Your Parents & Your Job Search

Last week, I spoke about the holiday job search and your ever inquiring family  who asks you about your job or internship status.  After holidays such as the winter break and spring break – career services offices frequently see a spike in activity because parents often ask their students, “Do you have a job yet?” So, now might be a good time to address the issue of your parents and your job search.

Parents can be an invaluable asset- a support group- but they can, at times, be too involved. Parents that hover over their students are what the world of academia calls “Helicopter Parents“- parents who are rarely out of reach, and even try to intercede at times on their student’s behalf.  Parental involvement, while well-meaning, can range from the reasonable to the irrational.

sb6356How Your Parents Can Help

  • Ask them to listen objectively to your career goals and provide feedback.
  • Ask them to help you clarify your goals, priorities and values.
  • Parents or guardians have their own networks. Ask them to connect you with their connections and to let them know you are looking for a job or internship.
  • Have them review your resume and practice interviewing with them.
  • LISTEN to their feedback and advice. (As you get older, you’ll find your parents were right about a lot of things.)
  • Ask them about what benefits you should look for in job offers. They are going to have experience with the intricacies of benefit packages.

What Your Parents Should Avoid

Some of the following examples may sound “out there,” but in the world of college career services, they’ve happened at some point!

  • Do NOT take your parent/guardian with you to a career fair or job interview! It will reflect poorly on you with potential employers.
  • Do NOT allow them to log in to your job search system and apply for jobs or sign you up for interviews on your behalf. That is solely your responsibility.
  • Do NOT ask your parent/guardian to call an employer for you to check on your applicant status.
  • Do NOT ask your parent/guardian to negotiate a job offer for you.
  • Do not allow your parent/guardian to do any of the above – even if they offer. Your career is your career, and thus your responsibility to manage.

sb543Help Parents Help You

If you feel that you could use more (or less) input from your parents but they aren’t sure how to help, provide them with the following resources:

Parents – Things to Do

Parents – Helping Your Student Year by Year

Parents – Things to Avoid

The most important thing to remember is that parents are in your corner, but at some point you’ll have to stand alone in your career/job search. Let them be your No. 1 Fans but be sure to get out there and be the best candidate you can be on your own!


Lanie James serves as Employer Development Coordinator for the Career Services office at Oklahoma State University, also known as . She holds both a B.A. in Journalism Broadcasting and a M.S. in Mass Communication from OSU. Her research emphasis focused on emerging and social media in Career Services. She also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges & Employers (@OkACE). Connect with Lanie on LinkedIn or Twitter @JLanie.

Related posts:

  1. Managing Your Job Search & Your Parents
  2. Helicopter Parents: Is Hovering Harmful to Career Goals?
  3. Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search

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