Three ideas to give your child a fighting chance at career success

The world is changing rapidly. More of our manufacturing jobs are heading overseas. We are seeing. for the first time, white-collar jobs consumed by technology and other innovative cost-saving ideas. So when your child graduates from high school or college what will they do? In 2012, 36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31—the so-called Millennial generation—were living in their parents’ home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Not a very exciting option for parents or for young people. Job hunting is tough and your kids better be ready to go up against the BEST and win.

Preparation starts early and at home.

So what can you do to give your child the best opportunity for future success in the world of work. First of all you need to know that preparation starts early and at home. Not in school, not in college but it starts right in the home with you as the teacher. You have heard this many times but it’s worth repeating: parents are the first and best teachers a child will ever have. There are many outstanding teachers who play a significant role in a child’s life….. but what you do is a parent every day can have much more impact than any teacher.

 A Simple Test

Here’s a simple test that you can give your children to see if they are moving in the right direction to be employable in the 21st century world of work. You can administer this test as early as five years old but the lessons for work preparation start much earlier. Here we go!

1) Watch how your children greet another adult. Do they look them in the eye? Do they shake hands with a firm but pleasant handshake? Can they respond appropriately to a question or statement from the greeting adult? For example: adult:“how are you today?” a good answer might be : ”fine thank you how are you?”. Can they talk with another person and engage with appropriate conversation ?

2) When talking with your child do they look at you and engage you with more than a one word answer. For example: if you asked the question”what would you like to do today?” Can they answer you in a sentence of more than 10 words? This is a skill that starts early and is essential if they are going to be effective in a job interview.

3) Attitude matters. When they are around friends and other people do they demonstrated a positive attitude about themselves and others? Skills can be taught but attitude is very difficult to change. Employers will hire someone with a good attitude and less skilled than someone who has a questionable attitude and better skills.

So what can you do?

Help your child to acquire the skill of greeting people with a pleasant and firm handshake. Looking at people when they talk to them is extremely important. Have them put down their PDAs when they are having a conversation with you or others. You would be surprise at the number of college graduates who cannot look at the interviewer when answering questions. Chances are they’re not going to get the job.
Help your child work on building a strong and positive self-esteem. Talk with them about what went well in school, on the athletic field or with friends each day. Help them learn to verbalize and have a positive expression. This may not come easy but it does come with practice. Help them understand the importance of being a team player. Job candidates under estimate how much hiring managers care about interpersonal and communication skills. They will need to communicate with others and be part of the team if they are going to be successful. Hope this helps and gives you something to think about.

I would love to hear your feedback and any ideas or suggestions you might have.