Why Your Parents’ Job-Seeking Advice is Probably Terrible

by / ⠀Career Advice / January 24, 2014


Your parents mean well, they really do. They give you heartfelt advice about finding (and keeping) a job because they want you to succeed. They want to see you thriving at a job. They really, really want you to move out of their basement!

Unfortunately, your parents’ job seeking advice is probably terrible. Here’s why:

Your Parents Came From a More Civil Time

When your parents were looking for a job back in the 1920s (or something) people were a kinder, gentler breed. No one would have dreamed of not replying to a job applicant and anything less than a handshake and a drink offer at a first meeting was considered rude. In today’s job market you’re likely to be rudely brushed off or worse, ignored, dozens if not hundreds of times before you find a job so you’ve got to augment your searching techniques with that in mind. Your parents still think you should send out paper resumes on really thick cloth paper. In the mail.

Job Descriptions Were Less Specific When Your Parents Job-Hunted

Back in the day, your dad would have looked for a job based on the pay, the proximity to his house, and maybe the hours. That’s it. Nowadays jobs aren’t so cookie cutter – one person’s 80 hour a week accounting gig is someone else’s part-time financial consulting work. If your parents tell you to stick to Advertising jobs because that’s what your degree is in you may be missing opportunities in tangentially related industries like Digital Marketing or even Social Management.

They Think You Can “Knock on Doors” Until You Find a Job

(Facepalm) Why do people keep using this expression? Not only are there very few actual doors to knock on anymore since businesses are increasingly digitally-based and workers are logging in remotely, the odds are if you show up somewhere without an appointment you’re going to be turned away. Few employers will appreciate the tenacity of someone popping up all bushy-tailed with resume in hand. In fact, they’re more likely to think you don’t respect their time or the HR department’s process and be turned off.

Your Parents’ Found a Job and “Worked Their Way Up”

That’s just not how things work anymore. The average length a millennial keeps a job is about one-third as long as their parents did and this kind of job hopping is the new norm. Your parents may encourage you to keep looking until you can find a company or a position you want to stay with long term but in reality, sometimes you just need to take the job that’s good enough for right now. That is, unless they’re paying all your bills in which case, keep looking.

They Don’t Understand that Electronic Correspondence is How Things Work Now

Was your mom appalled when you told her you sent a thank you email to the person who interviewed you last week? Did she scramble to find some letter pressed stationery you could use to immediately correct the error? Your parents were looking for jobs long before the Internet even existed which means they likely place way too much emphasis on phone calls, hard-copies, and phone books. In today’s competitive job-searching market most companies only want to deal with you digitally and larger businesses literally don’t offer another way at all. Respect that.

Though your parents most definitely think they know what they’re talking about (“I worked my way up at that company for 45 years, son!”) they probably are more than a little off base. Don’t be rude when the offer advice, but know that you’re a well-versed, fully capable job seeker on your own and be confident in that.

Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development.  In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.

Image Credit: www.dvdizzy.com 

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.