Looking for a job for your 16-24 year old child?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2012
Looking for a job for your 16-24 year old child?
7
Sat, 10-27-2012 - 8:28pm

They should be looking themselves!  But if you or they need help, read on...

I am a working Human Resources professional and I have many years of experience in recruiting, coaching and training.  I am always amazed and disheartened by the interviewing "skills" ahem...or lack of of today's youth.  I get a lot of enjoyment coaching these young people in dragging out their skills and interests and even if I don't hire them, I want them to succeed.  

I am sad to say that I don't think many of them will get very far (for awhile) because they just seem to be socially retarded.  I know they must be bright, but they lack work ethic and they are addicted to social media and other instantaneous and impersonal methods of communication (texting, facebook, email, etc.)  They don't know how to write professional emails or cover letters, (they can't even spell!) and they are generally unenthusiastic in my professional opinion. We could debate all day about why, but the fact is these are our future workers and this situation is desperate.  

Anyone else agree?  Anyone need advice on motivating your 16-24 year old child to succeed?  Ask me.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001

Mother_Bird wrote:
<p>They should be looking themselves!  But if you or they need help, read on...</p><p>I am a working Human Resources professional and I have many years of experience in recruiting, coaching and training.  I am always amazed and disheartened by the interviewing "skills" ahem...or lack of of today's youth.  I get a lot of enjoyment coaching these young people in dragging out their skills and interests and even if I don't hire them, I want them to succeed.  </p><p>I am sad to say that I don't think many of them will get very far (for awhile) because they just seem to be socially retarded.  I know they must be bright, but they lack work ethic and they are addicted to social media and other instantaneous and impersonal methods of communication (texting, facebook, email, etc.)  They don't know how to write professional emails or cover letters, (they can't even spell!) and they are generally unenthusiastic in my professional opinion. We could debate all day about why, but the fact is these are our future workers and this situation is desperate.  </p><p>Anyone else agree?  Anyone need advice on motivating your 16-24 year old child to succeed?  Ask me.</p>

What I found "Disheartening" was some of the words you used and the way in which you used them...

A substitute teacher once called my son "Retarded", those words hurt him and embarassed and humiliated him.

We are talking about teenagers, young people here and they are learning.

The way they communicate is sometimes and somewhat different from us.

In my honest opinion they are quite bright and definitely not "Awkward Socially"...this is their way of "Communicating".

I prefer to have a more positive outlook and believe they will go farther than even they imagine.

Attitude plays a big part.

Having a daughter and son whom I am very proud of might make me a little biased.

Nightangel
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2012
Sat, 10-27-2012 - 11:00pm

--and truly, I meant nothing hurtful or offensive in the way I used the word.  Its a technical term, widely used by people who know what words actually mean.  If a teacher used that term to belitttle a child, that teacher shouldn't be teaching.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2012
Sat, 10-27-2012 - 11:04pm

My feeling is that texting, Facebook and the like RETARD their social growth.  If you disagree with me, we can agree to disagree. But if you don't know what retarded means, technically, perhaps you should look it up. It simply means UNDERDEVELOPED.  

Avatar for CMEvelyn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2012

Mother_Bird wrote:
 I get a lot of enjoyment coaching these young people in dragging out their skills and interests and even if I don't hire them, I want them to succeed.

Hi Mother_Bird,

How do you coach them in an interview? I don't think young people get a lot of advice or instruction or coaching on how to write professional cover letters or resumes, or on how to conduct themselves in an interview. Add to that, when you're first starting out, you don't have a lot of skills, education and experience to put in a resume or talk about. I'm not sure social media has anything to do with it. Also, there are plenty of adults with lots of experience and degrees who have no social skills, and can't spell or write a cover letter to save themselves. If you have tips or advice for young people or adults, please do share! Finding a job is hard. I think we could all use a little friendly advice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2012

Hi CMEvelyn! I'm so glad you asked! I agree that they don't have a lot of skills, but the whole key to coaching young people IS actually "dragging" it out of them. I don't have teenagers, my son is 4, but with teenagers and young adults, they are not very upfront about their interests, what they do and what skills they have. I am going to recall a recent interview with a young lady, she was probably 20 or so and had no work experience listed on her application. I found this hard to believe for even I at 15 had babysitting jobs. So, I asked her what she likes to do, she said, "um, I don't know, hang out with my friends...nothing..."  (at least she's honest right?)  But I knew there was more to her.  I just couldn't believe that someone could be so unenthusiastic and blah about herself and say that to me!  Her interview skills will develop, I thought.  I pressed on.  

