Fact or Fiction: Helping Your Child Launch a Career

By: Staff
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About This Quiz

An April 2011 study by Rutgers University found that only 53 percent of students who graduated from a four-year college between 2006 and 2010 have found full-time employment. And you know what that means? Many of them have moved back home. If your kid's one of them and it's not your life's goal to support him into his retirement years, take our quiz to find out how to help "launch" his career instead.

One way to help with your adult child's job search is to follow up with his or her potential employers after a promising interview to put in a good word and negotiate a higher salary.

While interference from "helicopter parents" is becoming more common, it's by no means advisable. If a jobseeker's own parents don't trust him or her to handle new situations, why should an employer?

By some estimates, 85 percent of new college graduates will move back home out of financial necessity in 2011.

Consulting firm Twentysomething, Inc. predicts that the economic downturn will continue to hit young college graduates hard in 2011, leaving many with no choice but to continue their job searches from the comfort of their parents' homes.

Summer internships -- even the unpaid kind -- should be viewed as a valuable investment toward your child's career goals.

Not only are recent graduates with internship experience more likely to land jobs, they also enjoy starting salaries an average of 20 percent higher than their less-experienced peers.

As a parent, you are the person best suited to review your child's resume and suggest improvements to his or her cover letter, interview approach and other job search techniques.

In many cases, the finer points of job search strategy are best left to the professionals. What worked for your most recent job search 15, 10 or even five years ago may be outdated today, and your child may be more open to advice that comes from an objective third party.

The best time to search for an internship is the summer after senior year of college.

In a tough job market, the more work experience you leave college with, the better. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that many universities now encourage students to apply for internships beginning in their freshman year.

The median starting salary for students graduating in 2009 and 2010 was lower than the median starting salary for students graduating in 2006 and 2007.

Despite a few faint glimmers of hope in the national employment picture, starting salaries for new college grads dropped by 10 percent from 2007 to 2010. (And the median for women who graduated in 2010 is a full $5,000 below the median for men, but we'll save that discussion for another day.)

The trend of new college graduates returning home to live with their parents is called the "yo-yo effect."

The name given to this growing phenomenon is the "boomerang effect." (We'll save "yo-yo" for some future trend in which kids return home, move out again, return home, move out again, return home, and move out again, over and over.)

Your address book may be the most valuable asset you bring to your child's job search.

At least one thing hasn't changed in decades of job searching: Who you know often matters more than what you know. Encourage your adult child to contact your friends, relatives, and colleagues to ask for advice, request job leads or arrange informational interviews.

In some cases, it makes more sense for your adult child to accept an unpaid job than a paid one.

Unpaid or low-paying internships are a necessary first step along certain career paths. Even volunteer work can open doors through valuable work experience and connections. If there's any way you can swing it, encourage your recent grad to pursue even low- or no-paying opportunities in his or her chosen field. The long-term rewards will offset the temporary financial hardship.

There's only so much you can do to help your adult child launch a career.

You can provide guidance, financial assistance, and job search necessities such as business cards, interview clothes or even resume services, but ultimately it's your grown son or daughter who will need to take responsibility for his or her own job search.

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