There seems to be a theme to the calls we receive from parents about their students recently. Parents call us concerned that their students are having difficulty getting an internship or job, but not for lack of offering advice to their student. “They just don’t seem to listen to us!” parents proclaim. “If they only did what I told them, they would have a job already!” Parents want to help because seeing their child achieve career success is one of the major milestones toward independence in the next phase of life.
What is a parent to do?
The truth is that most parents are giving very good and useful advice to their college student. The only problem is that it is coming from YOU (the parent). Many of these students have been making great choices on their own while in college, and have trouble suddenly hearing a parent’s advice that they feel is outdated or pushy. So, this month, we dedicate this blog to you, the parents. We validate some of the best advice from parents in hopes that the message is received and perhaps shared with those students willing to listen.
Here are the top 10 comments parents offer on career advice that students should listen to:
1. Meet your professors. Get to know them outside of class. They can offer great advice and have industry contacts for jobs.
2. Bring a suit/dress to school for interviews and the career fair. Jeans are not ok. And it is cheaper if you bring it instead of paying for overnight shipping.
3. Go to the Career Fair! You already have the clothes, so no excuses. This is the only time in your life that an employer will actually seek you out for a job.
4. Write a thank you note within 1-2 days after an interview or informational interview. Email is good, handwritten is better.
5. Start looking for a job or summer internship in the Fall – at least 6-9 months ahead of time.
6. Go to Career Services. They know the people who have the jobs.
7. Reach out to college alumni to build your network. You can find them on your school portal or LinkedIn. Alumni love to speak with fellow grads.
8. Once you have sent a thank you, you can follow up again in 5-7 days if you have not heard back. You are not bothering them. They need a reminder.
9. Be professional when your encounter your parents’ friends. You never know where your next connection or job lead comes from.
10. Listen to your parents – ok, maybe that’s asking for too much, but we can try!
There are a few common ideas that run through this list. Manners and etiquette are never outdated. Look someone in the eye and shake their hand. The other theme is about students being proactive in their search. It is rare that jobs and opportunities will chase after students so they should spend their time using resources and connections available to them. And when you find your student is not listening and you are seeking an outside voice to advise them, we can be here for you too. Read more here about how Next Great Step advises college students and grads to get the job. Good luck!