So first rule, any experience is experience and skills are transferable. Always. She did in fact have babysitting experience. Go her! I asked her about her experiences and what skills the may have acquired during that time, she of course, relied, "um..none I think I don't know…" way wrong answer! Second rule, know yourself and acknowledge your achievements! This girl was in fact, a Nanny for a time, traveling internationally with a family, she spoke some spanish, learned to navigate foreign roads, drive and shop in spain and like many kids her age she has what a mid-lifer would call "enviable" computer skills. She was amazed when I told her she had valuable experience! Didn't anyone tell her that speaking languages is desirable for MOST companies these days? Particularly spanish! She then "confessed" that she "hasn't been to college, that she doesn't know what she wants to do yet…" She became absolutely deflated as she confessed this. So ashamed and it broke my heart because she truly thought she was useless because she lacked a degree (right now). She actually thought she had to have it all figured out by now! I was sick about it, I felt obligated to tell her that yes, most employers for many jobs require a degree for many jobs but by no means should she feel like she HAS to go to college RIGHT NOW. I mentioned that its very expensive, she knew that, I also said, if it bothers you that you never went to college, you can take a few classes here and there, the "general" stuff and then the rest falls into place, college is sometimes where people discover their interests and strengths. I told her, even me, at 35 still doesn't know what I want to be sometimes. People are always changing in their goals and dreams and interests and she shouldn't feel bad about being "directionless" at this point, its normal. And then I went on to ask her about high school, what her strengths and interests were and she reported that she loved working with horses and she loves and did very well in both science and math. I asked her if she ever did anything outside of school like volunteering or even just tagging along with a parent at their jobs or helping with the family business? and then it got really fun. This girl had actually volunteered for YEARS with various charitable events through her church, helping with event planning and executing of all sorts of fundraising programs. She volunteered at a local summer camp when she was about 16 for children with disabilities where they learned to ride horses as part of their therapy. SHE WAS URNEAL…AND SHE DIDNT' EVEN KNOW! I was so excited to be able to tell her that so many of the things that we discussed made her a very desirable employee and that we'd like to hire her but not before mentioning how I came to this decision. She left my office with a job and she left empowered. The whole point is this: we need to empower our children and encourage them and listen to them and something is wrong with our guidance counselors if a girl like this didn't know she had job skills. I often try recruiting at job fairs where there are young people, they send the high school kids to these about once a year. I have never once spoken with a teacher or guidance counselor at these events which surprises me. I have however, spoken with many bright young people who for some reason have no clue that their own life experiences are valuable or that volunteering is valuable! My best advice is to sit down with your children often, take an inventory of their experiences, of everything, encourage volunteering and taking random classes, encourage extra credit and NOTE THESE THINGS. Remind them of these things. I learned from that girl, to NEVER believe young people when they say they don't have "experience" because any good recruiter can and will drag it out of them that they do have experience, it just depends on whether or not that experience is valuable to US for the job they are seeking.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2012

--and now I'll elaborate on the social media frenzy and how it is negatively affecting our children and adults in the workplace and those trying to secure employment.  I am constantly disheartened by the emails I receive from candidates.  I can't stress enough how far a well-written, professional email will get you with HR.  Do your homework about email etiquette and even if it seems stuffy or nerdy to you, WE expect nothing less than a friendly, hello (know the person's name you are emailing and address them, Ms. or Mr.), next you have a body to an email, its direct, professional and whether it is merely, "I am inquiring about any employment opportunities you may have..." or "I wanted to follow up on my online application I just submitted.  If you have any questions or need anything at all to formally consider me for the ____ role, please let know.  Thank you for your consideration, I look forward to hearing from you..."  and to close, "Best regards or sincerely or thank you..." work fine!  Even if we're emailing about your on-boarding (after you've been hired) maintain this professional email stuff. Its huge.  I can't tell you how very little I think of candidates who are so casual in emails.  I am not your friend, buddy or facebook peep.  I am trying to decide if I want you to work for us.  Period.  Next, phone presence:  have one.  I'm busy, know what you are going to say, don't be nervous, be deliberate.  Have a point and get to it.  A typical conversation from a candidate should go something like this, (((ring ring))) ME:  GOOD MORNING, THIS IS _____..."  YOU:  "Good morning ____, my name is _____ I'm calling to follow up on my online application, I just wanted to be sure you received everything you need to consider me for the ____ job.  (you might even joke about how these online systems are all so different and you just wanted to be sure you didn't leave anything out).  ME:  Hi there, let me just look in my system to be sure everything uploaded...............Oh, yes, I see it right here, everything looks great, thank you."  YOU:  "Ohhh great, I just wanted to be sure, thanks so much, have a great day!"  ME: "you, too ____, I hope to be in touch with very soon."  THATS ABOUT IT.  Simple.  If I have a question I'll ask it.  Don't keep me on the phone asking about the job, I'm going to assume you read the job posting and job description!  If you happen to have a legit question, by all means ask it, but I'm going to be disappointed if you ask me something I KNOW is in my posting.  I'm going to think you're an idiot who doesn't read things.  Think before you speak.  Lastly, if you have trouble completing the online application, I am happy to help, but I'm not going to think very highly of you for keeping me on the phone troubleshooting with you, when just down the road you SHOULD be at the unemployment office utilizing their staff to help you apply for jobs.  Ask me, but beware, part of my screening process is the application and if you don't follow directions, take your time and do it completely and correctly ON YOUR OWN I'm going to assume that you are going to be just as useless at work.  Social media and instantaneousness have robbed our kids of these valuable skills like patience, how to actually have a conversation with words you say from your mouth, how to make eye contact, how to make an impression on someone and how to laugh and act bright and with it.  I truly believe that everyone is great online, on facebook and texting, but those are far too casual methods to replicate when you're job hunting.  Be professional and if all else fails remember NO ONE OWES YOU A JOB.  YOUR MOTHER ISN'T GOING TO GET YOU A JOB YOU'LL NEED TO GET ON YOUR OWN MERIT AND YOU'D BETTER HAVE SOMETHING THAT SETS YOU APART.  Manners, the ability to spell or hold a conversation.  You choose, but in real life, you can't be just a cropped photo and a witty tag-line you must be real.  

Avatar for CMEvelyn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2012
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 12:33pm

Thanks Mother_Bird, all very interesting. I see what you mean now by coaching young people. In fact, when my daughter was 16 she was asked to interview for a summer job at the library, and had to present a resume. Her only real job experience was as a teacher's assistant in ballet, but while doing the resume, I discovered a lot of other things she had done in school and in ballet, etc., that I could use to add skills and experience to her resume. She didn't even know where to start, so I basically ended up writing the resume with her input. Normally I would have just helped her write it, but we had no notice and were pressed for time. Now she has it to build on or rewite herself in the future, but what do you think of having someone else write your resume for you?