Parents and the new grad: It's your kid's career, not yours


Globe Careers is a weekly article in the Report on Business Weekend section of the Globe and Mail. In October, author Leah Eichler's article titled "It's your kid's career, not yours" struck a chord.

New grads are regular clients, and most of the time, someone other than they are paying for my service. Moms, dads, aunties and even a sister had gifted the new grad in their family a professional resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and interview coaching.

Eichler's article pointed an accusatory finger at "helicopter parents," those paretns who hover over their offspring's every move, like a micro-managing manager who does not trust his or her employees. However, it's not their own kids that the helicopter parents don't trust; it's everyone else! Teachers, professors and even, gulp and gasp, recruiters!!! Yes, they've been known to attempt to interview on their new grad's behalf and interview the company to make sure it is "good enough" for their obviously special offspring! Forgive me, I cannot hold back a sense of ridiculousness, as this IS ridiculous!

It got me to wondering whether it was a good thing that these new grads are being gifted my service. It brought to mind some advice I had gotten from a counsellor. As a mom of two daughters, I sometimes struggle with what is a "hand up" and what is a "handout." My counsellor had a great and easy method to assess this question: the handout fosters dependency (think paying a monthly expense), whereas the hand up fosters independence. Applying this to gifting a professional resume definitely fosters independence. Not only that, because it signigicantly improves the chance of landing a position related to the new grad's studies, it will help the new grad become financially independent faster! Those student loans will be paid, savings will be possible, and independence established.

In contrast, the new grad who sends out a mediocre resume and continues working in a low-pay, part-time job (claiming there are just no jobs out there, that it's impossible to land a job with no experience etc), will likely continue depending on mom and dad, living in the basement, requiring lots of handouts. Being a helicopter parent is not the answer, but providing a hand up makes sense!