How to Help Adult Children Living at Home Find a Job

By Christina Newberry

Often, adult children living at home are unemployed or underemployed. This means that while they are living with their parents, many adult children are on the hunt for a permanent, meaningful job. As a parent, there are some things you can do to help your adult child find employment. However, if you go too far, you may actually hurt your adult child’s chances of landing that first great job.

Here are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your adult child find a job:

1. Help your adult child create a resume. Your adult children living at home may be struggling to come up with meaningful experience to put on a resume, especially if they’re new grads. You can help by reminding them of all the projects, groups, clubs, and other activities they’ve participated in that may demonstrate certain skills or show a sense of commitment. You role here should be strictly as an advisor. Be sure not to actually write the resume for your child – I’ll explain why when I tell you what not to do.

2. Offer job-searching advice. Many young people today may not know how to look for a job beyond searching online job databases. Offer some good, old-fashioned tips like talking to friends, professors, neighbors, and so on. You can also remind them that hitting the pavement (or the mall) with a stack of resumes in hand can be a good way to get a starter job that will help them build experience and skills, and bring in some cash.

3. Work your network. If you have friends or colleagues in a relevant field, it’s okay to suggest your adult child send them a resume, or contact them to ask for industry-specific advice. But do not send your child’s resume on to friends or colleagues yourself, as this can make you look pushy, and your adult child look helpless.

And here’s what NOT to do.

1. Do not write your adult child’s resume. Why? Well, for one thing, it’s always a better strategy to teach your adult children living at home how to do something well, rather than give them the message that they can’t do it well enough by doing it yourself instead. You want to build their confidence, not take it away. Plus, if you kid lands an interview, they’ll have to know that resume inside out – which is much easier if they’re written it themselves.

2. Do not submit your child’s resume to employers, or follow up with employers on your adult child’s behalf. It sounds shocking, but some parents will call potential employers for their kids, or follow up after their adult child has an interview. There is no better way to show a potential employer that your adult child will need hand-holding in the office than to take on this role instead of letting them do it themselves. So, no matter how tempting it is to make sure that potential employer knows your kid is the best one for the job, it’s your responsibility as a parent to zip your lip.

The key message in all of these do’s and don’ts is to support your adult children living at home, and offer any insight and wisdom your own years of employment have given you. But when it comes time to take action, you need to back off, and let your adult children living at home find their own way.

About the Author: Christina Newberry is author of The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Adult Children Living at Home. For more detailed communications strategies that can help you avoid the emotional landmines mentioned in this article, along with a customizable “Under one Roof” contract and household budget calculator, visit her website at www.AdultChildrenLivingAtHome.com.

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