My son just graduated from UC Davis.  I've introduced him to Management Tools, and the career section.  What other resources would you suggest?  I think he needs a good planning tool, so he can make finding a job his #1 priority - not that part time gig at The Gap.

tlhausmann's picture
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The Interviewing Series is an excellent resource. It is a far more useful graduation gift than a fancy pen or paperweight!

jhbchina's picture

You can't make finding a job priority one for your son. He has to make it a priority. He has to want to find his career path. What will happen after he gets his job and you are not there to push him to do his assignments. Then what?

That said there are great videos to watch on under Best Practices. Wishing you both the best.

JHB "00"

bug_girl's picture

Time for me to trot out my favorite joke:

How many cognitive psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. The lightbulb has to WANT to change.

In other words:

Your son just got done with a grueling 4 (or more) year experience. He may be taking time to think about the "what next" part. He may also be having a major existential crisis about who he is, now that his identity ('student') has changed. 

As a student, you have a map and a syllabus. You know what you are supposed to do next. Now...there is no map. And it can seem to some students that their choices now will affect the rest of their life.  This makes them freeze like a deer in headlights.

You might find just sitting and talking, or spending some quality time with him, really helpful for your son.  Letting him know that you're ok with his choices is important--often parents are unconscious stress sources for students.  They really do need to hear "I'll love you no matter what you do."

And yes, what JB said. As someone who has many more conversations with parents than I'd like, it does need to come from the kid, not the parent :)

xuzidan's picture

Talk with him about his needs and desires, and then nudge him in the right direction.

You need to find out:

  • What he likes
  • What kind of goals he has (he might not have any, that's OK!)

Unless you were being sarcastic, he already works at the Gap. A part-time job is halfway there.

This is the process I recommend

Take him out for a beer (male, age 22, free beer is important). Find out what he likes about the job. Maybe he enjoys dealing with customers or making displays look better or anything else. Find out what he liked about school, certain classes or professors. Order more beer and some food. Talk more about life and fun stuff. Listen. Listen. Listen. Pay and go home.

Use your experience to drill down to the function or behaviour he enjoys. Think of what kind of positions need those skills and behaviours.

Let it stew for a week and take him out again. Talk about how his likes relate to certain jobs in an organization. Order more beer and food. Ask him what he thinks. Listen. Listen. Listen. Pay and go home. 

See if he comes to you to talk. If not, take him out AGAIN. Bring a friend along who works in an industry or function he would find attractive. Have your friend recommend a few jobs or companies to him to check out. Beer. Food. Pay.

Nudge him in the direction you think he should be moving. Offer to help in any way you can. Make sure he knows a failed job application or interview isn't the end of the world.


I am not a father. I'm 27.

Please remember you are not his friend. A father's suggestion is effectively a command. Don't use role power unless you need to bring out the nuclear option: you need to pay rent or I will kick you out.

I bet he is primarily concerned with finding something he loves to do. "Finding a passion" has been a huge topic his entire college career. I GUARANTEE he does not know his passion. If he knew what he wanted to do, he would be doing it already.

Maybe he IS looking for work and has not gotten a callback. I don't know your relationship, but he might be afraid to tell you about his rejection. The job market for a graduate right now is not easy and maybe he is simply embarrassed to let you down.

Find out what he wants and nudge him in the right direction.