Best Gift for the Future

Did you hear the one about the interview candidate who brought his mother to the interview?

Actually, that wasn't a joke. The college student brought his significant mother to his interview… his second interview. He was not hired. (Neither was she.)

What sounds unbelievable, happens frequently. I hear it from employers and career advisors at the universities. One told about a mother who called in, "Can I attend your career fair in place of my son?"

The answer: "No."

Moms do a lot of job legwork for their children: sending resumes, cold calling for interviews, even attempting to negotiate salary and benefits. When one young man was out sick from work, his grandmother called in sick for him.

We know these moms. In K-12, they did science fair projects, term papers, college essays. I would pity the opponents, if they let moms in the wrestling ring.

Attention helicopter moms and dads: step away from the helipad. It's okay to point, even nudge your post-college age children in the right direction. But for goodness sake, let go of their ankles.

Many young job seekers wail, "I looked at all these organizations' websites and there are no openings."

Instead of vaulting into the process, give them this list:

  1. Create a list of target organizations.

  2. Research those organizations. Write three questions for each.

  3. Find names and titles of people employed by those organizations on LinkedIn. Note fellow alumni or shared contacts.

  4. Lift your phone and cold call: a minimum three calls a day. (Easier to delete an email than hang up on a human voice.) Ask for informational interviews.

  5. Follow through with resumes, cover letters and thank you notes.

Letting go isn't easy. But it's the best gift you can give your adult children for their future.


Culture and Manners Institute