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Surviving your child’s post-college job hunt

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FILE -- June 4, 2013: Students talk during Princeton University's graduation ceremonies in Princeton, N.J. Princeton awarded degrees to 2,158 undergraduate and graduate students.AP Photo/Mel Evans

You’re looking at the calendar and your son or daughter has just graduated from college. Will they immediately start their "grown up" job this summer and live on their own or will they return to their childhood room and continue with a part-time menial job like the one they had during college or high school?

It depends: did they start their job search early, participate in on campus interviewing at their university, get their resume reviewed, and attend a spring job fair on campus?

If so, they might be in a good place to entertain a job offer. 

If not, it’s not too late to launch a job search. In this marketplace however, job searches are taking an average of 16 weeks.

Prospective employers are always drawn to candidates with a positive attitude who believe in themselves.

What if your child has done nothing to search for a job up until now? Here are some tips to help them get them on their way.

1. JOIN THE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION: Your newly-minted college grad should join their university’s Alumni Association. Most Alumni Associations have career components or alumni mentoring programs, which will help your son or daughter network with working professionals in the field. 

Networking is a vital part of the job search, and what better network to tap into than your own alumni network? Many have online communities that students can join to interact with other alumni based on their major or career field.

2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA THE SMART WAY: You child is undoubtedly connected with social media, but how are they using it?  Are they using it for purely social reasons or are they using it to job search? Recruiters overwhelmingly report that they use LinkedIn to search for candidates to hire.

Your son or daughter should have a complete LinkedIn profile including a resume. In addition, they can use LinkedIn to job search and network by joining groups relevant to their career interests..

Most Fortune 500 companies have a LinkedIn presence so it is a great place to be when you are job searching. Also, they should be careful when using Facebook and Twitter.

3. DON'T FORGET THE COLLEGE CAREER CENTER: If they haven’t done so already, they should review the offerings from their campus’s Career Center. 

Career Centers have a variety of high quality job search related services former students can take advantage of. 

During an interview process, employers will search for students and check out their profile. Incriminating pictures and posts could knock them out of the running. 

They should review their privacy settings so only their "friends" can see their postings while they are job hunting. 

If there’s anything already on their profile that is downright embarrassing, it may be time to hit the delete button. What was cool in school may not be considered all that hip in the workplace.

Finally, they should be confident and hopeful. Prospective employers are always drawn to candidates with a positive attitude who believe in themselves. They just successfully completed four or more years of college, and that’s an accomplishment to be proud of. 

Now, they just need to get out there and sell themselves to land that perfect first job.

Dr. Lisa Andrews is a career development professional with over 18 years of experience as a career counselor and advisor. She is currently Director of Career Services at the University of Maryland University College.