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Parents and kids trade job hunting advice

By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com
Parents and their adult children can be partners and pool resources in job hunts.
Parents and their adult children can be partners and pool resources in job hunts.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In these tough times, parents and adult children can help each other job search
  • Children: Guides on computers, networking, social media, other technology
  • Parents: Leverage connections, offer tips on projecting professional presence
  • Children: Give parents energy, lack of fear and optimism in these hard times
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(CareerBuilder.com) -- In the current economic climate, people are finding themselves in dire situations. Veteran workers find themselves laid off after 20-plus loyal years with the same company. College graduates, with their diplomas hot off the press, can't find a job. Parents, who perhaps have never had to work outside the home before, find themselves desperate for a job.

Sometimes, these parents find themselves job searching in an unusual situation: with their children.

"This scenario is becoming more prevalent with the current job market, leaving new grads sometimes competing head-to-head with baby boomers and seasoned professionals for jobs," said Diane Crompton and Ellen Sautter, co-authors of "Seven Days to Online Networking: Make Connections to Advance Your Career and Business Quickly." "

Job search is a stressful situation for most families to go through. It's easy to highlight the negatives of this scenario but there can be some productive aspects of this as well."

Andrea Densley, 54, and her daughter Maria, 26, are both looking for work. Andrea Densley was laid off in February, and Maria Densley is unemployed after teaching English in Japan and working as a substitute teacher. Although the situation isn't ideal, they are helping each other as best they can.

"While I was a young mother, I never would have imagined this situation. I thought I would be successfully operating my own business. I anticipated that when our daughter graduated from college, she would embark on her chosen career," Andrea Densley said.

"It has been hard because I just want to 'fix' things for her, make everything smoother for her. I find job ideas or training opportunities that I think would be very helpful for her, things that seem interesting, yet I have to think through what I am offering and remind myself that she is an adult; this is her life and her decisions to make," she says.

The Densleys say they help each other by sending each other job postings, reviewing each other's résumés and cover letters and, most importantly, providing each other with support and encouragement.

"When I am just feeling burdened by the past-due bills, the disconnect notice of the phone, the struggles to hunt for work and crafting the beginnings of my own business, Maria has encouraged me, told me not to give up, that I was doing a good thing," Andrea Densley said. "It has really made a difference to me."

If you're a parent or child looking for work, here eight ways you can help each other in your job search.

Parents can: Offer privacy protection

"Parents can provide some guidance to their children regarding protecting their online presence. Not all parents have a sophisticated comfort level regarding social media and being 'out there,' but they can advise caution when it comes to showing too much personal or unflattering information that may be picked up in an online search," Crompton and Sautter say.

"More and more hiring managers and recruiters are going to their keyboards to find and check out viable candidates. It's a good idea to make sure that whatever turns up in an [Internet] search is on target and portrays the job seeker in the best light."

Children can: Look for the right culture and reward

"Gen Xers and Gen Ys need more in a job than a certain income. Equally important can be the ability to get noticed and rewarded and to have a more personal connection to the corporate culture. This can be an important aspect of considering a next job that could also help a parent to make a well-thought-out decision," Crompton and Sautter say.

Parents can: Be realistic

"With years of experience behind them and working themselves up in the ranks, parents can encourage their children to start with realistic expectations about their first job," Crompton and Sautter say.

"The reality of starting in an entry-level role that may not be challenging or an ideal job, but could provide excellent training for a 'next' role, can be a scenario that supports longer-term job objectives."

Children can: Share the knowledge of technology tools

"Young professionals grew up learning to use computers and technology tools as part of their daily lives. Sharing their takeaways and providing guidance on leveraging social media, computers and technology could provide some practical and hands-on tips to parents," Crompton and Sautter say.

"This is especially important with the popularity of online networking as part of job search and overall career management. Having a presence online is no longer considered a 'maybe' and is a critical part of a successful job search. Children can share their insider tips and guidance on using social media and professional networking tools including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to the benefit of their parents."

Parents can: Leverage connections

"With years of professional experience and amassing professional and personal connections, parents can be of real benefit to their children, who may have fewer contacts to leverage when it comes to landing a job," Crompton and Sautter say.

Children can: Offer optimism and energy

"Energy, lack of fear and optimism can be wonderful youthful traits to offset possible cynicism of parents," Crompton and Sautter say.

Parents can: Impart wisdom

"More mature professionals who may have been given outplacement services with their companies can share these practical tips and insights with their children to make their job search as effective as possible," Crompton and Sautter say.

Children can: Land a job

"A child could actually land a job earlier than a more seasoned parent, especially with the likelihood of fewer jobs at senior levels," Crompton and Sautter say. "This could be a wonderful way for a child to feel like a contributor to the household, without being made to feel the entire weight of responsibility on his or her shoulders."

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