Reston, VA (PRWEB) June 20, 2008
You've nurtured them from birth to this point, celebrated graduation. Now what? VisualCV, Inc. and career coach Ford R. Myers offer these tips for helping your grad launch a career in an useful, empowering (as opposed to "helicoptering") way:
1) Help them establish a "professional brand" -- The paper resume that you surely relied on is a great start, but now there are tools better suited for the digital age that can help your child present a 360-degree view of their skills, strengths and accomplishments all in one place. By supplementing the flat resume with a VisualCV, your kid can present a professional online image that goes beyond text to include graphics, photos, video and relevant links to showcase educational achievements, internships and work experience, volunteer work, interesting projects, professor recommendations, etc. Privacy settings can allow your child to share their VisualCV with select individuals or publish internet wide as a mini professional web page. That's how George Mason alum Jason Wray got his first job!
2) Teach them to be smart online -- Every new worker should have an online presence. In this age of cell phone cameras, You Tube and FaceBook, the trail your children leave on the Internet will follow them for a long time to come. Employers know this, and they research job candidates on the Internet before making hiring decisions. It is vitally important that every graduate (and you too, parents) takes control of their online identity, and carefully monitors the image they're creating on the Internet. Another benefit of building a VisualCV is that it's portable and can be incorporated anywhere your kid already has a digital footprint. This way, whether they live in MySpace or send a job-related Twitter, they can link to their professional profile.
3) Leverage family relationships & business contacts for first "break." The work world is more competitive than ever, and new graduates face serious challenges in getting their careers started-out on the right foot. Even the most qualified young candidate can benefit from a bit of help in the form of "connections." Promote your grad or include their VisualCV within your own social networks like LinkedIn. Rather than being overly proud and rejecting such assistance, encourage your children to welcome the idea of "getting a break" through friends or family as they launch their careers. It will still be up to them to prove themselves on the job, or they won't be employed there for long -- even if they're related to the boss.
4) Invest in career development coaching. After spending tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars on college, it's a pretty sure bet that your children never received ANY training or guidance in how to choose a career, get a job, or participate productively in the workforce. Don't let all that money go to waste. Invest another 1%-5% to ensure that your children's education will pay-off, with smarter career choices, better jobs, and higher long-term compensation.
5) Teach responsible work habits. Patience, discipline, respect, industriousness and punctuality are habits that were "assumed" in previous generations of new workers -- but these qualities are all too rare today among recent college graduates. Employers complain about this, and companies are worried about how to find, develop and retain a workforce to replace the huge numbers of retiring baby boomers. The new employees who will get ahead are the ones who embrace and embody these traits.
6) Provide resources, support and encouragement -- but don't coddle. Many new workers have a sense of entitlement. Many have never had to work or assume responsibility for earning any level of income. Naturally, this leads to problems when recent grads are suddenly thrust into the job market. Even worse, many parents have indulged or "spoiled" their children, leading to a sense of entitlement. Your children will have to work for a long time, and it's important that they get used to this idea from a young age. Once your children have finished school, make it clear that they must take responsibility for their own career and income, through good times and bad.
7) Allow your children to pursue the career path they truly love; not the career path you think they should love. If your child is fortunate enough to discover a professional path that he or she truly loves, encourage and facilitate the pursuit of that career. Put the necessary time and resources into this mission, and the results will be powerful. If your children struggle with identifying their best career directions, get career coaching for them to help them find their "right" work. Avoid the temptation to push your children into the career paths YOU think they should follow. Instead, let them find their own gifts and passions. This is one of the most generous and healthy things a parent can do for a child.