My standard response (crafted after several such requests) is, “OK, let me get this straight. You want to pay me to tell your kid what you have been telling them for the past two years?”
As this little series is for the PARENTS of new grads maybe you should ‘blame me’ for this advice rather than making it your own–which of course you can always do. I just happen to know how far that will go.
To the point: Networking for new grads. The truth remains that 60-80% (maybe more) of all jobs are found as a result of networking. So let’s network! In my experience this is NOT the first place young people go to seek out employment. They go online. More about that in a minute.
I want to recommend that parents offer up their own personal connections. To some kids this may be anathema and to others, very cool! Next, explain to your kids that Uncle Jeff (Yeah, THAT Uncle Jeff!) has some REALLY amazing connections all over the country. (BTW, no disrespect is implied or intended when I use the term ‘kid.’ It’s just easier than saying ‘young person’ or ‘new grad’ every time.)
Explain to your kids that their goal is not a job but a meet-and-greet; a handshake and a cup of coffee or a meeting at the office. Explain also that they should start small–Aunt Mary for example–to get into the swing of networking: test their personal skills in a professional environment. Starting with your CEO friend is NOT the place to start.
Next, tell your kids to approach the parents of their friends. This is always a great place. There’s something about being not being related that wears better on a young job seeker.
Online networking? You’re already here. LinkedIn. If your kids know how to use it, Super! If not, show them around the place. Click on the menu bar above to the left of the search field; click on Companies and tell your kids to start seeking out the title of those persons they would most like to meet at those companies. Have them drop their target audience an InMail or a Connection Request and then do that about 75 times a day for a week or so. Things will happen!
(Just so you know I have no association with LinkedIn. It just appears that way sometimes because it works, ya know…?!)
Here’s the overall takeaway you need to think about when talking to your kid at this time of the year: The hiring season is behind us. That was Jan, Feb, Mar when new budgets hit allowing for hiring managers to fill slots. Of course there is always critical hiring going on throughout the year but most new college grads will not be considered to fill a critical slot. This DOES NOT give your new grads permission NOT to be looking. They should be getting their resumes into the hands (and databases) of companies that may hire during the secondary hiring season which is late Aug, Sep and maybe Oct. (This is the time of year after the summer holidays when you can actually get 3 people in a company to sign off on a hire because they are all finally back from vacation.) Once again this depends if the budget allows for that hire.
Oct, Nov & Dec should be spent by your new grads REALLY pounding the street (or working retail) and online the rest of the time to get into the Jan hiring queue.
[BTW, for those of you whose kids interned in their field of study during college: Congratulations! They are far and away ahead of the competition. You won’t have to tell “I told you so!”]