6 Ways Parents Can Help Their Millenial Children Job Hunt

It can be hard for parents of Millennials to let go.  It is so hard that parents of this group of young adults – both Baby Boomers and Generation X – now entering the workforce have been labeled “helicopter parents” and now “snowplow parents.”

Likewise, it is equally hard for many Millennials, also called Generation Y, to escape their parents’ sphere of influence.  The recession has only made matters worse. Tough economic times have forced many 20, 30 and even 40 year olds to return home. Recent statistics from the Census Bureau tell us that 49% of 18- to 24-year-olds live at home with their parent(s), compared with 35% in 1960. In 2008, 10% of 25- to 34-year-olds reported living at home. That is a 56% increase since 1970—such an increase that we now have another label for this generation: “Boomerangers.”

It’s natural for parents to care about their children’s future.  But escorting your 20-something to an interview or acting as your child’s agent with the CEO or VP of Human Resources to negotiate his or her salary and benefits may be carrying the relationship too far.  And parents – school days are over for your adult children.  You don’t to harass your child’s manager over a poor performance review like you did your child’s teacher during his elementary and high school years.

As Millennials and their parents stress out about finding jobs, it’s the right thing to do to discuss options.  And it’s not wrong for parents to want to hover like you’ve done for the past two decades. It’s just that there’s a limit to the value of your good intentions.  There’s a fine line between taking a heartfelt interest and becoming a co-dependent in a non-productive relationship.

Here are six ways parents can help their Millennial children job hunt:

  • Read over their resume to give you a fresh perspective, but NOT write the resume, word for word.
  • Coach them on how to negotiate a salary offer, but DO NOT negotiate on their behalf, term by term.
  • Brainstorm ideas for their job search, but NOT do the search, job by job.
  • Practice interview questions with your child, but DO NOT serve as their reference.
  • Alert your child to a local job fair, but DO NOT attend it with him (or worse yet, as his “agent”).
  • Talk over the pros and cons of job choices, but DO NOT make the final job decision.

If you have done all of the above and your Millenial does not know what they want to do in life, get a copy of Strengths Finder and discuss with them their identified strengths. This will build their self esteem and confidence to get out in the big bad world and find a job they are capable of performing.

Photo Credit Brooks Gibbs.

Recruiting the Millenials

Check out our new video about what is important to Millenials when considering to work for a company.

Recruiting the Millenials from Sherri Elliott-Yeary on Vimeo.

The Generational Lense

I heard an interesting story about a 23-year old who recently announced she quit her job at the local restaurant.

“You left your employer short-handed on a Saturday night?” scolded her Traditionalist grandfather.

“That’s going to look terrible on your resume,” fretted her Baby Boomer mom.

“Don’t you know how hard it is to find a job these days?” worried Gen X brother.
“I asked off three weeks ago! They scheduled me to work anyway.  I’m not missing Stacey’s wedding.” She said confidently.

Perfect examples of how four generations handle things differently.  From their point of view, they are all correct but each one looks at the issue through a different GENERATIONAL LENSE.

Today’s workforce comes with very different expectations and values.  How they are rewarded, use technology, communicate and see education and advancement are in quite different ways.

Traditionalist aka The Silent Generation are 65 years and older still make up to 10% of the workforce due the rising cost of healthcare.  They are healthier than previous generations; they still want to work, even if it is only part time.  Their values, shaped by the Depression and WWII, are of discipline, sacrifice and loyalty and they demand that of others.

Boomers entered the job market with 80 million others.  Competitive workaholics, they are finally saving for retirement, could it be too late???. At 45% of the workforce and 46-64 years old, their sheer numbers help them call the shots.

Just ask the Gen Xers, 30-45 years old and always competing with the Boomers.  These “children of divorce” insist on balance between work and family life but never seem to find it.  Managing time is the big issue as this “juggling” generation struggles to make it to their kid’s soccer game and manage their careers.  Their weapons: the technology they understand so well and the networking empires they’ve built.

Here come the Millennials aka the Trophy Babys, 29 years and younger.  At 76 million they are nearly many of them as Boomers.  Their educations often cost more than the family home and they are looking for a payoff.  They grew up surfing the internet, texting and playing on teams.  This “networked generation” knows how to find everything and if not, they can find someone who does.

Do they all have anything in common? Yes! They all want to do good work for great companies and feel valued.  How does a manager make that happen? Start by looking for ways to leverage their different strengths.  Help them see that each of them brings something of value others can use to reach company objectives and goals.  Discourage the “we know better” attitude.  For example, have Traditionalists mentor Millennials about the big picture and Millennials coach Traditionalists about social networking.  Give everybody a chance to strut their best stuff and the company of tomorrow WINS!

Photo Credit Sets ‘n’ Service.

Junior Acheivement You're Hired Event

Here is a recent video of me at the Junior Achievement You’re Hired Event.  Please take a look at my video and thank you for supporting me.

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