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Graduated; Yay! A Little Help from My Parents - Strategies for Parents to Help Recent Graduates Find a Job

Graduation from school is a time of excitement and a time for our kids to start their career journey.  Our kids have spent years studying and hopefully thinking about what they want to do once they graduate.  But easier said than done in many cases.  Many graduates still don’t know and still need support in not only what they want for their career paths but how to get there. That’s where job seeking skills are crucial.

As parents of these young adults, we still need to support them, and we play a vital role in helping our graduates during their transition from student to being in the workforce. A little nudge, a little idea and most of all a little guidance are still important as they navigate to their next role in life…being employed.

It doesn’t stop at having a resume, our students also need an elevator pitch to help to give them a solid intro to potential hiring managers, a strong LinkedIn profile to connect and build their job seeking network and the skills to learn how to build an effective one.  Here are some tips, strategies and tools you can use and suggest to your new grad to get them started on their job search journey on the right foot.

1. Getting onto LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a powerful and must have tool for job seekers. Guiding graduates in creating a compelling LinkedIn profile could be the beginning of many great opportunities and connections to people they would normally never have access to.

  • Complete a Profile: Ensure all sections are filled out, including a professional headline - encourage your grad to look at the profiles of other people like them.

  • Headshot & Banner: Encourage students to create and post a banner (Canva offers a free basic account with ready-made banners) and a professional profile picture; profiles with photos get 21 times more views!

  • Skills, Certifications and Volunteer Work: Highlight relevant skills (you can add up to 100 helping your grad in attracting companies looking to hire people with these skillsets), certifications, languages, and volunteer work that shows their experience.

2. Creating a Solid Resume - Graduates need a well-crafted and effective resume – not a resume that highlights their school at the top, but a resume that shares who they are and what strengths they bring to the table.

  • Tailor Content: Customize the resume for each job application.

  • Quantify Achievements: Use specific information and how successes were achieved to showcase accomplishments.

  • Professional Summary: Include a concise summary at the top showcasing their motivation to work and interest for opportunity with skills that align with company need.

3. Creation and Mastery of the Elevator Pitch - An elevator pitch is a concise self-introduction. Teach graduates that they are much more than just a student.

  • Be Authentic: Avoid sounding robotic; focus on human connection, authenticity and what really makes them stand out – ie: experiences, past jobs or volunteer work.

  • Grab Attention: Keep it around 30 - 45 seconds – anything more loses listeners.

  • Practice: Rehearse the pitch until it flows and feels and sounds natural.

4. Learning How to Network - Your Network Is Your Net Worth - Emphasize the value of networking. Networking is everything – now and in the future.

  • Collaboration: Networking leads to collaboration and opportunities that could lead to jobs you never see or hear about – 80% of jobs are never formally posted.

  • Long-Term Investment: Networking pays off over time and should be a lifelong commitment.

  • Stay Engaged: Regularly connect with contacts even if it’s just a quick touch-base to say hello or comment on a post.

5. Developing a Network - Networking is crucial for job opportunities and it’s never too early to start cultivating relationships that could lead to “SHIPS” – Mentorship, Apprenticeship, Internships.

  • Quality Over Quantity: Encourage meaningful connections over sheer numbers.

  • Attend Events: Attend industry events, job fairs, and conferences. Ask for opportunities to participate in local Chamber of Commerce meetings and events held at Town Halls.

  • Online Networking: Engage in LinkedIn groups and discussions by “liking” and commenting on posts and asking for advice!

6. Reaching Out Effectively to Potential Employers – Parents can guide graduates in reaching out to potential employers they already know. Using the network you already have – your community, friends, family and government agencies are a good start.

  • Research: Understand the company and its needs.

  • Personalize Messages: Avoid generic templates; tailor messages – if you have a connection, use it!

  • Activity Breeds Opportunity: Encourage proactive outreach on a consistent basis and don’t stop.

7. Discover Local Opportunities - This is a tremendous way to dip a toe in the workforce and discover opportunities that will give greater insight into the daily nuances associated with working in their industry of interest:

  • Volunteering: Paying it forward while gaining inside experience = win-win!

  • Shadowing: Firsthand exposure to the daily happenings within their selected industry.

  • Apprenticeships/Internships: Paid opportunities that can get you “in the network” and lead to great jobs.

8. Continue to Learn – Find and Participate In Job Skill Workshops - It’s not a secret that students don’t always want to hear what Mom or Dad have to say:

  • Online Workshops: LinkedIn, Resume Development, Interview Techniques and Elevator Pitch creation are just a few workshops students should take to get prepared for a job search.

  • College & University Free Workshops: Check out online and in person certificate programs – from technology to business and creative, there are many out there.

  • Company Student Workshops: From hospitals to manufacturers and many in between, these can help with gaining skills and also potential job opportunities (with some that reimburse tuition).

By proposing these strategies and coaching to our graduates, we empower our children in navigating the job market, learn the value of networking and cultivating relationships that could get their foot in the door, and successfully prepare them for their future endeavors.

Wishing all this year’s graduates Congratulations & Best Wishes for Success! ⚡

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