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Please, let your child grow up.

Today’s young people are more thoughtful and kinder than many of the older job seekers they’re competing against. They care about making a difference more than their own personal finances or another self-serving endeavor. From the outside, it seems that parents are pouring more of themselves into these young hearts and minds than ever before. This effort is incredibly admirable.

But, can I please make a plea to you, Mom and Dad? Once your kids are on their way out of college, please let them grow up.

Very often, parents want to perform a job search on behalf of their child. The parents mean well. They don’t want the child (or should I say adult) to struggle on their way into the real world. The problem is, brokering the child’s job search doesn’t do the child any favors.

Many young people today seem to be so used to parental involvement that they don’t recognize their parent’s behavior as unusual. This means that they don’t push back when the parent has crossed a line.

But, you know who does think it’s unusual? The hiring manager and the other people in the child’s life who might otherwise help them to find a job. Whether they share their thoughts or not, they’re thinking it.

Struggling to find a job is part of life. That may sound strange, but the process of finding a job doesn’t just land us a place to work – it teaches us how to look for a job. It teaches us how to network. It teaches us how to solve problems. And, sometimes the process of looking can also teach us what we do and don’t want to do for a living. Those are very important lessons. Lessons that we will miss if mom and dad serve us a job on a platter.

Don’t get me wrong. Advice from a parent is incredibly valuable. Talk to your kids. Answer their questions. Give them guidance. You’ve been down the road and you have so much helpful information to share.

Then, take a step back. Let your child do the work. You wouldn’t take a math test for them in high school. You’d help them study and then you’d let them prove themselves in the classroom.

Last year, I interviewed a Chief Marketing Officer for my podcast. He described a situation to me where a young employee received a performance review they didn’t like. You won’t believe what happened. Mom called him to talk over her child’s concerns. Can you imagine how much that hurt the child’s future? The child missed the lesson, and in the process, they lost the precious respect of their boss.

I get it. Parents are just trying to help. But, at this stage of life, parents will be the most helpful from the sidelines. Trust that you’ve been in enough work to this point. Your young person has their head on straight. They know what’s important to them. Now, let them go out and get it.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Finding Your First Job

You’ve made it through four years of college. Now what? Getting your first job after graduation can feel like a daunting task. We have such high hopes of finding the perfect career quickly and easily – until we hit a wall. Based on a recent piece by the Wall Street Journal, many college graduates can relate.

The National Association of Colleges and Employees reports that companies plan to hire 5% more young workers this year than last year. This sounds like a great forecast. It makes you wonder what’s going on that’s impacting new graduates.

It seems there’s a mismatch of what companies are looking for and what applicants have to offer. Approximately thirty percent of applications aren’t meeting the minimum requirements for entry level jobs. To compound the issue, some jobs require higher level minimum requirements than are really needed to perform the job. This means that companies aren’t able to find the candidates they want. And, young job seekers are left without jobs.

In addition, ninety percent of college seniors believed their interviewing skills were strong. This was a stark contrast to the perceptions of hiring managers.

What’s a young person to do? First, know that finding your first job can be tough, no matter what you studied. Decide that you’re going to commit to your job search in the same way you committed to college. It’s a process that takes hard work, time, and dedication.

But, don’t assume your college degree along is enough to land a job. Do everything you can to grow your skills and increase your work experience. Search for internships, paid or unpaid. Volunteer your services for nonprofits that will allow you to grow your marketable skills. Target opportunities that will help you to beef up your resume, not just your pocketbook.

If your college has a career center, this is a good time to get to know them better. Get help with your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Give your elevator pitch to anyone who will listen. Write out answers to common interview questions and review them. In other words, prepare and practice, practice, practice.

When you search for a new job, don’t rely on the internet to serve up your next opportunity. Betting that the company will call you after you apply online rarely works. Network as much as you can. If possible, contact the hiring manager directly to express your interest.

Last, but not least – take a little pressure of yourself. When you first take a new job, it can be tough to know if it’s a good job for one year or for your entire career. Only real work experience can help to give you this information. Don’t feel like you have to find the perfect job for your first try. Look for a good job that you find exciting and that you’ll be proud to put on your resume.

If you stick to these principles and treat job searching as a job, you’ll land yours faster.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.