After the ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ graduation anthem subsides, a summer of grand celebrations closes out, and years of dedicated study come to fruition, parents of both high school and college graduates look for advice on how to help their emerging adult get a first job.
Start with the basics, but don’t stop there
Talk with each other about the process involved in getting a job. Discuss how employers might research candidates online, look over examples of traditional applications, and review resume writing. Also, practice interviewing, pick out professional attire, and learn appropriate etiquette. Let this be only the beginning.
In addition to practicing the traditional steps of the job-search process, explore each family member’s personal expectations regarding the initial employment experience. Emerging adults and their parents benefit equally from sharing their own unique hopes, ideas, and visions for the first job. For example, new college graduates may not be willing to hold out for a position related to their field of study. Instead, they might be tempted to accept the first employment offer that offers enough income to move out on their own. Parents who assumed that their graduate would pursue a career directly related to his/her field of study, and perhaps more in line with the parents’ vision, may feel disappointed considering the expense of education. Therefore, parents and emerging adults need clear and consistent communication to lessen disagreements around differing expectations tied to a first job.
Live at home to gain more freedom
This may seem paradoxical, but living at home after graduation may actually increase emerging adults’ freedom – and perhaps long-term job satisfaction. Monetary advantages like reduced rental liability, extended health insurance coverage, and lessened monthly bill pressures can provide graduates the flexibility to explore career options otherwise unavailable due to financial limitations. In addition, with healthy boundaries and clearly defined expectations, emerging adults and their parents can offer mutual emotional support during this time of transition. Parents’ sense of loss may be softened while emerging adults’ ability to investigate potential careers is increased.
Look for support within the community
Some emerging adults have envisioned a clear career path since childhood and follow their dreams of becoming doctors, social workers, lawyers, teachers, or business owners, etc. For others bringing a precise picture of their future into focus is more difficult. Changing majors, switching jobs, and taking on new life-roles are all normal parts of the developmental stage of emerging adulthood. Yet, accepting this uncertainty and incorporating these new aspects of self can feel overwhelming. Those who begin to falter when moving forward in their lives will benefit from utilizing community resources that support and enrich the process of career exploration.
One-on-one support and guidance from an experienced career counselor, like those in the Career Development Center at Yellowbrick, enables emerging adults to forge their own, unique and meaningful career path.