HOORAY! Your child has graduated! Now what?!

//HOORAY! Your child has graduated! Now what?!

Four Top Tips For Parents of Young Adults Who Are Entering The Job Market


September. Around this time of year many parents are breathing a sigh of relief that their child has successfully graduated from university. After a summer holiday, they’ll soon be setting off on their next trajectory and entering the job market.

The 2020s is a world apart from that in which we grew up. Many of the fastest-growing companies didn’t exist five years ago. Entry-level roles that previous generations landed, offering security and career development, are becoming increasingly rare.

So, how can you best help them enter into a world of work that is changing at a dizzying speed?


Ricky thinking about entering the job market


First of all, try not to put pressure on them.

Yes, your friend’s son or daughter might be doing brilliantly at wherever they’re up to, but this comparison rarely acts as an incentive or encouragement. Indeed, it is more likely to dampen what may be already brittle confidence.

This generation is swamped with images of others seemingly living their ‘best lives’ across social media and can have a deep sense of FOMO and inadequacy.


Secondly, encourage them to work out what they’d like to do and what they’d be good at.

Dont focus too much on their academic subjects.

Most likely these were chosen for their GCSEs, then narrowed down at A’levels and further still to their Degree. The world of work is far different from an academic institution and, although past behaviour can be an indicator of future results, keeping the field narrowed to those studies at school is not a good idea.

Many of these subjects could have been an area of great interest and strength. However, the choice was just as likely influenced by a subject teacher who was particularly good (lucky you!). Or that the school’s strategy was to generate alumni in that field. Perhaps it was simply chosen as the only route into a particular university.

A degree subject does not necessarily mean a career pathway.


Thirdly, help them clarify their values

Think about what is most important to them both in their professional and personal lives.

The best decisions are based upon a solid foundation of exploration and information; identifying their values is the bedrock to choosing the right career path. Our values are who we are in the very deepest sense of ourselves; understanding them is the best first step.

Looking for a fun and informative way to work this out? We’ve got a free values assessment for them to try here


The fourth thing is to understand what employers are looking for

Today employers value young adults who are self-aware, know their strengths and weaknesses, are proactive and know what they want in a career. Confidence, creativity, flexibility and excellent communication skills are critical to success.

The approach many parents take sounds a lot like ‘just get a job, any job’ (after all we did in the 1980s!).  There can be a risk of an untargeted ‘spraying and praying’ approach and then taking the first thing that comes up.

Whilst this tactic may indeed work for some, it is unlikely to lead to long-term satisfaction.

So often young adults are tempted to step onto a career ladder which they later realise is leaning against the wrong wall. Years down the line they find themselves stuck, with motivation and confidence diminishing.

Ladder as metaphore for entering the job market in the right way

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Entering The Job Market – Final Thoughts

The first job is an incredibly important time in a young adult’s life. Where it can be seen as simply a good way to get experience before the real career begins, there is a real danger of getting stuck going down the wrong path.

Many young adults get allured by early promotions, growing salaries, and fear of change, and end up pouring time down a career path that’s not what they really want.

As parents, our role is to give them the freedom and support to explore all the different options. To help them understand themselves. Often, the best choice after graduation is getting a short-term role which allows them the time and freedom to make a fully thought-through decision.

Entering The Job Market

We’re tried and tested experts in helping young people figure out and achieve the pathway that works for them. Get in touch and ask us how you can best support your young adult to get their best start. Contact Catherine now on 0203 130 0285 or catherine@ylr.group