It’s no secret that Millennials are struggling after leaving college. In fact, a recent article in Forbes stated that 50% of Millennials planned to move back home for at least a year after college. 38% of Millennials said that they were planning to move back home for at least two years after finishing college.
The competitive job market and high demands of employers are making the transition from college to the workforce difficult for Millennials. They’re graduating from college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and entering a job market that has many candidates vying for a few jobs with far too many similarly qualified people applying for them.
The worst part is, many of them don’t even know how to find a job after college. This can leave them feeling frustrated, leading to a lack of motivation. And that lack of motivation leaves a young adult wandering around the house for an indeterminate amount of time.
Wondering how you can help your struggling grad? These tips will help you help your grad get a job (and out of your house!).
When discussing finding a job after college we’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While what your grad learned in college is certainly important for landing a job, it’s not usually enough to get them an interview.
Why? Because there are so many other grads with similar knowledge applying for the same job. And all those recent grads are competing against industry veterans because so many companies have had to lay people off due to the poor economy.
So, how can your grad get through the door? By making connections. Networking is the foundation of any job search.
Luckily, networking is something that you as their parent can really help out with. Talk to your friends who are well established in their companies and see if they’d be willing to meet your grad for coffee. Or ask if they’d be willing to let your grad do a job shadow for a day.
Make the connection and then let your kid develop the relationship. These relationships can easily lead to phone calls that help your grad get an interview or the recommendations they need during the application process. The person you golf with could be your grad’s connection for their dream job.
Also, encourage your grad to attend networking events. Most cities and towns hold regular meet-ups for professionals where your grad can meet new people and share their skills and aspirations.
2. Write an Outstanding Cover Letter and Resume
Another barrier to getting an interview is the cover letter and resume. Most companies now use some kind of software to screen resumes and cover letters because they get so many applicants. This means a real person may never see your grad’s cover letter or resume.
That’s why it’s crucial that their cover letter and resume really stand out. Unfortunately, most college grads have never been taught how to write a stellar cover letter or put together an outstanding resume.
Luckily, we have a few tips that will help them get started.
Tailor the resume and cover letter for each application
Look for keywords in the job posting with your grad and encourage them to include those keywords in their cover letter. Look at the qualifications listed on the job posting and ensure your grad highlights those qualifications on their resume. Taking the time to personalize ups the chances that their resume and cover letter will catch someone’s eye.
Help them sell themselves
Most people hate cover letters because they don’t know how to talk about themselves, but it’s absolutely necessary to sell yourself in a cover letter. If your grad is having trouble doing this, you can offer some helpful feedback. Reflect to them why they’d be a good fit for the job and what makes them stand out from the crowd. Help them incorporate this feedback into their cover letter.
Get creative when listing skills from previous work experience
Most recent grads don’t have a lot of relevant work experience to put on their resume. But with some creative wording, your grad can show how their previous work experience from any job can translate to another job. Make sure they highlight special responsibilities and leadership opportunities they were given.
Show how college experiences are applicable to the job
Memberships in clubs and professional societies should definitely be listed on your grad’s resume. Make sure they include a few bullet points about the experience they gained from these associations, especially if they held a leadership position within the group.
Work with your grad on multiple drafts of both their cover letter and resume. Continue to tweak both as they apply to more jobs. The more practice they get, the more likely they are to put together a cover letter and resume that lands them an interview.
3. Keep Job Searching
Many grads are excited about job searching right after they graduate. They send out a bunch of applications, but can’t find a job after college. They get discouraged and their motivation wanes. This is when most grads end up in a slump, playing video games or staring at social media for weeks on end.
While it’s important to acknowledge their discouragement and that job searching is hard, it’s also important not to indulge in their lack of motivation. Grads looking to get a job after college need to be constantly job searching.
You can help by encouraging your grad to meet a job searching goal each week. Maybe the goal is sending a certain number of applications each week. Or maybe it’s spending a certain amount of time each day researching companies and contacts on LinkedIn. Spending time solely on job boards is not always productive. They need to make direct contact at a company for their resume to be get noticed.
Whatever the goal, set it with them and help them stay on track to achieving it. You never know which application could be the one that gets them an interview. It’s definitely not the one they never sent because they were playing Call of Duty or watching “The Office” for the third time.
4. Get Active in the Alumni Association
Since networking is the secret to how to find a job after college, finding new networking opportunities is key. Your grad needs to get involved with their Alumni Association.
Alumni Associations are usually populated by successful professionals who are passionate about their alma mater. That passion can be used to your grad’s advantage! They can meet professionals who are more than willing to give a fellow alumnus a hand in launching their career. Plus, being involved in an alumni association looks great as an activity on a resume.
Grads can also access their campus career center after graduation. This resource can provide excellent access to employers and job opportunities.
Sometimes the most important thing you can do for your struggling grad is to get them out of the house and productive. Without classes, clubs, sports, or a job to occupy their time, many grads get stuck hanging around the house.
Finding a volunteer opportunity that makes your grad feel like they’re accomplishing something can go a long way toward kick-starting their self-esteem and motivation. If they can find a volunteer opportunity within their chosen field, even better!
Volunteering for an organization in their field gives your grad the opportunity to learn more about the field, meet other people working in the field, and gain insight into what kind of opportunities exist within the field.
But volunteering anywhere is a good move for your grad. It gives them something to do and it’s a great addition to their resume.
6. Stay Educated
One huge mistake that some college grads make is stopping their education once classes are over. It makes sense that they want a break from constantly filling their brains with knowledge. But if they go much longer than the summer after college without brushing up on their industry knowledge, they’re hurting their chances of getting a job.
Keeping up with the current news and trends within the field they want to go into is essential for getting a job. This knowledge will help them tailor their job search and it will help them land the job once they get into the interview.
Encourage your grad to spend time each week reading about their field. You can help them out by seeking out the information yourself and talking about it with them.
7. Get Some Help
One of the best things you can do to help your grad land a job after college is to get them professional help. Pairing them up with a career coach will greatly increase their chances of getting a job for a plethora of reasons.
Working with a coach can help them refine their job search so they’re applying to the jobs they really want that they also have a good chance of getting. A coach can also help them craft the perfect cover letter and resume, hone their interview skills, and make the necessary connections to get them in the door.
We offer six-week courses that can be taken individually or with a group, that give your grad all the information and skills they need to get the perfect job.
More Advice on How to Find a Job After College
These days, most college grads are clueless about how to find a job after college. They’ve never been given the skills they need, and they end up feeling confused and helpless. As their parents, it’s hard to see them go through this phase.
If you’re looking for ways to help your grad out of their slump and into the job market, these tips are a great start. For more advice about how to help your grad transition from college to the real world, contact us about our coaching programs today.