"My kid needs a job."

It’s tough to be a parent these days; not that parenting has ever been easy. Increasingly I’m getting questions from parents about their adult children and their careers. How can he/she get a foot in the door at a company where he/she would like to work? What is the best path for him/her to take with his/her career?  Should he/she get an MBA, go to law school, or participate in a program like Teach for America? How will he/she ever get a job if he/she don’t wake up until 11am?

The parents I’m speaking with have most likely helped their children with college selection, bills and, according to a recent statistic, spent a staggering $250,000 raising them.  Graduation has been celebrated. Belongings were retrieved from campus.  Now what?  How can you help your adult child thrive in his/her career?  What role (if any) should you play in helping in his/her career?

You are not alone

According to the most recent US Census, 16% of men and 11% of women between the ages of 25 and 34 live at home with their parents.  A recent Pew Research study showed that 36% of those aged 18–31 live at home.  This suggests that adult children and their careers are also impacting their parents’ careers and their plans for retirement.  Luckily, there are resources available and steps parents can take to aid their children in launching their careers.


AssessmentsProfessional assessments help individuals identify strengths and preferences in individuals related to their careers and skills.  Consider icebergs as a metaphor. We make assumptions about what we see - the tip of the iceberg, the small part that is above the water. To really understand strengths and unique differentiators, career assessments get below the surface.  The benefits of using career assessments include confirming what is known, discovering hidden potential, comparing one’s self to others and providing career direction. At Career Partners International, we constantly use professional assessments to help our clients to make the best possible career choices.  Your son or daughter should also explore and take advantage of career resources offered through his/her college’s career services office.  If this isn’t an option, an outside career consultant can assist with professional assessments.

Create an Action Plan

Your child should make an action plan. Finding a job can be a full-time job in and of itself. It can be a challenging and rewarding experience.  Often a new graduate comes into my office with vague targets, unsure of the direction in which they’d like to take their career.  We work to bring focus to the job search, create accountability points and help individuals like your children achieve their career goals.

Monitor Progress

Create an Action PlanYou care about your child and you want to help him/her succeed.  You can help by holding your adult child accountable for their action plan.  Career action plans should not be the only thing you talk about; establish regular touch points to discuss progress, potential issues, and what assistance may be needed in their job search.  Be careful in your approach: coming on too strong or too weak may not be helpful. Set boundaries, talk about activity levels (outreaches, meetings, etc.), but be sure you don’t hover or micromanage either.  

Get Out of the Way

You have raised an amazing child – strengths, weaknesses, challenges and all. He/she can carve his/her own path with guidance from you and others, hard work and a little luck. You can’t do it for him/her.  Don’t be surprised if he/she comes home with a “new” idea that you planted weeks before during a touch point meeting. Whatever works!  Even mistakes and missteps can be great teachers during a job search.

While you may get frustrated if your child doesn’t hear or heed your advice, he/she may listen to an outside career coach.  A career coach, an assessment, an action plan, and some strategic parental encouragement may be just what he/she needs to launch a successful career (and get out of the house, if that is your preference).

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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