? If not, you may find yourself increasingly wanting to help speed up your recent graduate’s job search so that you’re not shouldering student loan payments while your young adult’s still eating all your groceries and hogging your basement couch.
Your recent graduate’s home for a few weeks, searching for work. You’re itching to help with (or, if we’re honest, speed up) the job search. Unfortunately, your not-yet-launched young adult doesn’t seem all that interested in getting career advice from you.
You might think your words fall on deaf ears, but actually, misguided job advice can hurt young job seekers’ chances in the job market. Your student needs all the spot-on advice they can get: the U.S. Department of Labor still reports that about 40% of college graduates remain unemployed or underemployed, a purgatory-like situation where they’re in jobs that don’t match their education or skill.
Here’s what NOT to tell them — and what to advise instead:
DON’T: URGE THEM TO TAKE ANY LOW-SKILLED JOB THEY CAN GET IN THE MEANTIME
Although folding hoodies at Urban Outfitters may seem like a viable fall-back option while your young adult hunts for work, retail employers surveyed this spring by the National Association of College Employers (NACE) planned to decrease their college hiring by 33%. Instead of low-skilled work, encourage your graduate to take advantage of the Gig Economy and build their future employment chances through short-term skilled work. Otherwise, they’ll fall behind their peers who are actively building their skill portfolio.
DO: URGE THEM TO EXPLORE THE GIG ECONOMY
DON’T: IMMEDIATELY DISCOURAGE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Your aspiring entrepreneur may dream of launching a startup, while you wish for a steady paycheck with a 401(k) match. However, jobs that come with a full benefits package also now come with higher expectations for entry-level roles, making them increasingly harder for recent grads to land. Instead, by taking a planned time-out from the conventional job search, putting a business plan together, researching market needs, and/or venturing into product design, your graduate can gain the real-world skills that future employers seek. And even if they do end up taking a regular job that pays the bills, being an entrepreneur in a “side hustle” could significantly increase their future employability.
DO: ENCOURAGE FOCUSED EXPLORATION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP OR A POSSIBLE SIDE HUSTLE.
DON’T: PUSH GRAD SCHOOL AS A FALLBACK
If you think undergraduate student loans are bad, think about the high likelihood of your student still paying off graduate school loans well into their 40s. Unless your student’s crystal clear that they’re ready for graduate school and they’ve matched it to a future career path, it’s an expensive procrastination move. Instead, to gain a competitive edge, recent grads may want to explore less expensive, add-on education in the form of a nanodegree, microcredentials or industry-specific bootcamps, which give real-world, hands-on skill training that employers value, at a fraction of the cost of graduate school.
DO: ENCOURAGE EXPLORING BOOT CAMPS OR SHORT-TERM ONLINE COURSES.
DON’T: GIVE YOUR RECENT GRADUATE JOB SEARCH ADVICE THAT’S OLDER THAN YOUR CAR
Hand-delivering resumes? Snail-mailing a personal letter to the CEO? Cold-dialing the receptionist to ask to be connected to a hiring manager? Writing “To Whom It May Concern” on a 24lb. paper stock cover letter? By following this sort of traditional advice, your job seeker’s likely to burn valuable job search time getting turned away by digital door locks, security check-points, recruiters who don’t read cover letters, and declining numbers of human receptionists. Your graduate’s much better off following and messaging a hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn (but not Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat), or creating a compelling, lively, *professional* digital presence.
DO: MAKE SURE YOUR JOB SEARCH ADVICE HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY FIELD-TESTED IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS OR YEARS
Next time you grab coveted time with your recent graduate, avoid the eye-rolling that you’ll get with outdated, conventional advice. Instead, speaking fluently about today’s recent graduate job search concepts like the gig economy, side hustles, nanodegrees and social media raises the chances you’ll actually get heard, get your recent graduate hired, and get your basement couch back.