Parents: Are You Really Helping Your Millennial’s Job Search?

Modern mother squatting whispering into daughter’s ear

As a parent, you want to help your children. It doesn’t matter their age or phase in life. It’s in a parent’s DNA to want to offer guidance and direction to their kids.

But when it comes to helping your millennial’s job search, are you actually offering the right guidance and the right direction?

Helping your millennial with their job search

I ask because finding a job today is not the same as it was before. The old ways of job hunting don’t work in today’s world, especially for the jobs available to millennials.

The steps you took to find your jobs—steps like networking with people way up the chain—aren’t productive anymore. They won’t help your millennial’s job search, and they won’t help your millennial get a job that they want.

Trust me, I know.

I found this out while trying to help my own daughter, Kasey, with her job search. She wanted a job in a new field, in New York, a place she’d never lived. Enter mom, her personal career coach.

“Try networking,” I said.

I searched my LinkedIn network (first mistake) and gave her a list of senior people I knew working in her desired field. Kasey took one look at the list of intimidating titles and handed it back. None of these people, she explained, are close enough to my situation to help me.

I know another way,” she said.

Kasey did it a different way—a way we now recognize as “connecting,” the new way of networking.

Kasey found a job she loves by reaching out to some young alumni that were doing the type of work she wanted to do. They gave her referrals to job opportunities that she never would have found otherwise—jobs that weren’t even posted online.

Kasey’s networking connections also gave her practical advice and details on the interviewing and hiring processes for these jobs. My senior contacts never would have known that information. Because the millennial job search is different than when you were their age, so is millennial networking.

Millennials are moving jobs every few years. They are far more in tune with the job market mechanics than any of my contacts—myself included.

Millennial job searching: connecting two steps ahead

Kasey found her job by reaching out to those two steps ahead of her—by millennial networking. This insight shouldn’t have surprised me.

As parents, we’ve often relied on the advice of those who are two steps ahead of us, rather than the wisdom of our own parents.

I remember when my first daughter, Allie, was born. My mother-in-law flew across the country to help me. She had raised three kids. But wasn’t that back before car seats and crib standards, I wondered?

I got my best advice from toddler-moms.

They knew practical things like which Tylenol drops to use and how to manage napping schedules. Through every stage, I’ve found the advice of parents just ahead of me to be the most relevant. You probably have, too.

That’s how it is for millennials job hunting today. The job market has changed. Networking practices have changed. Today, it’s all about connecting, networking the modern way. If you want to help your millennial effectively find a job, encourage them to connect to those who are where they want to be.

To help your millennials with their job search, remember:

  1. The connections who you think are most valuable when it comes to job searching are actually not valuable connections for our millennial children.
  2. Millennials should connect with people in their network, not yours.
  3. In a job search, people who are two steps ahead of your millennial are the most valuable networking connections.
  4. Referrals come from other millennials who are close to those jobs, not senior executives.

Offer your millennials this networking advice when they’re job hunting, and you’ll look like a rockstar.

Kasey didn’t listen to me (luckily). Through her experience I learned how connecting works today for millennials. And MANGO, the FREE networking tool, was born.

Today, MANGO helps millennials find the job search success Kasey had. More and more career coaches are using MANGO to help their clients and recent grads get face-to-face with their network.

Get your millenial started by using MANGO’s FREE Email Builder for step-by-step coaching on writing outreach emails. They’ll thank you for it.

Happy connecting!

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Sue Wollan Fan is the Founder & CEO of MANGO, a free networking tool whose mission is to expand opportunities for all by making networking easier, accessible, and more human. She has mentored hundreds to succeed professionally while serving as a corporate executive, nonprofit leader, tech entrepreneur, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping others do work that matters.