When I graduated college in the early 1970s, it was relatively easy to find a job, even for an English major: Scan the classified ads for suitable positions, mail resumes and go on job interviews. In addition, many employment agencies offered new grads initial screenings and arranged job interviews. I gave myself a month after graduation to find work at a publishing company; after that I would take anything decent. I went on several interviews a week and, by my deadline, was hired as a copywriter at Oxford University Press. The experience was similar for my friends, from accountants to teachers.
How the world has changed! Employment agencies and classified ads have disappeared, replaced by online sinkholes of job postings where our adult children send endless resumes which never receive even a rejection letter.
While we obviously can’t conduct a job search for our adult children, we can offer some advice, in addition to emotional support. But first, many of us need to re-tool our own job-hunting skills. Just in time, Mashable, the digital news website, has provided a handy guide in “Parents and Grads: Here’s the Social Media Conversation You Need to Have.” The article offers excellent advice that even your digitally hip college grad might not know. A few key points to share:
- “Investigate Yourself”: Tell your child to do a Google search. A potential employer certainly will. Better to know what’s out there in cyberspace so your child has a ready explanation for anything murky.
- Use Facebook wisely. Potential employers will certainly check out your child’s Facebook page and be influenced by it. Tales abound of job interviews and offers being pulled after an employer saw unflattering material on a Facebook page. The first line of defense is the privacy settings to restrict the fun and games to friends.
- Equally important though is for a new grad to allow “everyone” to view a Facebook page that offers a flattering profile picture, education, work experience and contact information. Facebook also offers company pages where job seeker can “like” a potential employer and gather company info as well as several other apps.
Beyond Facebook there’s Linkedin. While your child may regard this professional network as restricted to Baby Boomers and Gen X that’s not true, and it can be extremely useful in a job search. Mashable has conveniently provided an excellent “Beginner’s Guide to Linkedin” for new grads, coincidentally written by my former student Stephanie Buck. Pass it along to your child and urge them to follow the steps Ms. Buck outlines.
If you haven’t joined Linkedin you should, and then use it to introduce some of your professional connections to your resident job seeker. Those six degrees of separation are often very useful!