How parents can support a new grad’s job search

May 29, 2015

Amber Mudd

With graduation season upon us, many high school graduates are embarking on new territory – joining the workforce.

The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail has many no-cost services for those just starting out, but recent graduates also will look for guidance at home.

“All across the region, schools are making strong efforts to ensure students entering the workforce after graduation will succeed,” said Carter Dyson, one stop director for Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail. “Those efforts should be reinforced by parents.”

Parents can support their recent graduates’ transition to the workplace in four key ways: job search skills, resume writing, interview skills and soft skills development.

Job Search Skills. Taking the initial step to find a job can seem quite daunting. There are many aspects to consider, but one of the first steps is to determine what type of job is the best fit.

“Discussing with your child where their interests lay, be it seasonal work or more long-term opportunities, can be instrumental in their employee satisfaction,” said Terri Thomas, client services manager at Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail in Lebanon.

Also, looking at short- and long-term benefits can help sway the applicant one way or another. For example, many employers now offer tuition reimbursement and education assistance, which can help students attend and graduate college with little or no debt.

Networking also is important to the job search process.

“Start with who you know,” Thomas said. “Teachers, family, clergy, counselors and friends all can help new graduates with potential employment leads.”

Parents can help by making introductions in their own professional and personal circles.

Resume Writing. Once contacts are made and potential jobs are selected, it’s time to focus on resume writing.

The average employer spends six seconds reviewing a job applicant’s resume, so it is important to draft a professional and well-organized piece that will catch an employer’s attention.

Parents can help by reinforcing the importance of double and triple checking for typographical and grammatical errors. A resume with an error shows a prospective employer that the applicant wasn’t concerned enough to perfect the piece.

Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail offers individualized, professional resume assistance by appointment at all locations. Our experts can make the task seem less overwhelming and put the job applicant on the right resume path.

Interviewing Skills. Graduates also need to be prepared to make a great impression during job interviews.

Things to remember when preparing for an interview are that eye contact and clear, concise answers show the employer you are mature and ready to enter the workforce. It’s also important to treat everyone with courtesy and respect and to project enthusiasm, confidence and sincerity.

“The career center has workshops available to help job applicants, such as mock interviews and information on how to dress for an interview,” Thomas said. “Parents also can help by asking their child typical interview questions in a mock interview setting.”

In addition, applicants should take the time to learn as much as they can about the organization before the interview.

Soft Skills. Employers are looking for people who are hard workers and who work well with others.

“It’s imperative parents show their children the importance of soft skills,” Thomas said. “Strong work ethic, punctuality and manners are key.”

Parents also should stress the importance of the image their children present on social media. Employers look at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Parents need to reinforce the responsibility teens have to act appropriate online.

What Not To Do. Students fresh out of school will look to their parents for guidance and support. However, parents need to understand that guidance doesn’t mean taking over.

“Parents are strongly cautioned to know boundaries when helping their children search for a job,” Thomas said. “Employers do not want to be contacted by a prospective employee’s parent for salary negotiations or see a parent at a job interview.”

Parents also are encouraged to research current job search practices so as not to give outdated advice. Much has changed since some parents have searched earnestly for employment, and the wrong advice could have negative consequences.

Job searching for the first time can be a challenging undertaking, but with the right amount of enthusiasm and assistance, recent graduates can be prepared to take that step.

Amber Mudd is a youth client services manager for Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, which is overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board. She can be reached at ambern.mudd@ky.gov.

The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail helps match job seekers with local employment and training opportunities. Our business solutions team offers employers of all sizes and industries personalized support to build a competitive workforce. We are an equal opportunity employer.

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Program is funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I funds through the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet and the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. The Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board assures compliance with the Education and Labor Cabinet’s Methods of Administration, as amended, Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Assurance and all other Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity requirements of WIOA.