10 things NOT to say to a recent college grad

KatelynMorrisAs a new graduate, I know it’s going to be difficult finding a job. It seems that everyone I talk to has words of encouragement or questions about my plans after college, and to be honest, some of the things they say stress me out. It’s a constant reminder that I’m really not all that prepared to tackle the next phase of my life, which is scary when if I dwell on it for too long.

So, whether you are a parent or close friend who is talking to a recent grad or soon-to-be grad, remember this is a scary time in their life. Especially if they are not as prepared as they would like to be, some questions or comments might stress them out or irritate them. Yourcollegekid.com gives parents a list of 10 things your recent college graduate doesn’t want to hear. Based on my experience, I’d have to agree with the list.

“You’ll find something!”
This comment, to me, is a sad attempt at trying to raise my spirits and keep me positive, but what it really does is make the me feel like I’ll never find a job that I want, and I’ll have to settle for a check-out girl position to pay off my loans. If you want to encourage me, try being a little less vague and a little more helpful. Tell me to look at online employment sites or bring home the recent newspaper.

“Tonight at 10 there’ll be a special on the most in-demand careers of the year on TV. Make sure you watch it.”
I can’t count the number of times my mom has told me to watch this or that on TV that related to possible career paths. It would get so irritating because I had already decided what I wanted to do, and it made me feel like she wasn’t satisfied with my choice.

“Maybe if you’d majored in (insert major) like I told you to, you wouldn’t be scrambling for work.”
I remember when I was a freshman and sophomore, my parents tried to sway my decisions in choosing a major; it was frustrating then. Now, if they were to say something like this it would just be hurtful. I would feel like they were discrediting my four years of hard work and didn’t have faith in my ability to be successful in the career field that I wanted to pursue.

Do you have a job lined up?”
This has happened to me countless times already. People I know will ask me this, and sometimes I feel embarrassed that the answer is no. I’m still trying to figure out what my next step is, which is hard enough to do without the nagging reminder that a choice has to be made sooner than later.

“(Insert name of restaurant) has a sign in the window—they’re hiring for summer. I picked up an application for you.”
As helpful as you think you’re being, you’re actually appearing as though you don’t think your new grad will find a full-time job. Don’t give your kid the impression that he or she has to settle for a part-time position as a waitress. They just graduated; give them time to adjust.

“What about your friend, (insert friend’s name)? She/he has a job.”
First off, it’s a bad idea to compare your grad to his or her peers. This will make him/her feel even worse about not having any luck. Not to mention, the comparison most likely isn’t fair to begin with; the friend’s geographical location, degree and number of connections may be the reason he or she has a job.

“My (insert relative’s name) just graduated, and she’s doing great!”
My response to this would be “cool,” and I would probably walk away feeling bad about the fact the I am struggling. So, unless his or her employment is beneficial to me in some way, I’d rather continue to think that most graduates are jobless like me.

“What can you do with that degree?”
I’ve had experience with this question. To me, it sounded like they thought my degree was a made up. A better question would be “Pardon my ignorance, but what types of jobs do people with that degree end up having?  What are you looking to get into?”

“If you can’t find a job, maybe you should go to grad school.”
As recent college grads, not only are we ready for a break from school, but the idea of accruing more debt doesn’t sound appealing to us at this point. Grads shouldn’t decide to go to grad school just because they can’t find a job. Grad school is for people who know that investing in furthering their education will be beneficial to their career.

“Why don’t you see if (insert company name) is hiring? I hear that’s a good place to work.”
This comment is much like #5. While you may think you’re helping, you have to realize that companies aren’t always hiring. If you know they are hiring for a position in your graduate’s field, then say something, otherwise, it’s not very helpful.

The moral of this post:
Think about the message you may be sending, unintentionally, that could be hurtful or stressful to this and all of the other fragile, unemployed grads. Be sure that you are being sensitive to the fact that they are probably bummed that they have yet to find a job in a field they have just spent the past four years preparing for. Encourage them without undermining their hard work. Most of all let them know that you are proud of their accomplishments thus far, and you are excited to see where their degree takes them.

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3 thoughts on “10 things NOT to say to a recent college grad

  1. I have to disagree with this article as a recent graduate. It is a stressful time but proper planning for anything leads to success. Go to job fairs, go to your career center, and be proactive – jobs exist. Sadly the growing trend is that movivated individuals do not.

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