Landing a job just out of college is not as easy as it used to be. With a tight job market and struggling economy, recent college graduates are competing with their peers and seasoned professionals for entry-level positions in their field.

Because this situation is very different from the one you probably encountered as a young professional, it can be difficult to know how to best motivate your student during their job search. There’s certainly a fine line between being a helpful resource and a hindrance when it comes to job seeking.

Here are some examples of what they’ll likely consider hassling, while you might think you’re being encouraging: 

Constantly asking about your student’s job search

They’re probably just as frustrated as you are, particularly if they’ve had to move back home after four years away at college. They’ll come to you when they need advice, encouragement or support—they’ll bring it up if they feel compelled to talk about it.

Doling out unsolicited advice

The job search has changed since you were out there searching for an entry-level job. Not only will unsolicited advice be an annoyance to your student, it could be completely off base in terms of today’s employers and their expectations. It’s best to leave job search advice to campus career center employees, professors, peers, and career experts.

Getting too involved in the job search

You’re not looking for a job—your child is. Although you want to see them succeed, they need to decide what’s best for themselves at this point in their life and career. Again, continue to be a source of support and encouragement—just don’t tag along to job fairs or take it upon yourself to write their resume.

Your student will need encouragement during their job search. And, as any good parent, you want to be involved in their life decisions. But just be careful not to cross that fine line between being supportive and being a bother, no matter how tempted you are to involve yourself in their job search.

How did you help your child during their job search without pestering them? Do you have any advice for other parents with recent college graduates?


Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.