Roberta Chinsky Matuson
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A Note to Parents: Why Your College Grad Can’t Find Work

Unemployed Youth

Over the past several days, I’ve been in discussion with a number of people on how the recession is preventing recent college grads from finding employment. Some believe the economy is to blame for the inability of youth to land meaningful employment. Others believe there are deeper forces at play. Read this and decide for yourself.

Here’s what was recently shared with me.

  • “Can you find me a job that starts at 11:00 AM? I’m up late at night because I play in a rock band.” Son of an executive.
  • “When will I get promoted so I don’t have anyone telling me what to do?” Recent graduate of a private college.
  • “We are going to move to a smaller home so our son can’t come back and live with us when he graduates.” Frustrated parent of a soon-to-be college graduate.

What I didn’t hear from either parents or their off spring was the following:

  • “I’ve contacted over a hundred places and I haven’t been able to get any interviews.”
  • “Maybe I need to go back to school and pick a major where there are actually jobs.”
  • “I need to adjust my expectations, as paying my dues no longer sounds like such a bad thing.”

College placement offices are doing their best, but your kid has to do their part as well. Before you blame the economy, ask your child the following questions.

  • Have you made an appointment with the college placement office or the alumni placement office?
  • How many people, excluding Facebook friends, have you personally contacted this week regarding work?
  • Are you willing to give up your night gig so that you can get a full-time gig during traditional work hours?

Then ask yourself the following:

  • What if anything am I doing to contribute to this situation? For example, is home so comfortable that my kid doesn’t appear to be leaving any time soon?
  • Is the weekly “allowance” that I’m giving my kid preventing him or her from growing up?
  • Am I ready to kick my kid off the couch and take my home back?

It’s tough to be a parent and it’s even harder to play the role of job coach. Kids tune parents out and are more apt to listen when someone, other than a parent,  is telling them what needs to be done. If you are ready to let your child become the adult you know they can be, then consider hiring a neutral third-party who will get the job done. The holidays are right around the corner. Give you child a gift that keeps on giving. The gift of financial independence.

I’d like to hear the reasons why you think today’s college grads aren’t finding work. Please post your comments on the blog. Would also love to hear from college grads who have found work.



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  1. Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    They also dress for interviews as though they are running late for class. They may be wearing the appropriate suit, but they just washed their hair and left it wet, they wear something that reveals a tattoo that could be easily concealed, their shoes look like they’ve been worn every single day for the past five years, and they do not know how to confidently present themselves. The college grads who dress well and know how to showcase their talents and have a personality that says “I’m all business” stand out like gangbusters. The others? HR professionals go back to their desks and say to their colleagues, “You won’t believe what I just saw.” The colleagues say, “Oh, yes, we will.”

  2. Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Thats true what you have said. my experience is that in today’s world to find the job is very tough cos nowadays is a very band kind of financial crisis all over the world. on the other hand if you have job, now its up to you how will you survive.

  3. Robert Ridley
    Posted October 18, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    “I’ve contacted over a hundred places and I haven’t been able to get any interviews.”

    This happened to me, so I went to grad school. After I graduated, the same thing happened even though I was applying for jobs that wanted people with the degree I earned.

    “Maybe I need to go back to school and pick a major where there are actually jobs.”

    1) I did this and it didn’t work.
    2) Employers need to understand that for some of their jobs, you don’t need to earn a specific degree in that field in order to perform the job well.

    “I need to adjust my expectations, as paying my dues no longer sounds like such a bad thing.”

    How do you tell that to someone who graduated from college because they grew up in a low income household having to struggle, only to be told you still have to take low income jobs even though you graduated from college, meaning your life is not going to get any better if you take that job than it would be if you keep waiting for the job that actually pays good money?

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