Parents, can we speak candidly about what is happening with your grads and their job search? This is tough.

Your grad says they “have it under control” and wants to pursue the search on their own. When you ask what they are working on, they reply “I spend 2-3 hours every day applying to dozens of jobs on Indeed or Glass Door. I am working hard on this. I am fine.”

But somehow, they are not fine. They do not hear back. Or if they do, the job might be a scam. Or they go on an interview and then radio silence. They are trying… but you know they are stuck.

You offer sound advice such as “Call the HR manager and express interest in the job” or “Email an Alumni to learn more about the role.” However, your guidance is met with eye rolls and comments of “That’s not how it’s done, Mom. I will handle it.”

You watch this process and you see them struggle to network with contacts. They are nervous and seem unsure about their ability to meet the job requirements. They do not know what they really want to do. Or if they have an idea, they are unsure of how to get their foot in the door and sell themselves. You offer up your personal connections but it does not seem to get anywhere. You see their struggle but they will not listen or act on your guidance.

What can you do? Here are 3 tips on how to determine what your college student or grad is struggling with, and how to guide them.

1. What is your grad’s biggest challenge?

This process is overwhelming and parents sometimes get frustrated with their grad’s perceived lack of motivation or direction. Isolate what is really holding them back. Is it anxiety of preparing for an in-person interview? Do they stare at a blank page when writing a cover letter? Break down the area that causes the most concern and use that as a starting point. Your guidance can enable them to feel more confident and not as overwhelmed.

Can We Talk? Watch the video here.

2. How are they spending their time?

It is true that the job search is a job. However, it is unrealistic to spend every waking hour on this endeavor. Are they blocking time on this every day? If so, how much and what are they doing specifically? Are they only applying online? Have they scheduled in-person meetings? Understand what they have done so far and what is their plan or timeline. This can provide ideas of what to do next. It is also useful for grads to have a part-time job or volunteer role during this time to maintain structure in their day.

3. Are they seeking guidance from other resources?

Sometimes the tension between a parent and child can cause both parties to feel frustrated. Seek out family or friends that your grad can speak with. Have your grad connect with a favorite professor or mentor for guidance. And when appropriate, seek guidance from a career coach or mental health professional. Your grad might need one or both.

Who said parenting gets easier when the kids are older?

Parents of college students and grads try to walk the fine line of helping vs. hindering. This is a common issue and you are not alone. Speaking as the parent of a college student, we are in this together. If you think you need some outside guidance on how to help your grad with their career search, please visit

Join our Fast-Start Group Coaching program and accelerate your internship or career search out of college. Contact us to learn more here.